10 Facts About Learning That Are Scientifically Proven and Interesting for Teachers

Donald Clark, Plan B, May 09, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm always careful with the phrase 'scientifically proven' (because it never means what people think it means, and it's so often misused). And just so with these ten items. In the main, I don't disagree with them. In the details, I think each of the ten items is presented inaccurately. Indeed, if you analyze them, you'll see that they are internally inconsistent - if number 3 is true, for example, then number 8 is most certainly problematic, and probably false. So we end up with a view of learning which, while on the surface appears accurate, is in fact quite misleading and incorrect (at least, to my perspective). The thing is, what is known about learning is (a) small, uncertain, and fuzzy, and (b) not capable of being represented in a pithy ten-point list.
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