It just so happened that lately I tried on a lot of different methods of training – university, online courses, free courses, self-education, reading books and so on. All methods have a clear pattern: at first the material is provided, and the next step is exams / tests / tasks / assignments. And the more I learn, the more convinced I become about incompleteness of this approach. There were courses that I attended full-time and took notes, there were those which I passed without visiting a class / lecture. And looking back, I can not determine what option of the rest is significant, despite the fact that the time was spent attending lectures many times more.
And an idea was born: Maybe it will be better to reverse the process? The idea is to give the task, and then the material? And then go further?
A small example
It all started with the first class this semester on numerical methods (unfortunately only in a given teacher, because a week later I was transferred to the more forward-looking chair.) It looked like this: – Welcome students! This semester we will be programming in Maple (almost none of us before that did not know Maple). Here you have a computer, they have the right software and the Internet. Here you have the task by the end of the pair, it should be credited (shown and verified by the teacher). Go on!
Without any “click File-New-New File” or “A + operator can sum 2 numbers.” The teacher always during the class was helping in difficult situations and inspecting the code / makes decisions. And we passed it! By looking at many courses, I can say with certainty – the amount of information that I learned during the lecture will not be given even for 2 classes.
Education vs self-education
There may be a reasonable question – than how is it different from a self-education? The difference is exactly one (and it is the most important thing in education in general) – the feedback. When you write code, and there is no one to read it, it won’t get better. Yes, over time, you begin to write code quickly and (relatively) excellent. But it will be just code not anything else. There is nothing (or almost nothing) what could not be found on the Internet of what is given during the courses. Maybe you can give examples?
We need to go deeper
It is believed that to held lectures before the necessity of their material appeared is a waste of time (talking about the applied disciplines). And experience with the laptop during a lecture shows – as long as the teacher reads the definition, you can “google” it and learn much more (of course, if you do not write notes, written a couple of hundred times by your predecessors).
Another interesting experiment – before the deadline the pass of tasks via coursera – one hour. Video lectures preceding this assignment for 2 hours, and none of them is viewed. How can I pass it? That’s right – in an emergency rate to use Google. But then it’s so nice to watch lectures without straining and organize already pending in the head material.
The latest example: a lecture with the complex algorithms / structures and subsequent homework on the subject. It is unlikely that you will be able to write it without glancing to the wiki article or tutorial on the forum. So why was it a lot slower to listen to lectures?
Where to seek
The ideal option is seen as online service learning with such prioritization. Clearly, this technique has many limitations, such as: applicability only to the applied disciplines, and almost only for IT, complex scalability (there are fewer teachers, and feedback should be high quality), the complexity to people who can not google. But it can bring a lot of benefits. Just there are no such services …
PS: All of the above is based on personal experience, observation and experience of friends. It is interesting to see the feedback from the community, and especially teachers.