February 20, 2014
GRADUATE EDUCATION – An Idealized Design
Russell L. Ackoff notes 3/3/2006
Education, as previously noted, involves subjects and practices. A subject is a body of information, knowledge and/or understanding that can be learned by reading and listening to relevant material and, in some cases, by engaging in exercises. Examples of subjects are history, literature, logic, mathematics, and economics. Practices, on the other hand, are activities that can only be leaned by engaging in them. Such learning can be significantly supplemented and consolidated by reading and listening. Examples are the practices of medicine, law, and architecture.
The importance of the distinction between subjects and practices becomes apparent when we take the position that graduate education should be exclusively directed at practices, even the practice of teaching or conducting research on subjects. It is this characteristic of graduate education, as we see it that dictates many of the properties it ought to have. It is also this characteristic that differentiates it from undergraduate education.
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