A serious approach to learning.

We all learn differently

Education systems, corporate training and lifelong learning operate on the basis of a “one-size-fits-all” framework and learning programmes. In reality, this framework can:

  • Deny the value of individuality in learning
  • Inadequately nurture individual involvement
  • Insufficiently adapt to learner capabilities

It is useful to make somewhat of a distinction between the notion of learning. In fact, a complete learning process is composed of three phases: Assimilation, Consolidation, Application.

 

The learning process

Assimilation with adaptive and personalized learning

ASSIMILATION
OR HOW WE LEARN

The Assimilation phase is the proper action of discovering something new and subsequently integrating the concept into one’s knowledge base

There are many theories of how we learn, some introduce the learning styles, others insist on learner’s preference with some pedagogies, some others claim about an experimental approach, others more conceptual…

Agree or disagree? What is important to note is that these theories converge at one point: everyone has a preference and facility for some type of pedagogy or knowledge, and this one can differ from one person to another.

With people coming from all kind of backgrounds, the learning experience needs to be more adapted and personalized.

In any case, some important strategies to enhance learning outcomes are:

  • Use different learning pedagogies for each content,
  • Challenge learners with tests,
  • Provide useful and insightful feedback,
  • Adapt the learning path to the individual pace,
  • Settle objectives and goals matching the knowledge level and skills mastery.

Consolidation, memory and forgetting curve

CONSOLIDATION
OR HOW WE RETAIN

During consolidation, the knowledge and skills learned during the Assimilation phase are trained to be retained.

The psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus is considered as the father of the learning experimental psychology. He is known for his book In Memory of 1885 where the term “forgetting curve” has been introduced. In this publication, he presents an example of retention rates. He had learned himself nonsense syllables and only retained 21% of them after a month.

Since then, other studies have appeared on memory and forgetting, with complementary results. These studies were based on the retention of diverse and varied knowledge and have different retention results that vary between 11% and 98%.

Studies1, 2 and practice clearly show that it is easier to remember:

  • When content is structured,
  • Taking short, quick and fun tests,
  • Alternating different subjects,
  • Using a spaced repetition method.

(1) The intersection of subjects to remember ( The Effects of Interleaved Practice in 2010 by KELLI TAYLOR and DOUG ROHRER Department of Psychology , University of South Florida , USA),
(2) “Taking Memory Tests Improves Long – Term Retention ” by Henry L. Roediger , III, and Jeffrey D. Karpicke – Washington University in St. Louis – 2006

Measure the learning outcomes

APPLICATION
OR THE RESULT OF LEARNING

The final step is the Application phase, whereby the information, knowledge and skills acquired are applied to real, tangible cases. For instance, application may take the form of final tests or apply skills acquired during the training.

Application is an important step to learning. According to research by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger of the Center for Creative Leadership:

  • Approximately 70% of learning takes place from experiments on workstation, tasks and problem solving,
  • Approximately 20% of learning is based on feedback and interaction with others,
  • Approximately 10% of learning takes place from courses and reading.

Evaluation requires very specific criteria. It is a set of crucial steps (diagnostic evaluation, criterion-referenced assessment, formative evaluation, summative evaluation) that provide:

  • Insightful information about how a course is understood,
  • Powerful data to understand individuals’ learning.

As 70% of learning is actually derived from applying theory, testing practice, role playing, simulation exercises and evaluation are arguably some of the best ways to ensure better learning outcomes.

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