Sunday, February 2, 2014

Different types of learning

As I've been reading on in George Siemens Knowing Knowledge, I've come to a section about 4 different types of learning:

  • Transmission - the traditional way of learning where you receive content, often through courses and lectures.  This is a good way to transmit structured knowledge and to build knowledge about a discipline.  The problem with this model is that in a traditional classroom it is expensive to implement (one teacher to twenty students) and also does not address how most learning happens (social, two-way, ongoing).
  • Emergence - creating knowledge through high level cognition can be very effective for deep learning and can lead to innovation.  This model is also hard to scale as it requires critical thinking in each learner.
  • Acquisition - inquiry based exploration where the learner is in control of deciding what s/he needs to know based around personal interests.  While this type of learning lacks structure and can appear too loose, the learners are very self-directed and learn from many diverse sources.
  • Accretion - the learner finds knowledge when and where it is needed as part of the constant activity of life.  Often this learning might come from a conversation or from a workshop or reading an article.  We also learn from reflecting on both failed and successful projects.
I'm thinking about the match (or mis-match) between learning that happens in schools and the type of learning that most people want.  For myself I would say that at the moment I'm very much in the accretion stage, whereas I think students are much more subjected to transmission and some acquisition.

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