All the way down (Amancay Maahs/flickr.com)

Can analysis and critical thinking be taught online in the humanitarian context?

Reda Sadki Events, Learning design, Presentations

This is my presentation at the First International Forum on Humanitarian Online Training (IFHOLT) organized by the University of Geneva on 12 June 2015. I describe some early findings from research and practice that aim to go beyond “click-through” e-learning that stops at knowledge transmission. Such transmissive approaches replicate traditional training methods prevalent in the humanitarian context, but are both ineffective and irrelevant when it comes to teaching and learning the critical thinking skills that are needed to operate in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments faced by humanitarian teams. Nor can such approaches foster collaborative leadership and team work. Most people recognize this, but then invoke blended learning as the solution. Is it that – or is it just a cop-out to avoid deeper questioning and enquiry of our models for teaching and learning in the humanitarian (and development) space? If not, what is the alternative? This is what I explore in just under twenty …

Peter Paul Rubens. From 1577 to 1640. Antwerp. Medusa's head. KHM Vienna.

Experience and blended learning: two heads of the humanitarian training chimera

Reda Sadki Design, Events, Learning design, Learning strategy, Thinking aloud

Experience is the best teacher, we say. This is a testament to our lack of applicable quality standards for training and its professionalization, our inability to act on what has consequently become the fairly empty mantra of 70-20-10, and the blinders that keep the economics (low-volume, high-cost face-to-face training with no measurable outcomes pays the bills of many humanitarian workers, and per diem feeds many trainees…) of humanitarian education out of the picture. We are still dropping people into the deep end of the pool (i.e., mission) and hoping that they somehow figure out how to swim. We are where the National Basketball Association in the United States was in 1976. However, if the Kermit Washingtons in our space were to call our Pete Newells (i.e., those of us who design, deliver, or manage humanitarian training), what do we have to offer? The corollary to this question is why no one seems to care? How …

Neurons in the brain

The science of sciences

Reda Sadki Theory

“We want to talk about science as a certain kind of ‘knowing’. Specifically, we want to use it to name those deeper forms of knowing that are the purpose of education. Science in this broader sense consists of things you do to know that are premeditated, things you set out to know in a carefully considered way. It involved out-of-the ordinary knowledge-making efforts that have a peculiar intensity of focus, rather than things you get to know as an incidental consequence of doing something or being somewhere. Science has special methods or techniques for knowing. These methods are connected with specialized traditions of knowledge making and bodies of knowledge. In these senses, history, language studies and mathematics are sciences, as are chemistry, physics and biology. Education is the science of learning (and, of course, teaching). Its subject is how people come to know. It teaches learners the methods for making …

Maybe old learning isn’t so bad, after all?

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

When I first saw Professor Cope’s photos of a 1983 elementary school classroom, I scoffed. It was so obvious that the “communications and knowledge architecture” was one-way, focused on rote learning and rewarding good behavior which involved staying safely “inside the box”. How easy to critique, deconstructing all of the ways in which this particular “banking” form of education was unlikely to intentionally “deposit” anything that might actually be useful to the future lives of these school children. How awful, I thought, and how at odds with everything I try to put into practice with respect to my own professional role. Today’s MOOCs and flipped classrooms, with their objectives of making active knowledge-making ubiquitous, make 1983 look like the Dark Ages of education. And yet. And yet this classroom very closely resembles the ones in which I grew up, with 5th grade in 1980 as a reference point. And I …