Thursday, January 26, 2017

What does "Normal Science" look like?

Kuhn's Normal Science concept described slow steady progress WITHIN an existing paradigm. Since this is where we live 99% of the time this aspect is key to understand.
The process is basically:
  1. come up with an idea: 
  2. turn the idea into a innovation: 
  3. form the innovation into a project that can seek support/funding to capitalize on the idea/innovation
  4. develop a idea/project/solution/product,
  5. test the result to establish value
  6. deploy/sell it to the audience.
For an example, look at gamification of interactive online learning. Imagine a gamified online education solution working its way through this process.
And then failing in the market. Why? 
The existing paradigm (lectures, standardized patients, systems approach) doesn't really have a role for interactive online learning (more specifically online stuff that isn't webinars, uploaded files and bboards). So "dressing it up" isn't going to change that. Any curriculum, even a gamified one must be purchased and although a new type of apple may be more tasty, in this case the educators have said that they don't want apples (i.e., educational interventions that they did not create).
  • BTW, that still doesn't mean that gamification is a good idea, just that within the current paradigm it isn't going to be successful.
Buy why don't students demand this new approach? 
The issue is that the job hasn't changed. Students have the job of passing courses and educators have the job of getting them to pass. In both of their minds they are doing the job just fine. After all, students were accepted to health/medical training and educators have a money earning job and a career they are proud of. 
How will gamification of online curricula improve that? 
Gamification and online training are challenging the paradigm. And they aren't attractive or effective enough to succeed.
Take home message: In Normal Science: Incremental change is incremental. Don't expect a revolution or substantial change unless what you have is amazing and someone else can see it.

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