Sunday, April 25, 2010

Objective vs. Subjective Learning

As I am progressing in my MBA, I realize that throughout my study - work cycle, the reason a lot of us find that we do not utilize 95% of our learnings in college is due to the lack of distinction between objective vs. subjective learnings. Let me explain further.

Objective Learning:
Formalized concepts that have been proven and well understood. These concepts can typically be mathematically described. Exams tend to focus on this aspect of learning by testing the student in various ways to ensure that these concepts have been understood. Although well understood, this type of learning has limited value since it tends to reflect an academic view of the world where concepts are decoupled from all else and looked upon uniquely with limited exposure to how it relates to other aspects in the real world.

Subjective Learning:
How things in the real world work. This is fuzzy, less understood formally but yet drives behavior in the real world. Tends to be coupled with many other concepts or even subjects. Tends to be tested lightly in class projects, Capstone projects, etc.

Our educational system tends to shy away from subjective learnings since they are much harder to test. Even in project work, the grading is based on how the objective learnings are applied rather than how the real world problem was resolved. How do you test something that is cannot be formalized? However, I feel that this mentality constrains creativity and promotes retention of information rather than learning.

Will continue this discussion later...

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