Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yesterday, I talked with a friend who also has an engineering background but just entered a PhD program of education. I would like to write down his unique understanding of education, which might give me some idea to improve the essay. His philosophy is that educational research involves looking into the details in the learning process from every angle of view, which is very different from engineering research. Engineering research involves the input of knowledge and the output of a new design.

He gives a very funny example to illustrate the difference between education and engineering. When cereal is added into milk, educational research concerns how cereal feels when it is added into milk, how milk feels when it is mixed with cereal, how cereal and milk can be well mixed together, what is the reason for mixing, what result turn to be after the mixing, what if using other brands of cereal, etc. These questions imply the questions discussed in the class: who, why, and how. Educational researchers concern about the every details from every perspective during the process. There are no correct answers for these questions. Engineering research concerns in a total different way. What engineers care about is only what has been created after cereal is added into milk. They believe that if all the parameters are consistent, they can reproduce the results.


Robin said...

This was a fun analogy - i wonder how it relates to your reading of Bucciarelli and others this week :)