Sunday, November 01, 2009

Example of Helpful Structure for Teaching and Learning

This example may seem obvious to some, but it doesn't seem that common.

One of the great solutions to "information overload" in scientific communication was the perfection of the "abstract" or a summary of a more extensive amount of information. The "text" abstract of a longer text-based communication is a good idea, but what do you do when the world is text, audio, video, etc. We have the "advertising" version of this solution which is to give us "teasers" of the material that is supposed to make us want more, but we still need the "abstract" version which supplies us with a good overall sense of the message so that we can decide if we want to see, hear or read more. This isn't a teaser. It isn't designed to give us almost enough. It is designed to give us a good dose of the more extensive version.

In this example on the ReadWriteWeb, the authors provide a good example of how to provide an abstract of an interview with Eric Schmidt of Google. We get a sampling of some major points in the video (six minutes of the 45 minutes), a bullet point summary of the major ideas in the six minutes, links to the longer versions and links to more contextual information on the general points discussed in this interview.

It seems to me that over the long run, this is a good model for how to create valuable instructional and learning situations for people.

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