Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Learning Model

2) Learning is a process.

I would like to explain the ideal learning model. It is actually very simple. A student is asked a simple question. If the student cannot answer, the question is explained, and the student is exptected to answer the same question in a short period of time. If the student can answer, then the question is considered to be understood, and will be asked again over a longer period of time. It is very important to note that the question should be simple. It should not take more than a few seconds for the student to know whether or not they can explain it. The idea is that a student is actively involved in the question at hand, and is always being challenged to understand a concept.

In contrast, a college lecture usually does not use this method. While this somewhat usually exists in math classes, with lots of small questions being asked, it does not exist within the realm of reading, science, and many other courses. Typically, when a new idea is presented, the entirety of the concept is presented without the students being able to fully understand the details which make it up.

A couple examples would include:

An hour long lecture on history - The typical student becomes overwhelmed, the mind stops paying attention, and the student is left with only a few fragments of what was covered.

A physics lecture - I have seen far too often that the professor overwhelms the student with math without actually presenting the smaller pieces. The end result is that students with a background physics may be able to understand the material, but those without it leave the lecture with nothing but confusion and frusteration.

I would like to propose that a student should be presented with all of the needed vocabulary and concepts, in an easy to digest form, before being introduced to the bigger picture.

Also, in regards to this method, questions should be quick, and as I stated before, with as few words as possible. This sets up the basic building blocks to paint a bigger picture. By presenting quick, small questions, lots of small nodes are build in the brain to help make connections.

Ironically, I am proposing many lecture based classes to be taught more like math.

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