Hole in the wall

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Hole in the wall is a popular name for an experiment in Minimally invasive education (MIE) by Sugata Mitra (1999). In the experiment, it was shown that access to a computer makes it possible for children to self-educate. Basic learning skills based on the learn drive can be seen in poor villages with no availability of assistance from literate adults.

Critics of the program use low completion rate for MOOCs as a proof that autonomy does not always work. This is wrong for two reasons:

  • completion is a concept taken from schooling, while free learning is naturally chaotic, multi-threaded, and incremental. In simple terms, a child looks for a match between her knowledge and the input, and rejects pieces that do not match
  • MOOCs are designed for adults whose learn drive might be suspect due to prior schooling

Other than that, criticism of Sugata Mitra is based on the same mythology that affects free learning in general: the need for a teacher, the need for scaffolding, the need for a curriculum, etc. I addressed the problem metaphorically in Knowledge crystallization.

See also:

This glossary entry is used to explain "I would never send my kids to school" (2017-2024) by Piotr Wozniak