I’m hear with Guillaume LAURIE of Kedge Business School. He had a great talk during yesterday’s rocket session so I wanted to ask him a few follow up questions. Can you start us off with introducing yourself? What do you do at KBS and what was your talk about?
Yeah sure. I am Guillaume Laurie from Kedge Business School, the biggest French Business School, with 12,000 students. And I am an Experimental Learning Designer, so I am working with instructors to design their courses and to create new activities. I am a part of a 12 member team that does what is necessary to change the way we teach. We have a researcher, we have someone to focus on the digitalization, someone to focus on industrialization of learning, our dedicated Information Technology specialist... We are all trying to improve the way we teach at Kedge Business School.
Interesting, I wish my grad school had something like that!
So, I had a couple questions about your speech. I thought it was interesting the pattern you had between the teacher the classroom and the student. (picture here) And I was wondering, do you prioritize any of those? It looked like you might have been implying that teacher to classroom content is a little more valuable (and teacher to student to content is more traditional/outdated).
I made this pattern with my colleague, specialized in pedagogical researches. We are very interested in this subject. So, we tried to recreate the exchange between all these stakeholders. Sometimes we see a lot of people asking themselves how to improve the way we teach between the teacher and the student, but a lot of time we lose the "classroom" concept. So, we just have 1 to 1 relations, but we know the teacher is not the guy with all of the knowledge anymore, he/she is more of a guide. And to guide we know you need to guide not just one person but the group, helping the group to work together, and understand how to work with other people, because if you do not do that you’re just isolated, which is bad for motivation and for learning.
And it’s bad for enterprises (as well), because we need people who can adapt and work with other people, and can learn from people as well as teach other people. A lot of professional teams need these knowledge transfer between students with more digital skills and their employees with more professional skills to create innovation. we prepare students to share, that is one of three things very important to Kedge: create, care and share. Share especially, is very important though. We think that the students most well prepared for business are those who excel at sharing.
That’s really interesting. Not only the age gap aspect, but just from personal experience, I’ve noticed that the worse professors’ classes generally have more 1 on 1 dialogues between students, but very talented professors create an atmosphere where peers are commenting on their classmates’ responses or building off of it.
Another question- I noticed you said something about a motivation to read others’ comments online. Can you speak more to that?
From my personal use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and from reading a lot of contributions of our students in our forums, there are 2 types of forums. The first is where you say, “Please contribute in the forum and explain what you think about this (subject),” and everyone goes and puts in their contribution before leaving. No one ends up reading the contribution other than the professor. (In) The second type is where people aren’t requested specifically to go the forum, so no one is there. When I saw that in MOOC, it was not as visible because there are 10,000 people, so if you have 100 people that share it seems like, “Wow!” There is a lot of contribution and people responding. But you have just 100 on 10,000. In a small group, you can’t have this ratio. If you have this ratio, you have no one or just 1 person willing to share. So, we really need to create motivation. And to create this motivation, we try to use frustration.
First, we ask them a question. There first reflex is to go on the internet and find something to say- “I can contribute with this thing.” But, we say that only the first time we see this argument, they will get recognition. To be sure, it is the first time this argument is given, they need to read contributions to make sure that it hasn’t been posted. If it has been, they say, “No, I have taken time to search and find it, I can’t just admit that someone has done it. No, I need to use it!” So, they need to be creative and find another way to explain it and create the illusion to see this contribution for the first time (because explained in a new way).
Or they try to be creative by taking other arguments and present this argument as if it creates something new with other arguments. And we say, “Yes, that’s some kind of new argument.” It’s really nice to see that. And we use that to help them understand that it’s important to see what others have given (as contribution) and try to do more, try to use that. Some students go to the forum, check contributions and say, “Okay what kind of argument can I take from the other side and to present in a new way..?” And say, “They presented this argument for the No, but I think that if we present it for the Yes, it can be okay because...” And so, it’s really, very interesting to see these contributions- how they learn from others- and how they can contribute to the classroom by reusing others contributions.
Very interesting! So, it sounded like before you said there was about 1% sharing with the MOOCs. Did you measure the effectiveness of this new method. Were all of the students on board with it?
We measured the effectiveness by the results we got. Because There was 80 students in this course and we get 140 contributions… it’s a lot. Two thirds of the classroom participated so it’s very nice because more than 50% gave more than one post and the best was to see when they reuse arguments. We can see from this (kind of) contribution that they needed to read the others’ contribution, so it was a huge success for us.
