Learning as a process

“…learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of outcomes… learning is relearning” (Kolb & Kolb, 2005; p. 194).

This quote caught my attention because as a person who has participated in research in the field of “learning & memory”, I’ve often pondered the difference between, and value of, the two separate terms. I had myself already concluded that is useful to think of learning as the process of forming memories; memory in turn is thus the outcome of learning. I had not previously thought of learning as ‘relearning’ but on reflection I do appreciate the idea that the manipulation and modification of thought processes and memories is indeed an important component of what I would call “learning”.

As a result of reading and reflecting on this quote, I realized that to achieve my goal of improving students’ cognitive skills I need to encourage students to not only learn the material presented, but to continue to “relearn” it – that is, to manipulate what they’ve learned and continue to reevaluate and reassess it each time they gain an additional piece of relevant information. The ‘relevant’ part of that assertion means that I will also have to guide students and continually reassess their understanding to ensure that they are tying information together in appropriate ways, and not trying to tie unrelated information together.

Stopping to consider “relearning” as a key component of learning was a defining moment for me here, as it means I can not simply assume that once a topic is done in class that it can/should not be revisited. It focused my attention on the idea that revisiting previously-presented course material in light of newly-added information could be a valuable addition to my course schedule.

As a result of considering this quote, and the ‘relearning’ concept in particular, I plan to try to include time in each of my classes to tie in each day’s lessons with previous ones. I already knew that review would be helpful, but now have a better idea of how to include that “reviewing” while tying everything to a larger context. Since putting information into a broader context also gives students multiple cues to recover information, I hope this will help with memory for the information presented as well as enhancing my students’ abilities to manipulate that information.

References

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(2), 193-212.

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