We call the traditional, dominant paradigm the “Instruction Paradigm.” Under it, colleges have created complex structures to provide for the activity of teaching conceived primarily as delivering 50-minute lectures-the mission of a college is to deliver instruction.
Now, however, we are beginning to recognize that our dominant paradigm mistakes a means for an end. It takes the means or method-called “instruction” or “teaching”-and makes it the college’s end or purpose. To say that the purpose of colleges is to provide instruction is like saying that General Motors’ business is to operate assembly lines or that the purpose of medical care is to fill hospital beds. We now see that our mission is not instruction but rather that of producing learning with every student by whatever means work best.