Ken Bain: Deep Learning: Pursuing Questions that Are Important, Intriguing, or Just Beautiful
Ken Bain is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of the District of Columbia and a Professor of History and Urban Education.
He is an acclaimed educator who has lectured at over 300 universities and founded and directed four major teaching and learning centers.
In this PIL interview, we talked to Ken
latest book, What the Best College Students Do (Harvard University Press, 2012) and "reframing the very nature of education.
(Interview posted: October 10, 2012)
Almost a decade ago, Ken Bain
conducted a bushel of interviews in which he
inquired into what makes college teachers great.
The resulting book, What the Best College Teachers Do quickly became required reading for anyone who has ever set foot in a college classroom.
It also ended up rocking educational circles, winning numerous awards, and being translated into 12 languages.
At the time, Publishers'
Weekly wrote, "Bain's
sound and scholarly yet exuberant promotion of America's 'best college teachers' abounds with jaunty anecdotes and inspiring opinions that make student-centered instruction look not only infectious, but downright imperative."
Now, Ken Bain
latest book, What the Best College Students Do, he
conducted over 100 interviews with remarkable lifelong learners, such as Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
had them talk about how they put grades aside and used their college experience to nurture the intellectual curiosity that had always been a part of who they were.
As a result, they became deep learners and went on to lead purposeful lives.
We interviewed Ken
in October 2012.
We discussed some of Project Information Literacy's
(PIL) latest findings.
We also asked Ken
how educators can foster deep learning in college students today, especially when they are conducting research and finding answers for use throughout their lives.
: I think this phrase means that people learn deeply by learning to think about the experiences that they have, to compare them with other experiences, frame them in multiple ways, question them, ask what they mean and what implications they have.
: What matters most is learning deeply, thinking about implications and applications, and expanding the powers of one's mind.
: Messy problems are difficult for anyone.
: Yes, this is a major problem in higher education, but a predictable outcome, given the way we often treat "research" projects on the undergraduate level in particular.
: Reading is the way to explore other people's ideas, and through that exploration to make them your own.
No permission for use is required from PIL
to share this interview, though we ask that this source be cited as Project Information Literacy Smart Talk, no. 13, Ken Bain
, Deep Learning: Pursuing Questions that Are Important, Intriguing, or Just Beautiful.
Alison Head, the Executive Director and Lead Researcher at Project Information Literacy
conducted this Smart Talk interview with Ken Bain
over email, between August 28 and October 8, 2012. (A special thank you to Elizabeth Knoll, Executive Editor-at-Large at Harvard University Press
, for her help and support with this interview.)