“The map is not the territory” is a line from Frogs Into Princes by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, which is one of the most influential books of the 1970’s as it relates to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and continues to be influential in learning. The phrase emphasizes that the reality we perceive is not the actual world we live in but a replication of it. One of the most astounding takeaways from this concept is every human has a pretty exact replication of the universe in their own mind. Billions of universes exist here on planet earth. The power of the mind is infinite, but it requires knowledge to be fed to it to grow. As a teacher, we try to upgrade each student’s paradigm with an enhanced map to better navigate reality. That is our main goal in teaching a curriculum to a class full of minds.
When teaching online, we lose the face-to-face interaction but gain many different technological tools that allow students to upgrade their reality. Online teaching and classroom teaching are very similar in their final objectives. From the head of the classroom or virtual room, a teacher must evaluate the student’s progression in an alphanumeric process. This process is the operational objective of the teacher to allow the student to progress from credits to a degree. The actual endgame however for each class a student takes is to upgrade their map of reality so that they can better navigate the territory. A teacher’s main objective is to provide the knowledge and skill sets to students so they can better navigate the world or more specifically their careers. How do we do this in a virtual classroom is through flexibility, allowing students to learn at their own pace. Every student has slightly different learning processes. Given the one-on-one time students have with their online teachers, they have the freedom to explore what works best from them, but the key is a sound evaluation of every assignment so the students may build upon each concept that is taught.
The actual operational construct of education can be filtered into a broad three-step process. First, a student’s objective is to complete assignments. Then, they must acquire the credits by completing a course; and finally, gather enough credits to earn a degree. But what happens in the mind is completely different. Each assignment builds on their map of reality. Each credit is added to this map of reality until the final point of graduation when the student applies the actual map to reality and bears the financial fruit of his/hers upgraded reality.
We, as educators, must ensure that students receive solid feedback so that they can build on their reality of the world. The feedback must specifically show the student what works in the assignment and what needs to improve and encourages students to think beyond the mere completion of the assignment but how they can apply this knowledge to their paradigm of the world..