Learning Metrics & eternal learners LO152

Chas. A. Barclay (BARCLAY@busadm.cba.hawaii.edu)
Sat, 18 Feb 1995 08:04:25 -1000

Diane Weston asked about learning metrics.

I just got finished watching class X of Newt Gingrich's "Renewing American
Civilization" at Reinhardt College on ME/U. It was an accident, I assure
you, in no way did I want to get up at 4:30 AM to watch a saturday morning
non-credit course live from the east coast.

The topic for the week was Toffler's Third Wave and managing change. Last
week was about quality I gather, they mentioned performing the red-bead
experiment. The class covered what the third wave is (transformation of
civilization from industrial to information-based) and how society &
participants might cope and succeed in the transformation to the 3rd wave.

A clear issue was life-long learning. Gingrich used the example of Deming
and Drucker as individuals that worked well beyond "retirement age". Why?
Because it was impossible for most people (not necessarily Drucker or
Deming) to save enough money to live for 30 years beyond retirement age
and live a decent life. Consequently, life-long learning and the services
that spring up were considered.

Gingrich pointed out that the reason why we take notes in class while the
professor lectures is because of our outdated notions of writing books in
class because written books were valuable once upon a time (like in
Socrates era), but today, its far more efficient to buy a book and
scribble in it your own thoughts that render or modify or add to the
respected author's. Hmmmm.

As food for thought and coming back to metrics of learning. We take these
as a given at the University stage, but we talk about the inadequacies of
our existing metrics for learning in the classroom. In lifelong learning
we really don't give a rat's ass about measuring it as long as we can do
what we set out to learn or can say to ourselves, "yes, I've added to my
thought or learned something new." At that stage in life, learning should
be like breathing, do it as part of your nature, while you can measure
your breathing why go through the bother unless you have a breathing
disability. You can either do what you've learned and apply it or you
haven't learned or chosen to adopt it. Three outcomes.

What makes one metric acceptable and another, far more complex set of
metrics (grading) unacceptable to us? I don't know the answer but am
intrigued by the implications of the questions above.

Charles Barclay 2404 Maile Way
Dept. of Mgmt & Ind Relations Honolulu, HI 96822
University of Hawaii Fax: 808 956-2774
barclay@busadm1.cba.hawaii.edu Phone: 808 956-8545

"It is a bad example not to observe a Law that has been passed,
especially on the part of its legislator; and it is most harmful
to the rulerof a city to commit new offenses every day."
---Machiavelli, Chapter 45 the Discourses.