Monday, May 26, 2008

Is creative learning better than competence based learning?

I ran into an interesting announcement of a PhD defense at the University of Tilburg (sorry in Dutch). Paul Denooz decided on a different learning concept than the competence based learning which is so popular in Dutch professional universities. He complains that competence based learning is turning out to be very teacher controlled, students are merely ticking off the skills which the teacher has prescribed. Students are not being creative and they are not being properly prepared for society (although I was under the impression that was exactly what competence based learning was intending to do...)
He has run an experiment for three years in a row using his 'Creative Action Methodology' in which students are encouraged to approach a challenge and use creative thinking. This requires logical and non-logical thinking and being critical of knowledge and reflect on the knowledge acquired.

Slight reflection on my part: It does make me wonder whether the principles of competence based learning are the problem or whether any new methodology for teaching and learning seems to run into the same problem in the end: it is the teacher and the school which has to put it into practice. If a teacher is not willing to offer students the 'learning freedom' required by the methodology, any new approach is bound to fail, certainly in a large scale application...

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