This article resonates with me a lot, because I believe that the learning process involves wrestling with tough and ambiguous questions. Of course there is finite knowledge that is needed, in terms of building blocks along the way (map locations, elementary mathematics & algebra, basic concepts of religion and theology, ...), the real good stuff of learning involves getting muddy and mucky with confusing and tough questions.
Glad to be getting into the muck and the mud with my students this year!
From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
August 14, 2014
Confuse Students to Help Them Learn
Professors who present classroom material clearly and concisely may not be doing their students any favors.Enlarge ImageBy Steve Kolowich
If you had to pick a single word to explain how Derek Muller ended up in a Perth hotel room arguing with an empty chair, it probably would be "confusion."
About a decade ago, Mr. Muller, then a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney, wanted to figure how out to make science videos that students would learn from, not just watch. So he did some experiments. He got a handheld camera and rudimentary animation and editing software, and recorded some educational videos aimed at teaching basic physics concepts.
In some videos, he had an actor explain the concepts straightforwardly, with simple drawings and animations. When he showed the videos to a group of undergraduates, the students described them as clear, concise, and easy to understand.
In other videos, he included more ambiguity. Instead of one actor delivering a well-articulated monologue, Mr. Muller filmed two actors, a "tutor" and a "student." The student character would struggle to wrap his head around the concept. The tutor would provide some leading questions but no clear answers. Finally, after some back-and-forth, the student would get it right.
None of Mr. Muller’s students called this kind of video clear or concise. Some of them called it confusing.
But when Mr. Muller analyzed the results of tests he administered to the students before and after showing them the videos, he noticed something odd: The students who had watched the more confusing videos learned more. . .
Read it all HERE