Edges and personal learning journeys

I found Todd Rose by chance.

A tweet from David Bishop led me to Muiin Koury’s (2014) post Nobody is average but what to do about it?

… and then I managed to find my way to Todd’s TEDx talk (18 minutes) in 2013.

Given that I am so interested in personal learning journeys, I am disappointed not to have found Todd until now.

I really enjoyed the connection Todd makes in the video between adjustability and the design of learning experiences. I like too the challenge to design for the edges.

My thinking is a mix of edges and central tendencies. Whilst I recognise and champion personal learning, my recent analytics work has used median performance profiles.

Like Todd, I recognise that there will be jagged performance profiles rather than smooth curves. Whilst I understand that not one of my profiles fits, they do direct my gaze to variance.

Reflecting on Todd’s talk and designing learning experiences at and for the edges has encouraged me further along my optimisation of performance exploration.

Todd’s work had led him to research individuality, mastery and opportunity.

I accept unreservedly Todd’s observation:

our institutions of opportunity, from education to the workforce, remain firmly rooted in the misguided belief that group averages are good enough to understand individuals, measure their potential, and nurture their unique talents. They are not.

I think if I am clear in my own work about a central tendency rather than an uncritical ‘measurement’, I can explore performance variation creatively and dynamically.

Where I am looking forward to considering edges is in my current work in Learning and Teaching at the University of Canberra. I have been looking at the use of learning analytics to support students on their learning journeys.

I am excited where this work might lead and am delighted to say I have not used ‘average’ in any conversations.

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