A Summary of the Interaction Between Creativity, Personality, and Happiness.

Well thought out and well presented. Good job Duncan!

dunekahn shillan

Last week I began this four part blog by summarising my first three blogs, whilst also adding in some additional content. These blogs focused upon the concepts of metacognition, rational thinking, confidence, integration and comprehension of information, critical thinking, creativity, self-regulated learning, and depth of understanding. I hope to use these basic concepts to further my talks over both this week and the next two weeks in order to create a comprehensive guide to areas of psychology that have real-world application and potential within our education system.

In this blog, I will talk about the link between creativity, its relationship with intelligence, personality types, and happiness. This post summarises important background reading for my next post, which shall be on problem solving and creative thinking, how they interact with each other and metacognition (Feldhusen, 1995 is a good place to start, although I shall be talking about that next week…

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Are current assessment methods beneficial to the student?

From my Psychology in Education class – rather insightful, I think. Have a read of the discussion that is taking place in the comments – do my students need to take an exam to demonstrate learning? I think not? Would this method of learning work for other topics – I think so!

Well worth clicking through to have a good read.

The Thoughts and Ramblings of a Mad Man

Continuing on the topic on learning in university, I would be amiss if I did not include exams in my blogs. A couple of weeks ago in my blog I mentioned I had a meeting with Fay about the exams we had. Duncan and I explained that with MCQs and SAQs we would cram as much information as we could. I would use memory techniques to remember 16 references and build my essays around them. I would then forget about all the reading I had done shortly after the exam. I explained that I didn’t feel like I was really learning, it felt more like a ticking boxes exercise.

In my speech last week, during a mini rant I made the point that every module, apart from those influenced by Jesse, assessed our “learning” the same way; a midterm, a final and a 500 word assignment. If you remember the…

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Self Regulated or Self Directed Learning: The new divide

In the past, we have had socioeconomics, the digital divide – and various other methods to divide the world between those who are likely to be highly successful and those who are not likely to be quite so successful, both in learning and in life.

I think that we might be seeing the emergence of a new kind of self-imposed divide – those who are self directed, self regulated learners (I know they are not the same thing, but they tend to be related), and those who are instructor or teacher led in their learning. In my experience here at Bangor, I find that the students tend to be split, almost in half, as to whether they want student centred, self regulated learning or if they demand teacher led instruction. About half of them adopt their learning to be something different from what they are used to (instructor led), and the other half demand that the lecturer do their job – which is to tell them what to memorise (this is actually what one of the students demanded last year when they were exposed to a different kind of learning activity).

Of those who adopt a self-regulated approach, some do well, and others, not so well. However, in either case, they end up being more successful (academically) than students who refuse to be moved from an instructor led learning mindset.

Is this a new divide amongst people?

In the age of information abundance,  what we need to know is all around us for the learning. Increasing our self regulated and self directed learning skills means that we will be better prepared to work as an information worker, and lead as an information leader. Last week, I wrote about the half-life of information. Given that information is regularly being created and updated, do we want the leaders of our communities, businesses and institutions dependent on someone who has become an expert at being told what they need to memorise in order to do well on a regurgitation exercise in a month or two (I’m not referring to politicians here)?

I believe that students who break out of this mindset will be the successful leaders of tomorrow. I have to believe that the institutions, public or private, old or new, large or small, that develop the kind of learning environment that fosters self regulated and self directed learning will be the most successful learning institutions of tomorrow. Higher thinking skills like creativity, critical analysis, flexible thinking and metacognition, are largely absent from most undergraduate programmes – largely because of the need to cover more content. An institution that begins to pay more than lip service to these higher order thinking skills will be posed to become very influential in tomorrow’s world. They will be producing graduates that can take the lead in solving the problems that are facing us today, as well as figuring out how to solve the problems that will confront us tomorrow. The rest of HE will still be producing graduates to solve yesterday’s problems.

How have we made something as exhilarating as learning, as oppressive as education?

Education Apocalypse – An Interesting Read

Audrey Watters wrote an interesting (I mean that I really found it really interesting) post on the role of disruptive innovations in the future of education. I enjoyed what she said, but have to respond with my own view of the “real” disruptive innovation that we are facing in education.

Audrey wrote about the various claims to what the disruption, that will change education for good, really is. The biggest claim to disruption lies with the edtech industry, with their latest classroom killer app or idea.

I think they have missed the boat. I am still firmly of the belief that there is a disruptive innovation that will (is) change(ing) the face of education forever. The innovation lies at the very foundation of our collective institutional philosophy. We have moved – for better or for worse – from an age of information scarcity to an age of information abundance.

The implications of this shift are only now beginning to be realised within the academy. MOOCs are a natural offshoot of this change and other manifestations will emerge.

Information is no longer scarce. It is no longer difficult to store, find or transmit. Information manipulation is no longer the domain of experts. Information is no longer only available in select places that hoard, store, catalogue, and disseminate it. It is becoming freely available to anyone with an internet connection. It will continue to increase in its availability and accessibility into the distant future. We are truly entering the information age.

