This post by Lisa M. Lane was a must-read for me. I could easily just quote the whole thing, but that’s what the link is for.
If I had to pick one nugget it would be this:
The fact that such interfaces prevent branching, distributed, or complex learning is considered to be a feature, not a bug. All information is “chunked” for easy understanding and assessment.
I love thinking about the interplay between the web and education, and it’s clear that things are murky.
When designing for the web, or “digital” or “apps” or whatever, we are encouraged to make things easy to use. The trouble is that most rewarding work is not “easy”—that is, it doesn’t follow a straight-forward progression of steps.
In thinking about designing tools that coexist with people, then, I don’t believe it is our job to design a tool that makes peoples’ jobs easier. Instead, I think it’s our job to design tools which make fussy or mundane parts of the job easier, possibly to the point of going away altogether, so that the job that’s left to the person is largely concentrated on what that person does well and finds rewarding. (This can obviously vary from person to person.)
If we treat learning as the job of the student, and facilitating that learning as the job of teachers, how can we design tools for learning and facilitation that shave away the tedious bits and focus on the juicy bits?