The didactic haiku manifesto

It is not necessary to say that we are in the crossroads between the old socratic methods of medical education and the complete adoption of new philosophies such as collaborative learning (social media) or learner delivery co-design (flipped classroom). All these approaches are based on the fact that our learners and some of the teachers have a very millennial learning style, defined by the ability of interact with multiple technologies and platforms, a knowledge experience based on the individual but distributed among multiple interest communities, expression and synthesis of information using multiple sources and the imperative of co-create and drive their own learning process

Discussion exists and grows about the tools delivering the education, however, not a lot of attention has been brought to the single most basic brick of knowledge, in the case didactic knowledge where all this new tools and philosophies should rest. I doubt we can create a congruent didactic delivery and evaluative system if we don’t work a bit more on the units of teaching basic to the system; as we can talk about proteins if we don’t say something in some point about DNA.

This is a manifesto or a declaration of what I think the basic unit of didactic should be; the Haiku didactic unit.

Here, I’m borrowing from the Japanese literary tradition and using the metaphor of the Haiku as the basic unit of knowledge. The Haiku is a brief, high impact, rich content and strictly written poem; in the same way as our units of delivery should be. Characteristics of of didactic Haiku:

  • Brief. Multiple papers have pointed out that attention span and retention follows quite fast after the 10–15 minutes mark. We should aim to make the unit as long as that time, as it will probably increase engagement and retention.
  • Complexity. Certainly there are some concepts to complex to deliver within 10 minutes or using one unit, however in order to deliver those contents, the approach should to integrate several units instead of creating a large unit, keeping the concepts discrete, but at the same time connected.
  • Complex interconnection. Following the idea before about integration, the different unit of knowledge should integrate in a complex adaptive system approach, increasing the richness and depth of the knowledge to be deliver. It appears as an anathema to keep using linear associations of concepts.
  • Tailored. The learner should be able to “choose their own adventure” accessing and organizing the content that is presented to him, however, we do have the technology to predict his/her adventure and to suggest from the pattern of behavior of the user, user-like and from the communities it belongs.
  • Reviewed and affecting scholarship. It will be difficult to engage content unit creators unless we provide incentives for the creation of this units, among them we should probably start using a post-publicationpeer/crowd-review process facilitating publishing and also start to consider this electronic scholarly work as acceptable for faculty promotion.