Methodology Makeover

Within the field of content architecture, methodology is something to consider: After all, the outcome is not only determined by what you produce, but how you present it. Bake a cake, and the the icing will matter. Ask a question, and the way you formulate it will impact the answer you get.

As opposed to Mexican-style ponchos and cork inlays, there is no one-size-fits-all in instructional design. Instead, there are strategical choices determined by the type of audience you are catering to.

In the educational context however, certain didactical approaches find general approval. One of these is Investigative Case-Based Learning (ICBL): Here, the learner is challenged to channel their own curiosity to investigate a given topic with questions. Ideally, these questions will lead to accurate answers. I myself am intrigued, and resolve to test this methodology:

Try entering a teenage bedroom, and your passage will be obstructed by heaps of laundry. Instead of pointing out the nature and solution to the problem (“Stop blocking the doorway with your gym clothes and throw them in the washer NOW!”), I let the events unfold themselves: Will there be demands for a set of fresh clothes? A slow but inherent realization that surely, something ought to be done about the matter once the closet echoes empty?

Days pass, with no apparent learning progress. The pile of clothes slowly grows, and so does my impatience. Then, it hits me: This is not stagnation, not nonchalance, not a methodological error – it’s strategy! The teenage bedroom per se is forbidden territory, and a parent persona non grata. The heap of laundry is nothing but a tactical maneuver to keep me out.

How ingenious! 

Julia Ryberg