My Ideal Learning Situation
I am a hands on learner. I have always performed best with projects. A quick look at my transcripts shows higher marks in art courses or those that used hands on learning. I have had a internal motivation to make things since I chewed my toasts into cars and ran them around the tray of my highchair. I also like learning at a fast pace.
But this is not always the kind of learning I need, so I have learned to adapt.
My school performance was not always brilliant. My ideas would race ahead of the other students and I would be bored. Then tune out. Then daydream. Then get in trouble.
High school was easy, I never brought a book home! I scored great on the ACT! Then I flunked out of college. Why? I never learned how to study. Study takes a plan, dedication and focus. I had relied on other skills and was able to succeed in enough areas to make it by, but never reached my potential.
Then I made a new girlfriend. She was a Chinese college student in Beijing. She asked if I wanted to go to her house to study on the weekend. I said “sure!”, thinking it would be a make-out session.
8 am we walked over to the neighboring university, found an empty classroom and sat down to study. At noon we ate a lunch we packed. At 2 we laid our head on the table to nap for a half hour. At 5 we finished studying and walked home. Wow, so that is how to study! Sit in one place and focus on your coursework for a whole day, without kissing your boyfriend! Amazing!
Later I learned to overcome my poor study habits to succeed. I had become a self-regulated learner.
Now that I am learning about metacognition, I can leverage the art and science of learning to unlock great potential. I got a great overview of the contemporary research and possibilities of metacognition here at the lectica website, and a simple overview of how to apply it here at the Carleton website.
Wanting to apply more science I researched what my preferred learning style is. I started at Edutopia by completing a 20 question survey. Here are the results:
Well, this didn’t really answer my question except that I am not a Bodily-Kinesthetic learner. Perhaps it shows that I have adapted and am comfortable with several learning styles, since the deviation between the 7 remaining styles is less than 15%.
Brainbox’s survey of learning styles was also inconclusive because of the user interface. Although it simplifies the choice between Auditory, visual and tactile learners, the results of the question are instantly given in colored bars and there is no summation of the answers.
I was disappointed to find the Discovery Channels promise to help me discover what type of learner I am was also poorly designed. Instead of providing an evaluative quiz, it was a test of knowledge:
Finally I discovered that I am a visual learner! Education Planner is a quality site gave a 20 question quiz and returned an accurate answer that included how to learn better. Here are the results from the printer friendly version:
And here is the advice I was given to learn better:
Sit near the front of the classroom. (It won’t mean you’re the teacher’s pet!)
Have your eyesight checked on a regular basis.
Use flashcards to learn new words.
Try to visualize things that you hear or things that are read to you.
Write down key words, ideas, or instructions.
Draw pictures to help explain new concepts and then explain the pictures.
Color code things.
Avoid distractions during study times
With all this self-knowledge I think I am finally prepared for the most important quiz of all- What kind of Dungeons and Dragons character would I be?
So, to finally answer the question, what would my ideal course be like? It would have to be engaging and make something that can be shared with an audience. It would be exploratory into new knowledge areas for myself. I could prove the learning by creating a product that applies the principles, skills and knowledge of the course. Kind of like this blog. Although I have learned to not be prejudice to technology, I do prefer blended learning- classroom for the social aspects mixed with asynchronous learning for self-paced.