Thursday, January 05, 2006
Kathy Sierra, over at Creating Passionate Users, has posted a summary of her take on learning theory. It's a series of descriptive, prescriptive, and axiomatic statements about learning/teaching. For anyone concerned about what it means to learn and hence how to teach effectively (and I would argue that is, or should be, all of us!), it's a valuable read. Here's a direct link to the article.
The article reminded me of several great teachers I've had, but also gave me a way to say why some really horrible teachers failed. For example, they didn't use any visuals (lecturing only), didn't use conversational language (again, only lecturing), didn't vary or utilize emotions (here too, deadpan lecturing).
A central point here is the importance of the learner participating in the learning process, participating by finding personal relevance, by translating ideas and information into familiar terms and life experiences. In other words, learning is a co-created experience. It's effective when the learner (not exclusively the "teacher") makes it so. But as such, creating a context where this can happen is perhaps a teacher's primary responsibility. Simply lecturing doesn't cut it.
Oh, and this isn't just something that applies to classroom teaching/learning. It's a daily event in our lives. Co-creating, engaging the world with our individual human characters, and becoming more fully human through that interaction.