Critiquing instructional designs

PLE 2.0 interfaces with existing content providers, venues for formal learning and instructional designs. When learning is not happening, learners will diagnose the underlying dynamics of a breakdown in learning to identify problems and solutions. The design of the instruction will come under scrutiny. How could learners who are new to a subject area possibly critique how they are being taught? The same way gamers can recognize flawed designs for game play, music fans can identify whatever offends their ears, and sports fans can recognize patterns in an athlete's shortcomings. We naturally get better at critiquing what we devote attention to, value deeply and commit to without hesitation.

One way critiques of instructional design will develop among learners using PLE 2.0 is through consumer advocacy. Both of my blogs have sought to empower buyers of instruction with insights into the design of educational offerings. I've explored many different critiques of instruction over the past three years:
  • Recognizing defective course designs here
  • Discerning the difference between bogus and authentic learning here
  • Identifying harmful side effects of ineffective educational practices here
  • Changing learning strategies to really learn a topic, skill or approach here
  • Realizing the effects of instruction on curiosity, creativity, and courage here
  • Considering whether instruction is merely informative or essentially actionable here
  • Comparing set-ups for captivity and for experiences of freedom and meaning here
  • Framing educational opportunities as games to play here
  • Detecting the implied context of use for what is being taught here
  • Recognizing how the learners are either pushed or pulled and pressured or nurtured here
When learners are trapped in required educational settings without their own motivation and curiosity, the ability to critique instruction will be used for shifting blame onto authority figures. Fingers will be pointed at the "sage on stage" for failing to design more effective offerings. Expectations of a quality learning experience will be disappointed and revenge sought after.

However, when learners are self motivated and directed, these same critiques can be utilized in other ways. They help learners shop around for the best educational offerings. These critiques help them diagnose problems with their own learning and sort out how much personal responsibility to take for breakdowns. They provide a basis for appreciating good designs, valuable experiences and improved offerings. These critiques also assist learners in setting up effective educational processes for themselves and others (mash- up of DIY & DIT).

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