Sal Khan speaks on ‘Swiss Cheese Learning’ in schools at Governor’s Innovative Education Summit

Local News

For the fourth year in a row now, Gov. Doug Burgum hosted a summit on innovative education. This year’s difference, it was all online.

But even with the switch to digital, big names were still on hand. One of those was Sal Khan, founder of the online tutoring service Khan Academy. He talked about what he calls “swiss cheese learning” where some students might not understand a certain math problem, but the class continues on to finish the unit anyway. He compared it to contractors working on a house.

“You bring in the contractor and you say, ‘Alright, we have two weeks to build a foundation, do what you can.’ And over those two weeks, they do what they can, maybe it rains, maybe some of the supplies don’t show up. After two weeks you bring in the inspector. The inspector says well the concrete is still wet over there, that parts not quite up to code. Give it an 80 percent. And the reason why that happened is, you’re artificially constraining how long you have to build things or to work on things or in the education sphere to learn things, pretty much ensuring a viable outcome,” said Khan.

He went on to say that this problem may discourage students from learning because it creates a self-perspective that they can’t do something.

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