Published on 2012/02/17

Ensuring Learners Are Reaching The Top Of Their Learning Game

There is a process for learners to undergo before they master and can apply an essential, key concept:

Ensuring Learners Are Reaching The Top Of Their Learning Game
To reach the pinnacle of their learning potential, students must be guided past personal mountains. Photo by Barbara Miers.

  1. Initial Understanding (Plus > +)
  2. Memory Reactivation (Equals > =)
  3. Individual Fluency (Mastery)

When a learner reaches level 3, they are capable of knowledge transfer, successful application, behavior change and will have the individual adaptive reasoning skills to apply that information to new situations. This results in measurable advanced individual performance, consistent with strategic individual and organizational objectives, in the shortest individual time possible.

Via the above learning process, individuals overcome these short term and long term barriers to learning and learning transfer:

  • The problem of forgetting
  • Correct and appropriate understanding
  • Appropriate application
  • Behavior change; from unproductive behaviors, to productive behaviors
  • Individual  performance improvement, consistent with strategic individual and organization objectives

Why is learning (and more importantly effective and efficient learning) as defined in number 3 above, so important? Here are a few relevant quotes:

  • “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
  • “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” ~ Albert Einstein
  • “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” ~Peter Drucker
  • “Seven in ten adults (71%) think that learning can lead to a better quality of life.”  (Attitudes to Learning, Campaign for Learning/MORI, 1996)
  • “95% of people think that learning about new things boosts your confidence.” (National Adult Learning Survey, DfEE, 1998)
  • “We live and work in a changing world. New laws are introduced that lead to the introduction of new policies. New ideas and approaches emerge. New problems arise and new solutions are sought. The world of work is therefore a constantly moving and evolving one. What this means, then, is that, if we are not constantly learning as we go about our day-to-day business, then each day we are getting further and further out of touch with the demands of the modern working world.” Neil Thompson, Avenue Consulting Ltd

Our immediate and urgent focus needs to be concentrated directly and strongly on effective and efficient individual learning for these primary reasons:

At minimum, my goal is to share with you that our traditional, one-to-many teaching process is not efficient, nor effective, relative to individual learning and transfer. We have a collective priority to integrate research based, proven learning methodologies into all education, to better individual learning, consistent with item 3, above.

Do you agree that there is room for learning improvement? Or are you happy with the traditional one-to-many teaching approach? Please let me know your thoughts.

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Readers Comments

Jeffrey Yee 2012/02/17 at 10:58 am

Hi Thomas, I strongly agree with what your are saying. I’m currently reading “Disrupting Class” by Clayton Christensen which advocates the same general principle, that we need to tailor our teaching methods to the learning methods of each student. Thinking back on our personal experiences – we’ve all been there in a high school or college class where the subject matter was not sinking in and the feeling of helplessness when you cannot identify a way forward to learn the material that is being taught to you. This feeling is only furthered when you as a student are able to excel at some courses and not others. Hindsight being 20/20 I know now that it was the methods that caused my biggest challenges in school. I can’t help to think what would have happened if there were alternative methods of receiving this material, could that have improved my mastery of it and as a result academic performance and potentially opened up new doors?

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