The learning process

Of all the subjects they teach in school, the learning process isn’t one of them…

Let that sink in for a second, knowing how much time you spent in school as a child. The assumption was made long ago, throw information as people and they learn. I put much of my pedal stroke program on YouTube, and yet I teach classes which aren’t free – how does that work? It’s simple, YouTube also ignores the learning process. There are three steps to the learning process which are outlined here: YouTube is at best the cognitive stage. In most cases what is needed for success of the associative stage is critical review – another view of what you are doing that doesn’t make the assumption that what you are doing is correct.

I blame social media for the demise of critical review. I know it wasn’t very popular before, but now it’s just about unacceptable behavior. Example: FaceBook has a thumbs-up but no thumbs-down. You can only make positive comments about what others post. Posting critical comments isn’t accepted – try it some time… If there is no critical review of anything you do, you jump to the conclusion that everything you’re doing is right. This is the basis for the Dunning-Kruger theory which states that those with the lowest skill levels greatly overestimate their own skill levels.

Getting back to the learning process and YouTube, there’s nothing wrong with YouTube being the cognitive stage of the process, but the associative stage must have a number of points where you stop and ask “Am I doing this right?”. One of Dunning and Kruger’s conclusions was that some level of the skill is required to assess your own skill level. In other words, if you’re trying to learn a subject that you know nothing about, get a teacher!!!

This still begs the question – why isn’t the learning process something they teach early on in school? The simple answer is they don’t understand it, which says something about the competence of our education system. I found this out first hand, my lack of sequential memory means I don’t learn the same way as others – just throwing information at me doesn’t work. I spent 8 years in grade school with it not working, none of my teachers noticed. Remember the part where you stop and ask “Am I doing this right”? That doesn’t happen enough…