Category Archives: Learning at University

Real Learning versus Traditional Learning

When considering the modern methods of teaching delivery in a corporate environment or even a tertiary institution like a university, it works on a simple premise: The All Knowing Lecturer / Teacher will impart his or her infinite wisdom on the dumb masses to absorb and regurgitate in a manner pleasing to the All Knowing One (AKO). Once the AKO has finished his or her diatribe, the mere mortals can ask questions. Some times you get a Wise AKO, who allows you to ask questions as they go along. Sadly, this anecdotal is really what happens. Some time you even get a PowerPoint presentation (or if they are really up to date; a Keynote one).

Interesting enough, David A. Kolb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_A._Kolb), developed an experintial learning cycle which follows this process:
* You have a Concrete Experience
* You observe and Reflect on that experience
* As a result, you Form Abstract Concepts
* You then Test these concepts. by having another Concrete Experience

In a lecture-type environment, does a learner truly have concrete experience? Generally, the learner has to form the abstract concepts on his or her own. The effectiveness of this methodology can really be questioned. This is because the learner has to form a question out of the information thrown at them. This is the attempt at Reflection. The concepts are never tested by the learner. Therefore, you can argue that the learner does not truly learn anything.

In order to encourage learning, the questions should precede the content. By doing this, one begins where the learner is in the learning process. It also gives the learner an understanding of where to put the content.

Real Learning starts with the Question not with the Answer.