Monday, December 1, 2008

Information Theory of Learning, Part 2

In the preceding blogpost, I claim that constructivism is a theory of learning. So…?

This means that the theory of behaviorism — the lodestar of schooling — is wrong.

We do not learn in response to the application of rewards and punishments. We adapt our behavior to get the rewards and avoid the punishments. We comply, not learn. So, grades, high stakes tests, and monetary reward for appropriate behavior do not promote learning — other than learning how to be “good students.”

We do not learn by accumulating ordered chunks of information in a linear sequence. Our knowledge expands simultaneously in multiple dimensions as our brain circuitry rewires.

We do not learn by memorizing. We need to work with new information — apply it; reflect on it; change it — in order to fasten it securely to existing knowledge.

If school were about learning, how would we do it?

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