Web-based training and spirituality

Posted 10 July 2010 by
  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation

Those are the traditional Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives of the Cognitive Domain. While there has been refinements since its introduction in the 1950s, this is one thing that those involved education and learning know about. I am not saying there is universal acclaim for Bloom’s Taxonomy. Actually, I have run across those that hate it. But, we all know about it.

When I was a high school math and science teacher in a 45 student high school in rural South Dakota, my goals in the classroom were not to have students repeat facts back to me. A computer can do that. Humans are more than databases of facts.

Since I wanted my students to be more than a programmed computer, I encouraged application, analysis, and creating new ideas (synthesis). When teaching Physics, I had behavioral objectives for the labs in class. But, I wanted my students to make the experience their own. I wanted them to think about it. I wanted them to try to come up with something new.

Our first lab was to replicate Galileo’s experiment of dropping objects of different weights from  the Leaning Tower of Pisa to see which would hit the ground first. I had the students design the experiment. This included everything from creating the thesis they wanted to prove as well as how they would actually conduct the experiment.

I did have to nix their idea of using the town’s water tower in the experiment.

We settled for from the platform above the stage in the city auditorium and school gym.

It was fun for everyone recording dropping baseballs, rubber playground balls, eggs, and other objects with the schools video cassette recorder. It was fun for me watching the face of each student when each realized the obvious thesis was proven wrong. That lesson went farther than teaching about acceleration due to gravity.

(Physics was taught every other year, alternating with Chemistry. If I had stayed in that school long enough to teach Physics again, I probably would have talked to the city in advance over summer vacation to see if the city would have been willing to supply someone to climb the tower. That is, just in case my new class of students had come up with the same idea. Well, do you think another group of high school students would have wanted to drop things off the tower?)

Do you think my students would have learned this and other lessons as well from a book? Would each have internalized the lesson as well from a book? Would each have formed a way to answer questions that involved questioning and proving?

If using a book, all I would have been able to do is create puppets, programmed with what I and some text author knew. It took guidance and personal involvement on my part to have my students internalize their lessons.

Today, much of what was in text books is found online. How much better is hypertext than regular text? As a instructional designer who has created web-based courses, I know I can catch and grab with web graphics. The trick is doing more than teaching knowledge, comprehension, and application.

What does this have to do with spirituality and faith?

Let me ask the question another way.

What type of spirituality and faith will you get from someone who gets it from a book or website?

Mars Hill Church in Seattle has a formal process to become a member. You can pass the doctrine portion of the process by web-based training.

Comprehension, knowledge, and application are an important start. Without it, you will never get to analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. But, when you pass such a course, where are you? Can you think critically on something of critical importance? Is that all there is?

How do you change lives and attitudes, not just teach facts?

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