How ‘Learning Engineering’ Hopes to Speed Up Education — from by Jeffrey R. Young


Simon spent the latter part of his career as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, making the case for bringing in a new kind of engineer to help improve teaching. He knew it would mean a major change in how instruction of complex subjects happens, moving it from a “solo sport” of a sage on the stage to a community-based one where teams build and design learning materials and experiences — and continually refine them.

Ten years ago, only about 1,300 instructional designers worked at U.S. colleges, but that has grown to more than 10,000 today.

Even so, we’re still a long way from having a mature practice of learning engineering in place. But proponents of the approach say they are beginning to build the infrastructure necessary for their moonshot of turbo-charging the speed and the quality of learning. Some learning engineers believe they can help students reach mastery of complex subject matter as much as 10 times faster than with traditional approaches.