(This is part two of a thread, started by 21st Century Skills – Are they Neither? Though not necessary, you may want to ready that post first.)
A 2002 report by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, title Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College, finds that…
emphasis on “factual recall” is a barrier to success in college and that today’s college students, need to be “integrative thinkers who can see connections in seemingly disparate information and draw on a wide range of knowledge to make decisions.”
(I originally discovered this report in the EducationSector report, Measuring Skills for the 21st Century“, which is a recommended read.)
This conclusion would seem to weigh in on the long-running debate in education over whether it is more important to teach content or skills to our students. However, what is meant here is not that skills should be taught in place of content, but that the emphasis on content over skills is problematic, because it is the skillful use of information/content that is the necessary end point. In effect, we are stopping short of where we need to be going, stopping at content – the foundation of skill – and not moving effectively to the higher level of using the content to do things, solve problems, etc.