An interesting paper about Adult Learning by Richard E. Clark, Center for Cognitive Technology, Rossier School of Education, USC caught my eye … when talking about instructional technologies. He quotes Mayer (2005), who cautions
that over a half-century of research has indicated that asking novice students to engage in discovery learning, alone or in collaborative teams, is not an effective way to teach. The evidence on this issue is unequivocal – unguided or minimally guided discovery and constructivist learning programs simply do not work for more than a very small percentage of advanced students and subject matter experts. Mayer points out that many adult learning theories suggest that most students construct what they learn by drawing on their own prior experience to understand new knowledge. While there is widespread agreement with this description of learning, it does not follow that the best way to teach is to ask students to struggle with problems and discover or construct a method for solving them.
When I think about this, I wonder if its not the method, but the environment. I learn everything this way – and connectivism makes it a highly effective way to learn. To try an assess how they learn, who from, where and when – cannot be added to an academic transcript as it’s not ‘teaching’ per se. These things trouble me greatly – as I’m seeing the world almost the inverse to Mr Mayer. We can’t both be right – as learning seems and endless struggle and demands new methods constantly.
There seems no stopping point, which is why I might just become the greatest sword fighter in all the world one day, but I just won’t get a certificate.