Our Current Education Model Hurts Students
The traditional educational model in schools does little to promote and encourage success for the youth in the real world. Schools today use lectures and brief exercises to teach students. The information being taught in these lessons could be math, science, history, etc. No matter what it is, students won’t want to learn it if they don’t feel engaged, and spewing information at them does little to stimulate the brain. One entertainment industry that could be looked towards for ideas on an updated educational model is video games. The way video games teach their players collaborative skills to improve group productivity and provide them with engagement and motivation is a good basis for a modern education model.
Schools that use a traditional education model will often use tests and exams to measure a students skill in a subject. While these exams can be a good way for testing students skills, they can lead to students solely focusing on getting a good grade and promote a fixation on memorizing information. This can lead to them not retaining said information or knowing how to apply in real-life situations. In the article “Skill Based Assessment” from the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the author states:
Written tests can assess knowledge acquisition and reasoning ability, but they cannot so easily measure skills… For a reliable measure of clinical skills, performance has to be sampled across a range of patient problems.
While not all students are going into a medical field, this can apply to other subjects outside of the medical world. For instance, while professional musicians need to learn, and are tested on a range of music theory based topics, they also need to spend long periods of time working with other musicians. A performer who never performs won’t magically be able to go on a stage and play perfectly. A doctor who’s never worked with patients won’t be able to correctly help with a patients issues. Students need the skills they are learning to be tested in real world situations.
Students being placed in situations where they need to collaborate in order to solve a task allows for a better understanding of a complex task, and more engagement overall. In the article “Individual and group-based learning from complex cognitive tasks: Effects on retention and transfer efficiency” from Science Direct, Femke Kirschner states:
When learners had to work with the information elements, relate them to each other, and by doing so find the solution to a problem, groups again outperformed individuals but they also outperformed the nominal group.
Tasks where group members must collaborate with each other to solve a problem often leads to better performance and a better understanding of a complex task. It also allows each member of the group to take on less of a cognitive load then they would have to if they were working by themselves.
Extraneous cognitive load is the load resulting from poorly designed instruction that does not contribute to learning.
Video games will often put players into group-based problem solving situations to test individual and cooperative player skill. These situations require players to work together, with each player performing a specific role in the group. One player cannot complete the primary objective of the situation on their own, and all players are required to participate in order for consistent and precise results.
Games like Destiny 2 get players directly involved in their systems and force them to learn quickly in both solo or group situations. The “real world situations” that the 2017 first-person-shooter game put its players in are called “raids.” Raids are a 6 player cooperative activity, where players must work together in order to complete a varying amount of encounters. These encounters can include different complex mechanics and problems that players must solve to move forward. Players will have to transfer important information to each other in a timely, and precise, manner. If they are not coordinated, or fast enough, they will fail and have to restart. Making players need each other for information, rather then having everyone do their own tasks individually, builds cooperative skills and a better understanding of the information being used. Traditional education, on the other hand, will often see students splitting up tasks in order to have each group member do as little work as possible, which does little to build communication and cooperative skills.
Having students in groups actually need to work together, rather then splitting up work with no communication, pushes students to build skills needed for cooperation in the real world. It provides students with the ability to problem solve while working with other people. In the article “Groups perform better than the best individuals on Letters-to-Numbers problems” from Science Direct, Patrick R. Laughlin states:
Traditional theoretical explanations of this superiority of groups over the average individual have emphasized processes by which groups recognize and reject errors and processes by which groups recognize and accept correct responses proposed by one or more members.
As a college student in the music field, I have seen first hand what a more interactive and engaging education model can provide to a student. While I have spent a large amount of time learning music theory, most of what I have learned about the world of music has come from my experiences working with other musicians. Talking to different instrumentalists is the best way to actually learn about an instrument. If I want to learn about clarinet, for example, I will reach out to a clarinet player and ask them to look at the music I have been writing. Having the opportunity to collaborate with all different types of musicians has been the most beneficial part of my college experience. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and forced me to use my knowledge about the subject of music, rather then just memorize it.