One of the fundamental principles upon which Higher Education is built is information scarcity. According to this model, information is difficult to acquire, store, find, transmit, and manipulate. Universities arose as institutions that collected information (knowledge) to keep it in a safe place. Our very purpose has been to protect knowledge, store it, catalogue it, understand it, and disseminate it. This was best accomplished by large, well resourced institutions that offered a safe place for people who were interested in knowledge (academics) could gather themselves together in communities and work with it, becoming experts as they developed an intimate understanding of the information that they had access to through their proximity to the knowledge storage places (libraries and museums).

Over time, two offshoots emerged from the establishment of universities. The first was that, since knowledge and information were scarce commodities, the transmission and dissemination of knowledge could adopt to a market model, providing income for the support of the knowledge working community.

The second was that universities could play a leading role in the production of knowledge through research.

As a result, we see the institutions we are familiar with today.

However, what happens when information is no longer scarce? What happens when it costs virtually nothing to access, transmit, search and disseminate information? What happens when information becomes freely available, all over the world, almost as soon as it is created? What happens to our traditional institutions in the world of information abundance. This is the disruptive innovation. We are watching the beginnings of the changes now and the unease in the academy is real.

The market economy has seen opportunities to move into the world of education and change the way things are done. However, they are more concerned with the bottom line than they are with learning, and as a result, they appear as cheap, plastic replicas of the real thing. They have lost their lustre, and are working hard to gain it back again.

Traditional universities have become obsessed with the production of knowledge, and haven’t taken the time to reconsider what they are really all about in this new age of information abundance. Although the universal mantra is that teaching is important, the real importance of teaching lies with the funding that the market model of information scarcity attaches to students. What happens to all of this when information is abundant? Or maybe the better question is what happens to all of this when the world becomes aware of the irrelevance of universities (as teaching institutions in their current form) in the age of information abundance?

We are witnessing the onset of a massive disruptive innovation. Inertia keeps everything together, but for how long. I’m not so foolish as to date the arrival of the new, but disruption is, and will continue to happen. One of the hallmarks of a disruptive innovation is the failure of established institutions to adopt to the innovation, which eventually leads to their demise. My hope is that higher education can adapt to this new world. My hope is that these institutions, that have played a central role in bringing the world to where it is today (for good and bad) will be able to adapt to the new reality – that information is not scarce, and that they need to change how they operate to take advantage of this new reality.

We need to remember that individual learning lies at the core of what we are, and begin to care about individual learning again.

How have we made something as exhilarating as learning, as oppressive as education?

The half-life of knowledge and CONTENT

The fixation of HE on delivering content in the world of information abundance is baffling.

Most lecturers are driven to cover content that is accumulating at an ever increasing rate.  Last year, I posted about the rate of the information explosion, and  even though I said I only half believe the numbers, the inclusion of the concept of the half-life of knowledge makes it easier to understand.

The half-life of knowledge is defined by Gonzalez as “…the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete.” Continue reading The half-life of knowledge and CONTENT

Scholarship of Learning (again)

Last February I wrote a blog about the Scholarship of Learning. I had no idea how out on the edge this was. I have talked to a number of people, made presentations, and pitched the idea over and over. I have been surprised by the reception. “Of course we should have a scholarship of learning”, or “As psychologists, we have a branch called learning”, or “We already know about learning”. Not what I expected.

Today I entered the term in a famous search engine (Goggled) and had almost 80 million hits – not surprised. However, when scrolling through them, they are almost all associated with the scholarship of teaching and learning. Willox and Lackeyram (2009) began to address the scholarship of learning, but in a constrained manner. How People Learn (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000) begins the discussion, but it hasn’t really evolved. There are numerous journal articles in the psychological domain that address aspects of the scholarship of learning, but there isn’t really an established body that makes a systematic study and analysis of the literature. Instead, we have 79,000,000 hits about the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) – focusing almost exclusively on “best practice in teaching”.

Where is the scholarship of learning? Where is the focus on how students, at any level of learning, acquire knowledge, skills or experience in a formal setting?

Education, or schooling, is not going anywhere soon. The revolutions in pedagogy aren’t really happening, just some evolution. How can we embed the scholarship of learning into the curriculum of every education or teacher training department in the world? When are we going to require our budding teachers to have prerequisite knowledge about how people learn? When is the scholarship of teaching going to begin relying on the scholarship of learning?

Done ranting.

How have we made something as exhilarating as learning, as oppressive as education?

The Behavioural Phenomenon

Powerful commentary – from a student’s perspective.

Barky: Science of Education

We are the angry mob, we read the papers every day. We like who we like, we hate who we hate, but we’re oh so easily swayed.
– Kaiser Chiefs

’By itself,’ he said, ’pain is not always enough. There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain, even to the point of death. But for everyone there is something unendurable — something that cannot be contemplated. Courage and cowardice are not involved. If you are falling from a height it is not cowardly to clutch at a rope. If you have come up from deep water it is not cowardly to fill your lungs with air. It is merely an instinct which cannot be destroyed. It is the same with the rats. For you, they are unendurable. They are a form of pressure that you cannot withstand. Even if you wished to. You will do what…

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