Re: CBT vs. Stand up (long, but different)

Subject: Re: CBT vs. Stand up (long, but different)
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 13:13:28 -0800

Kimberly Lyle-Wilson asked:

> The question, then, is can CBT be put together to teach in ALL the
> learning styles?

And I ask why not? Think about the online tools that are currently
available: not only can you transmit static text and graphics online
(which replaces lectures and slides, and in some cases reading from a
book in front of the class), but CURRENT tools let you:
* hold classroom discussions, either BBS style or live (think
NetMeeting for typed transmission or via voice transmission over the
* simultaneously view AND mark up graphics via live conference modes -
the analogy for teams working on a diagram of some sort;
* view digitized TV (with sound) of someone doing something, whether
that be a prof talking to a camera or a field trip to some
archaeological dig or whatever;
* jump to hotlinked related areas for further study.

And those are just off the top of my head. My point with most people's
concept of CBT is that they're thinking 'inside the box,' not fully
using the tools that are already out there. Granted, students need
fairly powerful equipment to get at that much multimedia, but since
they're already investing in computers as a school tool, they probably
will be willing to make the investment. Further, the 'pipes' to carry
that kind of data loading are not far away, and in some cases already
exist. I know of several companies who have already made the investment
in the kinds of data 'pipelines' necessary to take that kind of load to
the desktops of their employees, and I know more are looking at the
tradeoffs of doing so.

Granted, it requires that teachers change the way they think about how
to organize and present a course, but we already have models in use as I
type this.

> I remember reading a book that says there are seven different learning
> styles, with most people having a primary and a secondary style.
> Classroom training, like traditional grammar school education, is geared
> toward verbal (audio and visual) learners. Lecture and readings, take
> notes. That's fine, since a big majority of people learn that way
> (something like 75%, I seem to remember). Classroom training
> supplemented with books works best for this segment. The other styles of
> learners will be left out in the cold by using this method alone.
And why is it that we can't substitute the computer screen for the
classroom, in this model? You can still take notes from material
presented on a screen; you can read on your own. Same thing, just a
different kind of classroom. For the other types of learners, you can
still develop modifications to the 'talking head' approach so that they
learn too.

> However, the computer industry has a higher than average proportion of
> people who AREN'T the traditional verbal learners. Many are intuitive,
> or tactile (like me), etc. As a rule, these folks learn better by DOING,
> TOUCHING, and PLAYING with something.

Realize that you're talking here about people in the computer industry
learning about computer tools. I was being more generic than that. But
my point still holds: you can design CBT for computer tools that lets
people try things out and get instant feedback, and the tools to apply
to CBT in this way are already out there. For instance, if you want to
test whether someone enters data in a particular field on the screen,
you can mock up a data entry screen with hot spots and test for entry,
or you can name the field and test for data in it. This isn't rocket

Furthermore, computer training
> almost certainly requires some level of hands-on learning, whether you
> like it or not.

Actually, I'd posit that MOST kinds of training requires some level of
hands-on learning, but that's beside the point.

> Now, if CBTs could be tailored for ALL the different types of learners,
> (as classroom training OUGHT to be), I think they would be hugely
> successful.

My point exactly. The only thing that's between where CBT is now and
where it could be is the blinders that course developers are wearing,
and the willingness of the people paying them to allow for different
learning styles.

I suspect what we're going to see resulting from this year's California
State University experiment with online learning is a whole lot of
migration from the traditional classroom-oriented learning to a whole
palette of learning choices, which includes a LOT of online learning.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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