Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ The myth of the quick learner

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This one has me all over the map. Generally I don't consider The Hechinger Report a reliable source of scientific information. But the argument here, that there are not 'quick learners' and 'slow learners',is to me intuitively plausible. I have always resisted, for example, suggestions to me that 'you learn so much faster than others'. But the paper itself, by Kenneth R. Koedinger et al., comes from Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, and this field often equates 'learning' as 'remembering' with a focus on instructivist methodology. Are they just saying people memorize at the same rate? Well, no. The paper offers a broad-based study of learners working in a more or less "favorable conditions" with a good practice-based approach (noting, accurately, that "even historic geniuses needed years of practice to develop their expertise." They conclude that the difference between students isn't in learning rate, but in starting point. "Whereas initial knowledge varies substantially across students, we found learning rate to be astonishingly similar across students." Also in Mind/Shift.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 18, 2024 6:34 p.m.

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