Minimum Viable Input

Published: 2016-05-02 03:39 |

Category: Teaching | Tags: teaching

In software, there’s a lot of discussion about the “minimum viable product” when you’re designing something: what is the bare basic you can deliver to customers that will solve a problem? It helps define the focus and set development priorities for the first weeks.

I think there’s a similar process in learning. I have to have a minimum viable input from students in order to teach effectively. I try to design lessons that are low barrier for entry, ones that allow students to engage with an idea without being bogged down in the details. It takes some amount of effort and the bar is _just_ above what’s comfortable.

I haven’t been receiving that minimum input from students lately. And as a result, we’re struggling. Hard.

There seems to be the expectation that if learning doesn’t happen in class, I’ll drop everything and teach it later. Some are learning the hard way that it doesn’t work that way. When we’re together, I want to engage _together_. I can be flexible, but it’s a two way street.

I’ve had some discussions with students. The nice thing about standards based grading is that it’s less of a numbers game (mathematically impossible to pass, etc.) It’s harder – it’s a learning game.

_Learning must happen._

Learning an entire semester’s worth of material in four weeks is hardly realistic, but I’ll support the ones who give it a try.

I hope there’s a larger takeaway, whatever the outcome.

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