I am currently researching on pedagogic actions in e-learning system.
Category Archives: Educational Theories
Thanks to Donald Clark I’ve just read Prof. Coffield’s inaugural lecture (Word doc) for the Institute for Education in London. It’s called: “Running Ever Faster Down the Wrong Road: An Alternative Future for Education and Skills”. In it he eloquently describes the situation the learning & skills sector (post-compulsory education) is in, and offers well-researched suggestions for a “fundamental redesign” that will not necessarily “rock the boat”, but will stop it “hitting the iceberg” it is currently heading towards at full speed.
Can this disorganised, troubled but pivotal sector still be turned into a learning system? That would require politicians and policy makers to change some of their fundamental beliefs and practices and to think and talk differently; institutions to reorder their priorities in favour of pedagogy; and professionals to be given the space and resources to improve their existing expertise. The chances are very slim, but it could be done.
He makes the point at the beginning of the lecture that the learning & skills sector is not unique in this situation, and there are parallels in every sector of education (and other public services):
The same fault lines or, to change the metaphor, the same malaises, run through the reform agenda of government whether they affect the primary, secondary, higher education or post-compulsory sector (or the health service or the probation service, for that matter).
Prof. Coffield has also recently criticised the DfES booklet on Learning Styles, calling for its withdrawal, saying “The booklet is woefully uninformed about research. It is also impractical, patronising, uncritical and potentially dangerous to students.” (Source: IoE press release)
I couldn’t agree more. The whole concept of learning styles is fragmented into dozens of different models that to use just one model, and to apply it in every case to every student at every time is going to cause far more problems than it solves.
For me, its important to recognise that different people learn best in different ways at different times in different contexts and with different subject matter. And that’s where I would want to leave it. The use of learning styles questionnaires is too blunt an instrument to be at all useful.
NB. It looks like the booklet has been withdrawn. But a search will still turn it up on various school and local authority websites.