Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Self-Pacing My Life Away

Today I was told by someone that they were going to participate in a "self-paced" study program.

After much self-paced soul searching, it occurred to me that this is a marketing gimmick that means absolutely nothing.

Let's look at the definition of pace. There are lost of definitions, so I'll just take a simple one. "To set or regulate the rate of speed for".

If you are in a self-paced program that means you can learn as fast as you want? Or as slow as you want? Is there something magical about that? You can regulate your own speed? Is there any time that you don't?

When my boss tells me something needs to be done at the end of the week does that mean I am no longer self-paced? The pace is out of my control? I don't think so. I'm still self-paced. I may get it done in 4 hours. I may get it done in 3 days. It depends on my pace so it's still self-paced. He just imposed a deadline (which I may or may not keep depending on my pace).

What does it mean to be in a self-paced study program? Does that mean you pay $100 and get to spend as much time as you want learning a 200 page text. You come back after 4 years and tell them you finally finished?

I took a self-paced driver's education course once. At the end of each section it would put this timer up and say, "You have to spend 10 more minutes on this section before you move on to the next." I assume it was self paced because I could start the next section whenever I wanted. However, the state had already told me I had to complete the course in the next 30 days so it wasn't self-paced at all. It was just marketing.

It you take a 6 month long study program that is self paced then it's not. You've got 6 months to learn as much as you can. They probably charge you an extra fee and you can read the book as fast as you want. If you don't finish at the end of 6 months then you are just out of luck. Is self-paced only for the people that can go fast. As in, "it's self-paced so you can learn as fast as you want!"

Where is the difference? When I was in school I read ahead. When the math teacher said, "this assignment has to be done by tomorrow", I would try and get it done before the end of class because I didn't want to take it home. I was self-paced and I didn' t like homework.

If anyone sells you something that is "self-paced" and you buy into it, then you are a moron and you are probably one of those people that expects the government to take care of you.

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