‘If it includes Power Point it isn’t working’

by reestheskin on 18/04/2016

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Roger Schank has a new web site (not before time), so I have been rereading some of his stuff. Wonderful: (he of: ‘There are only two things wrong with the education system (i) what we teach and (ii) how we teach it’. Below are some of his choice phrases, but it really is worth a visit. I think he gets most things right. (FWIW, I have said on more than one occasion, that if universities were serious about learning, they would ban Powerpoint text slides).

On school

“So, my advice. Know what matters to you. Learn that. Temporarily memorize nonsense if you want to graduate but have a proper perspective on it. Nothing you learn in high school will matter in your future life……That having been said, in honor of the coming school year, I have decided to give students some ammunition. Here are most of the subjects you take in high school, listed one by one, with an explanation about why there is no point in taking them.”

On corporate training

“In 1989, I witnessed corporate training for the first time. We had just started the Institute for The Learning Sciences, which was sponsored by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). I visited their campus in St. Charles, Illinois, and saw many classrooms full of people who were mostly half asleep or in a daze from being talked at about corporate culture, and Andersen’s core values, and client needs, and so on……So, now I want to say something easy to understand about corporate training: STOP IT”

“Content cannot be delivered. If it could, you could hire FedEx to do it.”

“But we keep talking at people. If your training includes talking, then it isn’t working. If it includes Power Point it isn’t working.” 

“There are always assessment questions. Why? Because the training department wants to know if the students have “learned the material.” What the training department should really want to know is what the student can do that they couldn’t do before the training.”


What I said was: “e-learning is the same garbage just in a new medium.”