Saturday, March 24, 2012

Learning is one dimensional

Not all of it. But I have encountered a problem and its made me think of learning in a new way. I wanted to use Moodle to asses student learning styles, this would involve asking the questions from a test bank, and then rating their answers along a number of different dimensions of learning preference.
I have not solved this problem.  We normally assign students to a point along a one dimensional continuum which runs from didn't understand a thing I taught them in class to has complete understanding of everything covered.
Our aspiration as teachers is to move student along that scale, with the hope that they will end up at the I know everything end of it.
We are neglecting the possibility that their learning is moving in several different dimensions at once.  They may be failing my maths course, but becoming more reflective and capable persons through knowing their limitations.
They may be learning a lot about the interpretation of data and the application of geometry, but failing to pick up on the abstractions of algebra.
In most subjects, if I think about it, I can find several different strands or dimensions of learning, but we insist that at all times is all part of one bag which we judge solely by how full it is.

Maybe its time to make our subjects more multidimensional.

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