One other thing I noticed in there was your formula for giving the weight of the contrib. It was good(quality) responses divided by total responses, correct?
Yes almost, it's good quality response for the yes divided by the total responses for the "yes" (yes ratio) and good quality response for the no divided by the total responses for the "no" (no ratio). Then we compare ratios!
So, it seemed to me there was almost a little bit of a loophole where if you respond a lot less, you can get your percentage up. Did you implement that as a way of getting people who just put a string of comments out there in order to get a good grade- to filter them out a little bit?
When we think about this formula we wanted to see how they use the game strategy theory. We wanted to see if one of our student s would have the idea to put some bad content on the other (argument’s) side. For example: if he chose yes, put a lot of poor contributions for the “No.” (to create a very bad ratio by trolling). To be sure that there would be a bad ratio in the No and secure a win for the Yes position (they could have).
Haha! And did you kick them out of Business School…?
Haha, No, no! They are not gamers like we thought they were. But it was really interesting to see the strategy that they use- to try to reuse arguments- or to present a good pleading, like don’t be abused by the opposition, the good position is ours because… And they reused arguments, without new things, but still making a good plea by detracting from the other argument and stating how it was not credible. So, it was very interesting to see how you can take the lawyer role and try to play (with it).
Interesting. I love that element you have where there was no correct answer for the questions that you were putting up for argument. I think there’s been a large outcry for US schools to have more critical thinking in their classes. Is that the way it is in France as well? Or do they have debate heavy classes in high school and college already?
First of all, critical thinking is really, really important. And it’s something we speak about during the recruitment process of our students. We really want to use that as a promise that, “If you do business in France you will go out with this critical mind.” So, it’s very important to us that we add so many of activities that develop this critical mindset. It’s the reason why we created this, thinking that it was nice to add them to see that a lot of times there is not a right answer. There is an answer in the context. In a professional reality, a lot of times there is no right response. I think this kind of activity can be used in every school, and it would be a pleasure to work with other schools. Yesterday, during the talk, we spoke with two other American schools that wanted to contribute and use this activity. So it’s really nice, I think we can do great things (together).
That’s great to hear! Now, one last heavy question. What do you see for distance learning going forward. Maybe not so short term like what we saw yesterday, but in the long haul. What’s something we will see going forward?
I think that distance learning is a huge thing. And at this time, we can’t have THE big a picture. What I see- maybe it’s some kind of “Netflix of education.” Where you have a lot of little modules, like one hour or 4 to 12 weeks. If you have a problem with something, you can see these kind of 1 hour modules to find your answer. It's the first level, short term solution. The second level is when you always have the same kind of problems, the algorithm analyzes that and understand that you are not thinking in a correct way. So the algorithm will propose you a 4 to 12 weeks course (like MOOC) to try to change the way you are reasoning on this kind of problem. Maybe a third level with a complete path of courses to help you get diplomas in the fields you like to study or you are the most curious about.
Hmmm, okay, last question, let’s keep it a little light. What was your favorite moment of the weekend?
My favorite moment was the keynote, I loved it because it’s a huge event. Last year it was the presentation of Bill Ballhaus who said, I’m an engineer from aerospace, okay it looks like a joke” but (it was) very nice and honest. And this year the band was really nice, and the speech of Dr. Biden was really great! I think she’s completely right that long life education is really an important thing. Everyone that didn’t understand the importance of education while they were young or were not ready to learn the way we teach, can change that and at 30, 40, or even 50 could go back to school and go back to learn. Because education is really needed to change your life and to do greater things. I think that it’s a big thing and we can change a lot of lives with learning.
I really appreciate your time and your thoughts!
Thank you Matt!
All thanks to Guillaume on this one. His presentation was captivating for both the crowd and his fellow presenters, which was easy to tell by the hour he spent after the session to discuss and answer questions. Can’t thank him enough for bringing innovative methods all the way from Kedge Business School to New Orleans. It’s easy to see why the school has shot up 62 places in the past year to break the top 25 in Global Rankings for its Executive MBA Program (per Financial Times). We at Blackboard hope to hear more about Guillaume’s thoughts on online debates and increasing forum activity at Bbworld18!