I believe that traditional education can only be improved by incorporating ideas from video games. While introducing and testing students on subjects like math, science, music, history, etc. is important, allowing students to learn from experience and execution can often bring their work to the next level. It can also help push students to be more engaged and actually want to learn. Engaging students in the classroom will help them be more engaged in the workplace and in many of their future endeavors.
The British Medical Journal, Skill Based Assessment, 26 March 2003. https://www.bmj.com/content/326/7391/703.short
Kirschner, Femke, Science Direct, Individual and group-based learning from complex cognitive tasks: Effects on retention and transfer efficiency, March 2009. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563208002227
Laughlin, Patrick, Science Direct, Groups perform better than the best individuals on Letters-to-Numbers problems, July 2002. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597802000031
In terms of feedback on this post, I want to see how strong, overall, you think my argument is, and what can be improved in terms of content and strength. Thank you!
Content and strength, coming up:
Students lack the skills necessary to succeed in our group-based world, due to a curriculum-based education system. Students today spend all day learning and memorizing facts for exams and tests that, will most likely, have no real-world application. And even when students are learning information that can be valuable to them. it is wasted, because they do not have the skills to apply it in the correct settings. In our world most jobs require people to work in group settings that schools should have prepared them for.
—Bold claims stated directly and simply.
—Boring because of all the generalities and lack of detail/anecdote/illustration.
—Grammar and punctuation problems.
—Readers may want to stick around for the “show me” challenge.
Schools that use a curriculum based education system will often require students to learn and memorize specific materials in order to complete a test or exam. While in some cases this can be beneficial to introduce a student to a concept or system. It often leads to students only memorizing the information and forgetting about it after the exam is over. This can also lead to teachers lecturing for full class periods without having any student interactivity at all. In the article “Skill Based Assessment” from the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the author states “Written tests can assess knowledge acquisition and reasoning ability, but they cannot so easily measure skills… For a reliable measure of clinical skills, performance has to be sampled across a range of patient problems.” Students often receive the most value from education when the concepts they are learning are put into practice.
—Vagueness is increasingly problematic.
—”curriculum-based” doesn’t necessarily mean “information acquisition or memorization.”
—Tests are often opportunities to perform skills.
—Absolutely agree with the BMJ quote for doctors learning to diagnose and treat patients.
—How often are high school students being taught to diagnose and treat patients?
—One sentence fragment.
Every day there are many industries of our world get more and more complex. New problems pop up every single day that require all new methods of thinking in order to solve. As we are moving into the fourth industrial revolution (otherwise known as industry 4.0), many jobs require more than just a base knowledge a specific subject. In the article “A Reference Human-centric Architecture Model: a skill based approach for education of future workforce,” the authors Emmanuel Flores, Xun Xu, and Yuqian Lu state “Education and adequate upskilling of students and employees are required for a proper industry 4.0 criterion, such as future sustainability and creation of value. This requirement invites opportunities for new ways of tackling such an existing issue.” As our industries evolve and get more competitive and advanced, our system of education should also follow suit in order to best prepare it’s students for the wider industry world.
—We’ll be looking for evidence of the need for “all new ways of thinking.”
—It’s a bold claim that will require support.
—Flores, et. al. make a good point, but it doesn’t support your claim.
—It suggests skills will be needed but doesn’t even suggest the education system needs reform.
As a college student, I have seen first hand what skill based education can provide to a student. As a music student, I have had to spend a lot of time, not only in curriculum based education, but also skill based education. Every day I use my knowledge of music theory, and music in general, to not only play music, but also write my own. I have to prepare pieces of music for specific musicians and different groups of instruments, which requires me to not only know a lot of information about music, but also know how to work with people on different projects. Having the opportunity to create music with live musicians and work with all sorts of people has helped me get to a skill level where I am now comfortable doing it.
