6 Powerful TED Talks to Inspire Instructional Designers

Linnaea Marvell
Posted: November 11, 2016

If we want to be truly great educators, then every once in awhile we should step off the cliff, abandon our favored assumptions, suspend our ideas about what we already know, put ourselves in the shoes of our students, and go learn about what’s new in our craft.

TED (Technology, Education, Design) talks are an offshoot of a global set of conferences run by the private, nonprofit organization Sapling Foundation; it uses the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Founded in 1984, the annual conferences began in 1990. It has broadened its focus over the years to include talks on many other topics.

These talks inspire, astonish, and shake the foundations of many cherished ideas about learning. They might even have you asking yourself an evocative question or two.

What would it look like if we trusted the learner’s ability to learn? Watch these TED talks from people exploring this question.

Shimon Schocken: The self-organizing computer course

Favorite Quote:

“Educators don’t necessarily have to teach. Instead, they can provide an environment and resources that tease out your natural ability to learn on your own. Self-study, self-exploration, self-empowerment these are the virtues of a great education.”

Sal Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education

Favorite Quote:

“They preferred the videos … [to the live person] because now they could pause and repeat.”

Six powerful TED Talks to astonish, inspire, and shape your instructional design mindset! Click through to get inspired!

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education

Favorite Quote:

“I set myself an impossible target.  Can Tamil-speaking 12-year-old children in a South Indian village teach themselves biotechnology, in English, on their own?”

Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain

Favorite Quote:

“Games are perfectly tuned to dole out rewards that engage the brain and keep us questing for more.”

Michael Stevens: How much does a video weigh?

Favorite Quote:

Six powerful TED Talks to astonish, inspire, and shape your instructional design mindset! Click through to get inspired!

Diana Laufenburg: Think Dig Deeper Discuss

Favorite Quote:

“What do you do when the information is all around you and they no longer have to go to school to get the information?”

A final note: Some of these talks are about educating children. When it comes to learning, children are just smaller people. Such concepts as the capacity for self-learning, the value of failure, the benefit of encouragement rather than criticism, the recognition that learning pace is not a constant, and the value of talking while learning, apply equally to adults. Give one of these inspiring possibilities a try; you might be pleasantly surprised.

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About the Author

Linnaea Marvell has been developing and leading instructional design projects for more than thirty years. She is particularly passionate about instruction that works!