Monday, October 18, 2004

Performance Strategy

There are some questions that came up at work regarding the best strategy to use to remember a performance. My department researches and writes training courses and maintenance manuals for our company. In the process of speaking with a SME, a couple of co-workers were told of a better strategy to remember what was inspected and when. My co-workers asked some of us if we would participate in the research to collect more information before we implement this new strategy into our training manuals. I am posing the question in this forum to see if any of you have had any experience or done any research yourself on the topic.

The performance in question regards inspecting machinery or equipment before putting it to use. The question is, "Is there a difference in recall when a person goes around the equipment and visually inspects versus visually inspecting and touching the equipment at the same time? Here is the scenario.

When Steve (a SME) was learning how to fly, his instructor told him to touch each gauge or part he was inspecting during pre-flight procedures. Steve's instructor told him that if he only completed his pre-flight checks visually and someone asked him 30 minutes later if he checked a gauge, his degree of certainty would decrease. Steve might start to doubt he had checked the gauge. Someone else might even be able to convince him that he had not checked it at all.

One pre-flight procedure is to inspect the wings of the plane. This inspection involved 12 different points on each wing. If you only visually inspect the wing, you are likely to gloss over the inspection and miss one or more of the 12 inspection points. Steve was instructed to touch each of the 12 inspection points as followed the written pre-flight checklist.

The lesson is that when performing a visual inspection, touching the part you are inspecting helps you focus your attention on the task. The focus combined with the tactile sense then embeds the action into your memory.

Do you agree, disagree, or have any comment to the theory that by physically performing an inspection, you are more likely to recall the event than if you just looked at the items and marked them off on your list?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Negative vs. Positive

An interesting debate come up during the development of my team's board game this past week that I wanted to post in this forum. It has to do with the new wave of thinking that involves removing all negativity and competitiveness from lessons to create this utopian environment that is supposed to encourage learning. I don't have an issue with this per se, I just think it is getting out of hand.

The idea that we came up with in my group for our board game involved creating some chance cards, much like the ones in Monopoly. We had some positive and some negative cards. The negative cards told the player to go back a couple of spaces. The positive cards gave the player an opportunity to move ahead a few spaces if he/she answered the question correctly. We felt that adding a few negative cards would stimulate the game and simulate real life.

Life is not rosy. Everything we do does not end up with a positive outcome, no matter how hard we may try. We all know this so why do we strive so much to coddle our students? Why do we insist that they get stars on their papers just for turning them in to boost their egos and their self esteem? Aren't we developing children who think that they deserve to win or deserve the "A" even when they've put in no effort? Big egos really don't seem to be lacking in this country. I hardly think we need to encourage their growth through false means.

I agree that we need to give both children and adults more encouragement as they learn. I agree that we need to not set people up to fail. I agree that we need to create a challenging learning environment where students can thrive, but I don't think that means taking out all the negativity. The world can be very harsh and very unfair. Aren't we doing our students a disservice by not making our lessons realistic? We build our self esteem by handling negative situations. Sometimes we miss the bus, or get laid off, or discover that our favorite item at the store is being discontinued. Having to go back a couple of spaces on the game board resembles these types of situations. I believe it's important to keep them in the game because the students will learn how to overcome them. They will have to develop more strategies or alter their plans. This is the kind of environment in which they can learn transferable skills.

The feedback from the class was to take out the negative chance cards and make them all positive. Well, then it isn't a chance anymore, is it?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

EdGames Wiki is the location of the Edgames wiki. For some reason I posted it yesterday on the Q&A forum under the title Q&A. Hope this is easier to find than that.

I enjoyed working with you on it Monday Night. Nice to see you all wiki-ing so quickly.