Metacognition (Part 2): What Makes Us Truly Human? A Literature Review

To learn is to create: Educational robotics are a very recent trend that requires children and adolescents to plan, reason, experiment, create, play and learn from failure. In the process, they acquire and apply new knowledge. As in most such technology-based scenarios, students learn in teams. Photograph by Alain Herzog, 2015 The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alteration of old…
Read More


Metacognition (Part1): What or How We Think is Not Quite as Important as How We Can Govern Our Reasoning

Photograph: Al Gore explaining data findings on global warming for his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ (Picture Credit: The Hollywood Reporter) Reason in a creature is a faculty of widening the rules and purposes of the use of all its powers far beyond natural instinct; it acknowledges no limits to its projects. Reason itself does not work instinctively but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order to progress gradually from one level of insight to another.…
Read More


Women in IT: Where are the disconnects?

Picture credit: Harvey Mudd College While the emerging knowledge- and service industries of the 21st-century is a continuing discussion topic of public discourse, the minuscule percentage of women embarking on careers in IT is deeply troubling. The IT industry struggles to find enough applicants to fill open positions as women are losing out on a personal and societal level by not embarking on beneficial career paths, effectively excluding themselves from Economy 4.0. Problem Definition Across…
Read More


How Unregulated For-Profits Degrade Higher Education: The Case of Raffles Education Corporation

The picture above: The Raffles Campus in Bangna, Bangkok. Nice to look at, but where are the students? After losing the TEQSA accreditation, the student population dropped from about 340 at the Silom Campus to about 70 after moving to the Bangna Campus. The Commercial and Academic Failure of Unregulated For-profit Education The following is a summary of my experiences that I made in over a decade with Raffles Education Corporation. The presented argument states…
Read More


Constructivism Today: How Should Students Learn?

Our schools: Same old, same old The most commonly voiced out critique against traditional rote learning is that it doesn’t deliver what it promises, this is that acquired knowledge fades fast and students start to forget mental content shortly after their exams. In this model, learning serves to achieve a good grade by internalising syllabus material as fast as possible, forgetting it as fast as possible and to move on to the next short-term goal.…
Read More


The Ethics of Grading (About Grades, Part 2)

Grading is a method to measure students’ performance while the type of grading system employed is a representation of its underlying educational ethics. The more simple the grading system, the more simple the assertions of graders about the graded. The more multi-faceted the grading system, the more factors an assessment entails. In the latter case, justifications for stipulating assessment criteria need to be provided. Typically, no or little justifications are given in the case of…
Read More


How can we tell that students have learned? Why traditional exams and grades do more harm than good (About Grades, Part 1)

Picture: College students taking an exam, Credit: Chris Ryan via Getty Images The PDF version of this Blog entry: How can we tell that students have learned – Kompa 2017 The ideas behind traditional exams and grading In traditional teaching, a teacher presents a learning unit by introducing new knowledge to the class via a series of lectures and presentations. Typically, brief question and answer sessions allow students to probe, at least to some extent, what…
Read More


Remembering Prof. Howard Barrows: Notes on Problem-based Learning and the Schools of the Future

Me: “Howard, can I ask you a more general, philosophical question? Considering all your pioneering work in Problem-based Learning, how would you imagine the school of the future?” Howard Barrows: “To start with, there would be no subjects. There would be no isolated classes for students such as geography, chemistry, accounting, history and so on.” Me: “How can this work? What is the point of abandoning specialised subjects?” Howard Barrows: “It is the designed learning…
Read More


Why it is Time to Retire Bloom’s Taxonomy

Picture above: Exam among Chinese Students (Source: Tomo News) “You cannot teach today the same way you did yesterday to prepare students for tomorrow. ” John Dewey 1. Historical Credit and Positioning Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning has reigned as one of the most influential pedagogical concepts for the design of school curricula until today. Formulated by Benjamin Bloom and colleagues in the mid-50s (Bloom et al., 1956), the taxonomy attempted to break away from behaviorist theories…
Read More


‘I Love Democracy – As Long as You Agree With Me’: Notes on the Social Psychology of Authoritarianism

Nationalist autocrats (Trump, Erdogan, Putin): Different cultural backgrounds, shared cognitive template The Democratic Model: Deliberating Discussions and Open Inquiry Before going into workings of authoritarianism, it is useful to remind ourselves how functional, non-authoritarian systems look like in order to establish a baseline for evaluation. As I noticed during my recent holidays in Germany, politics appeared surprisingly sober and plain, absent of drama and high-stake ideological debates. For example, the Ministry of Environment proposed a…
Read More