Incorporating the Concept of Optimization in Education: Considerations for Implementation

By Huy P. Phan.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 20, 2015 $US5.00

Researchers have recently introduced the concept of optimization as a focus for inquiry. This theoretical orientation, we contend, is of significance for its potentials to explain and enhance an individual’s optimal best (i.e., what is an individual’s fullest capacity in a subject matter?) from his/her realistic best (i.e., what an individual capable of, at present). At the same time, however, optimization is notable for its non-deficit, positive characteristics. Schooling, in its entirety, encompasses a number of non-academic and achievement-related attributes for consideration. It is important, in this analysis, that individuals report enriched learning and schooling experiences. Optimization is integral to our understanding of motivation and human behavior. Why do some individuals strive to achieve optimal outcomes, whereas others may feel more inclined and satisfied with mediocracy? How does an individual transition from his/her realistic best to optimal best? What is optimal best within the context of academic learning? These questions, in totality, emphasize the saliency of the process of optimization. This article, in essence, makes a major contribution by expanding on the recent established work of optimization. In particular, given its evolutionary nature at present, we chose to explore in-depth the importance of optimization from a theoretical, explanatory perspective – for example: what constitutes the process of optimization, and the development of educational-social programs that could enhance the process of optimization. This examination of optimization involves, in particular, a detailed explanation of the notion of optimal best. Overall, educationally, we strongly believe that there is credence to support the inclusion of this concept in the schooling and learning processes.

Keywords: Optimization, Realistic Best, Optimal Best, Student Well-being

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp.35-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 20, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 551.794KB)).

Assoc. Prof. Huy P. Phan

Associate Professor in Education, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia