vrijdag 1 maart 2013

learning and education

The English language wikipedia defines education as:
Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, research, or simply through autodidacticism.

For this blog I would like to define Education as Learning in an organized setting. Examples of organized settings are schools, universities, courses, lectures, and so on. From both definitions it becomes clear that Learning is broader than education. Learning can also be from a presentation at work, from a discussion with a fellow worker, by watching a youtube video, by participating in a workshop, and so on.

In my own branch, IT, learning is life long. The same will go for most brain workers. Learning can be in acquiring a new trick (how can I record a macro in excel) from a youtube video, learning the difference between credit and debit in a discussion from a fellow worker, learning how to organize your mail inbox from a blogpost in an efficient and effective way, or learning through experimenting with several ways to interview a client. Other examples may be a workshop, brown paper session, meetup, co-work job.

In the current recession, I also notice an increased emphasis on formal training in IT, in the form of internationally recognized certifications. As I said, IT-workers have both formal and informal learning life long. So here is a collection of links to recent research on learning in both education and informal learning.

  1. John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan and Daniel T. Willingham did research in the way students could learn most effective from lecture and study books. They compared 10 ways which students often use to prepare for their exams. Of these 10 ways, practice testing and distributed practice received high utility assessments because they benefit learners of different ages and abilities and have been shown to boost students’ performance across many criterion tasks and even in educational contexts
  2. Kou Murayama, Reinhard Pekrun, Stephanie Lichtenfeld, Rudolf vom Hofe did research the influence of motivation and cognitive strategies. Unfortunately only the summary is still available online.
  3. In line with constructivism (see below), educators have come to focus more and more on the importance of lab-based experimentation, hands-on participation, student-led inquiry, and the use of "manipulables" in the classroom.
  4. This research shows that willpower is an important factor in attaining your learning goals long term.
Besides these 2 articles on recent research, there are 2 good articles on the English language wikipedia on Cognitivism (learning theory) and more important Constructivism (learning theory).

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