Two Articles of Note on Learning

Tiltfactor is interested in learning and in our context as an academic-focused research laboratory. The essay “Making College ‘Relevant” by Kate Zernike (Dec 29 2009) offers up an interesting take on “training” students for specific careers and jobs. While students and parents increasingly worry about the applicability of students’ future skills, the “Association of American Colleges and Universities recently asked employers who hire at least 25 percent of their workforce from two- or four-year colleges what they want institutions to teach. The answers did not suggest a narrow focus. Instead, 89 percent said they wanted more emphasis on ‘the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing,’ 81 percent asked for better ‘critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills” and 70 percent were looking for “the ability to innovate and be creative.'” We’re delighted to see this type of response. Students who work with Tiltfactor , and who learn at Dartmouth College, learn broad thinking, problem solving, and creativity skills while innovating in new forms of communication– in our case, games.

A second article, though a little short, struck us as offering an important nugget of information. In Barbara Strauch’s “How to Train the Aging Brain,” the journalist interviewed neuroscientists on the challenges and benefits to an older mind and the types of learning we benefit from in different stages of life.  A quote from the article that relates to Tiltfactor and our method of Critical Play: “Educators say that, for adults, one way to nudge neurons in the right direction is to challenge the very assumptions they have worked so hard to accumulate while young. With a brain already full of well-connected pathways, adult learners should ‘jiggle their synapses a bit’ by confronting thoughts that are contrary to their own, says Dr. Taylor, who is 66.”