Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Ballard Model of Comprehensive Education

How do you know when an effective, comprehensive education has been obtained?

While that is of course a complex question, I was still surprised to find out a few years ago that most higher education professionals can't answer that question in any detail, and many do not even believe that question can be answered.  But information technology concepts can and should help answer that question.

Education and Information Technology are intertwined at a foundational level because both are based on brain function.  So for a few years now I have, from an information systems perspective, been working to determine a model that naturally identifies the categories that make up an effective, comprehensive education. 

The model I have come to is built on five dimensions:
  1. The Four Categories of Information Systems, as expressed in: 
  2. Quantitative vs. Qualitative (roughly similar to the Trivium and Quadrivium)
  3. Abstract Forms vs. Applied Reality
  4. Individual vs. Social
  5. A Hierarchy of Five Human Needs (see the pyramid diagram below)
Using those five basic dimensions I eventually arrived at the following model for a comprehensive liberal arts and technology education, which I have named the "Ballard Model of Comprehensive Education" to maintain its distinction from other models:


12. Techniques (Technologies)

This categorization of Techniques (Technologies) is based on a generalization of the four brain functions (dimension #1 above): foundation, process, interaction and productivity and a hierarchy of five categories of human needs (dimension #5 above):


Some areas of this model will of course need explanation and additional refinements may be added in the future, but this is a good summary to open the discussion of how information systems concepts shed light on educational categories and methods.