—Completely agree making music with others is performative, skill-based, and interactive.
—You don’t quite say that your education model delivers these opportunities.
—If you can, you should.
—We could read this paragraph and believe that you gather the information from classes and put them to use collaborating with musicians on your own time.
—Next, can you connect this style of instruction to the style you recommend for preparing students for a collaborative after-graduation career?
Another industry we can look to to see good examples of skill based education is the video game industry. Video games get players directly involved in their systems and force them to learn quickly in either solo or group settings. A good video game will teach it’s players the basics of how to play without the player realizing they’re being taught. One game that does skill based education particularly well is Destiny 2. The 2017 the first-person-shooter game (which is a sequel the original Destiny from 2014) has a very fun base gameplay loop. It gives players many different weapons and armor pieces to choose from, and allows them to pick what they believe is correct for each situation. Players then use this is gear that they have earned in order to complete different challenges. The games cooperative flagship team game mode, otherwise known as Raids, are the pinnacle of what this game does correctly in terms of skill based education. It takes what the player has in terms of gear and knowledge of the overall game and forces them to think on their feet in a group setting. When players want to attempt a raid, they must first make sure that they have five other people to play with and the proper gear. Throughout the raid players must complete puzzles and boss fights with a varying complexity of mechanics. These mechanics are not known to the players. Through team base coordination and trial and error, players we must figure out the mechanics in order to avoid failing.
—The quick shift from education to industry feels like dealing from the bottom of the deck.
—Are you calling video games an “education system”?
—Smooth this transition carefully.
—Maybe you mean, “the way video games teach participants collaborative skills to improve group productivity is a good model for a modern education system”?
—Devote a full paragraph to that transitional claim (consider hinting about it in your Introduction), then devote another paragraph to your first example, Destiny 2.
—It’s not too soon to drop hints that Destiny does well what high school doesn’t.
Another game that does this particularly well is Elden Ring. The 2022 game begins by giving the player a short and optional tutorial. Players can skip this tutorial if they either already know what they’re doing or want to figure it out on their own. After the tutorial the game gives you very minimal guidance on where to go and what to do. It is almost completely up to the player to figure out every system, boss fight, enemy, and dungeon in the game. The games developers, FromSoftware, want players too be fully immersed in the world they created. The game is meant to feel as if you were on an epic quest, fighting gods and monsters, except you are just a regular person. The game does not spoonfeed you information, it tests your skill and puts you in situations where you have to use what you know.
—Bad grammar problems.
—”Another example” is a waste of time unless it’s an example of something else.
—You could use this example (which does not appear to depend on collaboration) to suggest classroom education exercises that don’t “instruct” but challenge students to solve problems based on LESS information instead of OVERLOADING them with information and not asking them to USE IT.
—Drop these recommendations/analogies/comparisons into the body of your argument. Don’t save them for your Conclusion. It may be too late to make your point.
I believe that our education systems can improve from having more skill based and group based work. Well I do think students need some form of basic knowledge to succeed in any industry, and video game for that matter, having nowhere to test those ideas and learn group and solo skills makes the information that is being taught worthless. Engaging students in the classroom will help them be more engaged in the workplace and in many of their future endeavors.
—Right. But by the time we get to this paragraph, you should have said all of this.
I hope that was helpful, Rubes.
You’re working on a strong concept here, for which EXECUTION is going to be your biggest challenge. Everyone is willing to accept that new skills will be needed in a new economy. If you think “learning from doing” as exemplified by the video-game-skills-acquisition model is the best way forward, be sure we know that from the Introduction. You spend several paragraphs before you sprang that bit.
This post is always eligible for a Regrade following significant Revision.
This is probably as much as I am going to be able to do on this. If you have time at all, I would gladly take feedback on anything content wise that stands out to you. Next I’m gonna be working on fixing up my definition rewrite. I’ll most likely take another look at this before I am finished with everything.
Significant improvements throughout.