In summary…

It’s the end of month one. What have I learned?

Those who defend surface/ rote-learning tend to argue that this knowledge provides the scaffolding necessary to demonstrate the higher levels of learning. The issue with this argument is that it presupposes that someone will want or need to do so. In adult life I have never wanted to label a plant. I have never needed to do so. Therefore that knowledge has been lost in time, like tears in rain.

It could have been different. I could have become a biologist, and potentially I would have lauded the process which provided me with the necessary grounding in what bits are next to other bits. However, I’m not so sure. As I hope I’ve argued facts aren’t stable, they change as interpretations change. Even if I have perfect recall – which I don’t – if I wasn’t continuing to interrogate what it is that (I think) I know that knowlege would become irrelevant. As an example, I once went to the doctor for an injection. They didn’t know what the side-effects were so they looked it up. At first I was a a little disappointed (don’t you kow this?) but then I realised that I wasn’t visiting the doctor for an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine. I was visiting them to get the benefit of a judgement informed by years of specialised training and experience.

Learning can be frustrating, hard and befuddling (as well as fun and illuminating) but if I want to learn, and feel that it is in my professional and personal interest to do so, I think I can. Therefore, designing learning which emphasis deep learning qualities such as context, experience and mearning has the greater chance of inspiring and/or sustaining someone’s motivation to learn, which – to my mind – is the principal aim of education.

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