Unpacking some nuances

In my book Engaging Learning, I had a suite of elements for both effective education practice and engaging experiences. Of course, the point was that they perfectly aligned. However, I’m unpacking a couple of them, and I thought it’d be helpful to ensure that I am clear about them, and so that you are too. So I’m unpacking some nuances in two different groups of elements.

For one, I talk about contextualized, anchored, and relevant.  These three are related, but each plays a different role, and it’s important to be concerned about each separately.

Contextualized isn’t difficult. Research (e.g. Jonassen’s work) has shown that we perform better working from problems that are concrete rather than abstract. (Which is why those abstract problems kids are assigned in schools are so wrong!). We work better with concrete problems with facilitation to support abstraction and transfer. Otherwise we get ‘inert knowledge’, knowledge that we can pass a test on, but will never even activate in a relevant problem situation.

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