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Complex problems and social learning

Adaptation, evolution, innovation, and growth all require that we gain new knowledge and apply it to our circumstances, or learn. While much focus in education is on how individuals attend, process and integrate information to create knowledge, it is the social part of learning that may best determine whether we simply add information to our […]

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Bullying, the market for education and the damaged quest for learning

A recent study found looked into the experience of cyberbullying by university professors at the hands of their students. This disturbing phenomenon points to much larger issues beyond mental health promotion and calls into question many of the assumptions we have about the systems we’ve designed to foster education and what it means to be a […]

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The Myth of Fast-tracking Learning

In a quest for getting more, faster we pursue strategies that aim to compress and challenge the physics of time. Education is one of these areas where the quest to learn more, faster and ‘better’ may actually be taking us away from knowledge and speeding us to folly.  What would you say or do if your […]

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The urban legends of learning (and other inconvenient truths)

Learning styles, technology-driven teaching, and self-direction are all concepts that anyone interested in education should be familiar with, yet the foundations for their adoption into the classroom, lab or boardroom are more suspect than you might think. Today we look at the three urban legends of learning and what that might mean for education, innovation […]

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Asking Better and More Beautiful Questions

Beautiful answers require beautiful (and better) questions and Warren Berger’s new book looks at this very phenomenon of inquiry and asks: What does it mean to ask better questions and what does that mean for the answers we seek and receive?   Warren Berger recently published  A More Beautiful Question, a book looking at something we […]

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“If You Build It..”: A Reflection on A Social Innovation Story

If You Build it is documentary about a social innovation project aimed at cultivating design skills with youth to tackle education and social issues in a economically challenged community in North Carolina. The well-intentioned, well-developed story is not unfamiliar to those interested in social innovation, but while inspiring to some these stories mask bigger questions […]

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Developmental Evaluation and Mindfulness

Developmental evaluation is focused on real-time decision making for programs operating in complex, changing conditions, which can tax the attentional capacity of program staff and evaluators. Organizational mindfulness is a means of paying attention to what matters and building the capacity across the organization to better filter signals from noise. Mindfulness is a means of […]

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Evaluation, Evidence and Moving Beyond the Tyranny of ‘I Think’

Good evidence provides a foundation for decision-making in programs that is dispassionate, comparable and open to debate and view, yet often it is ignored in favour of opinion. Practice-based evidence allows that expert opinion in, however the way to get it into the discussion is through the very means we use to generate traditional evidence.  […]

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Design Thinking, Design Making

Designing and thinking
Critics of design thinking suggest that it forgets making while advocates suggest that it extends itself beyond the traditional constraints of design’s focus on the brief. What separates the two is still the implications associated with making something and the question: can we be good designer thinkers without being design makers? This post looks at the relationship between design thinking and making.

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Defining the New Designer

It’s been suggested that anyone who shapes the world intentionally is a designer, however those who train and practice as professional designers question whether such definition obscures the skill, craft, and ethics that come from formal disciplinary affiliation. Further complicating things is the notion that design thinking can be taught and that the practice of […]

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