Knowledge units

Knowledge units (Sam Gerstenzang)
There are two models of online education: • Preparatory knowledge, in the form of course-based video-delivered teachings: Coursera, Udacity, Thinkful, etc. • On demand knowledge: Wikipedia,...

There are two models of online education:

  1. Preparatory knowledge, in the form of course-based video-delivered teachings: Coursera, Udacity, Thinkful, etc.
  2. On demand knowledge: Wikipedia, StackOverflow, Genius, etc.

Of the two, the latter has been much more widely spread and far more influential.

 

There is, of course, something fundamentally missing when we only have on demand knowledge. It is related to an anti-technology argument I call the “calculator argument.” There are two components:

  1. You shouldn’t rely on calculators to do math because one day you might not have a calculator.
  2. A strong grasp of mental arithmetic allows intuitions that wouldn’t otherwise occur. Or in other words, the use of calculators limits our solution space.

The first argument is rather silly, but the second is quite relevant.

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