Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Ballard Model of Comprehensive Education

How can we verify when a broad, effective, comprehensive education has been obtained?

While that is of course a complex question it is also an important one.  So, it is somewhat surprising that most higher education research cannot answer that question in any detail and many people do not even believe that question can be answered.  But Information Technology concepts can and should help address that question.

Education and Information Technology are intertwined at a foundational level because both are based on brain function.  So, from an information systems perspective here is one proposed model that naturally identifies the categories that make up an effective, comprehensive education.

This model is based on five dimensions:
  1. The Four Categories of Information Systems, as expressed in
    • Brain Function: Memory, Thinking, Communicating/Interacting and Senses/Control
    • Information Technology: Storage, Processing, Networking/Transactions and Sensors/Control
    • Educational Philosophy: Instructivism (transferring stored knowledge), ConstructivismConnectivism, and Experiential Learning
    • Quantitative vs. Qualitative
  2. Roughly similar to the Trivium and Quadrivium
    • Abstract Forms vs. Applied Reality
  3. Individual vs. Social
  4. A Hierarchy of Five Human Needs (see the pyramid diagram below)
Using those five basic dimensions, the following model for a comprehensive liberal arts and technology education can be derived, which I have named the "Ballard Model of Comprehensive Education" only to maintain its distinction from other similar models:


Expanding on #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, as well as a hierarchy of five categories of human needs (dimension #5 above and the pyramid below):


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 help start the discussion of how information systems concepts shed light on educational categories and methods.