Thursday, 9 February 2012

Laurillard's conversational framework and Socratic method

Laurillard makes a big point of the students eventually coming to an agreement with the tutor - the tutor teaches by bringing them to a shared view/opinion as Socrates did with his dialogues with students. The problem I have with this, is that it does not encourage personal learning. It is very teleological in that there is a right and wrong answer and there is a kind of "truth". I prefer knowledge as provisional on what we currently know, as students when they leave the University need to be able to approach the novel and situations that might be analogous to what they have seen before but not necessarily homologous. It also suggests that answers might not be multi-themed or that there might be cases where there is no right answer, which is what often happens in the literature. 
I wonder if there are ways to use games and simulations to make learning more open and perhaps more realistic in looking like everyday situations where students might use the material they are learning. Case-studies go some way towards this but role-play, such as mooting that they use in law can also be useful.
The problem is the cost of setting up these sorts of environments and also the danger that students will feel helpless and lost if they do not have a clear learning path to follow.

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