Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Educating Today's Learner
  Third Essential Question

Is our goal as educators to prepare an individual who can recall sets of information or develop groups of individuals who can apply the information to as yet unsolved problems?

Trick question, as I am not educator, I would have to default to being an outside observer on this one. Recalling “sets of information” smacks of memorization, and most of our reading has been against this useless form of learning. This kind of memory, especially when done to prepare for testing, is only short term. Studies confirm, nearly all of this kind of memory is lost almost immediately after the task is performed. Therefore, knowledge has not been gathered and stored for future applications. Hypothetically, if I were an educator, I would have to pick door number two. I would develop groups of individuals who could apply the information to future problems. That would be turning students into critical thinkers who would have the capability to understand the big picture/concepts, etc. Building a wealth of knowledge takes time to develop. I have never liked the idea of "conditioning" as an automatic form of learning; someone merely reacting to a situation rather than use critical thinking. There should be no reward for being able to recall sets of information at the ring of Pavlov’s bell.