Inflexible schedules

Another common issue with courses is that they usually run to a tight rigid schedule. If the goal of the course is to make it easy to manage and run and create a bell curve, then such a schedule makes sense.

If the goal is to facilitate and maximize learning in the students (gasp :)), we have to account for the variable rates of learning among diverse students.

what really matters

When someone comes to provide you a service, maybe an civil architect, an interior designer, a programmer or a plumber; do we really care how long they took to learn their skill? Or do we care that they can do the job, meet our requirements and make us happy?

The important thing to consciously acknowledge is that it really does not matter if a skill was learnt in 100 hours or 500 hours. What matters is that proficiency in a desired skill can be exhibited in practical situations.

When we treat skill acquisition as something that has to go against a tight schedule, we are going to leave behind a good fraction of students for no good reason.

When we continuously evaluate them using single shot tests and label them on a curve as average, slow or special needs students, we are not helping them in any way! 

Sometimes we hear the argument that some or many students can only be motivated by exams and tight schedules.

While such a consideration can lead to deep stuff, I think keeping the focus on assisting those who do want to learn makes more sense rather than making it arbitrarily hard for everyone under the name of motivation.

If at all we have to solve the motivation problem, we need more creative solutions than tight schedules and continuous grading. 

The surprising thing to note is that most online courses have this flexibility which classroom courses don't.

It is time we re-imagine and revisit assumptions around classrooms are scheduled and how they are run.

This article is one in a series of articles on learning effectively. Check them out.

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