Product or Process – What’s Your Take?

Process vs. Product has been long debated in educational arenas.  What’s more important, process or product?  I think the more important questions is: How do we make both of equal importance?  I believe wholeheartedly, that if an individual or team dials in an effective process, then a quality product will result.  Conversely, if a quality product results, then an effective process, at the very least, was navigated.  You may be asking at this point, what about failure?  Yes, failure, with the mindset of failing forward or F.A.I.L. (as in the First Attempt In Learning) is a critical component of the learning process, and when we fail, we can reflect on how to create a more effective process in order for our product to be of higher quality.  In short, if the process isn’t the best, then the product likely won’t be either.

All that said, Nigel Coutts, an Australian researcher and Dean of Teaching & Learning, has posted frequently about process and product.  In the post Process vs Product in Maker-centered Learning, he writes, “By valuing the process and not the product in maker-centered learning we can celebrate our student’s success and point them towards their next achievement even when the final product doesn’t meet expectations.”  Which is to say that documenting and reflecting upon our process as a learner allows us to iterate, this becoming more resilient and more likely to improve processes for improved product.  Specifically in this post, Coutts references the following resources that are well worth further exploring:

  • Personal Passion Projects are a projects “that connects their passion with all they have learned about managing inquiry/design based projects.”  Be sure to check out the thirteen insights Coutts discovers from his research on these types of projects.  “Prepare to be amazed!”
  • “‘Design Thinking might just be the next ‘new’ old thing in education. In her recent address to the National Press Club, Catherine Livingstone of The Business Council of Australia included ‘Design Thinking’ amongst the critical STEM skills required for Australia’s future.”  Check out this post to see what Coutts means by Design Thinking.
  • Tinkering gives learners “opportunities to explore devices from the past [which] open our eyes and lead us to new questions of how our devices function, how machines do the jobs we need them to do and how engineers solve problems.” This is the essence of tinkering Coutts details in his post.
  • These Habit Cards allow an individual to reflect upon which of these sixteen habits might be best given the context of the situation.
  • Larry Cuban’s take on Personalized Learning has changed over the years.  This EdWeek blog mentions Cuban’s skepticism particularly as personalized learning relates to technology and shares the beginning of Cuban’s new thinking: A Continuum of Personalized Learning.  Check out both posts!

Of all the above resources noted, the Habit Cards broadened my perspective of the malleability we need as learners, educators, leaders, parents – human beings.  Reflect on these sixteen habits (Coutts, 2014) , and I guarantee, upon reflection, you will find a time in your life when you either used one to navigate successfully a situation OR wished you would have used one to work through a situation. Yes?



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