TED Talk: Pursuit of the Perfect Spaghetti Sauce

This is an older TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell just before his book Blink dropped. He tells the story about how the food industry figured out that there is not a single perfect product that meets everyone’s needs. Instead there are a number of different clusters that meets the majority of wants.

We find this in the Learning Management System world where there is no perfect product for every student, teacher, department head, dean, or administrator. Maybe just maybe the solution is many different approaches to tools for online learning that meet the needs. The LMS, the Personal Learning Environment, digital textbooks, publisher sites, synchronous communication tools, and anything else an instructor can successfully achieve students mastering course objects probably is good for students. This would suggest the rigor part of Laura Gekeler’s post on LMS Evaluations the most important. But not to arrive at a single LMS but to identify the clusters of needs and what tools best help meet their needs.

Even worse, people will self-report what they like as being what they think we want. So identifying their needs probably is not looking at what they say they need. Analytics probably tells a better story of what is effective.

The mind knows not what the tongue wants. — Dr. Howard Moskowitz

If the above video does not work, then try Pursuit of the Perfect Spaghetti Sauce

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

2 thoughts on “TED Talk: Pursuit of the Perfect Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Laura Gekeler

    I love analytics (when I can get them), I’m just not certain if past behavior is the best predictor of future need. I want to discover how the past tools were used, not only to inform clusters of tools/activities that a replacement feature or tool needs to provide, but often what we discover points more toward the need to bake in best practices to whatever product is then selected.

    It’s depressing to discover of all the cool ways an LMS could foster classroom engagement or build online community, the way the tool is mostly being used is to post grades and provide a syllabus…

    1. sneezypb Post author

      You are correct the landscape is always changing. In Moskowitz’s realm, food, people will skew their desires based on dozens of factors all in balance. What people want in an LMS today is not what they want in a month, a term, a year, a decade.

      The large point though was that even looking at now, there is not one thing which will make everyone happy.


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