How do people learn? An important question, and a reminder that “teaching” and “learning” are only loosely connected.
The article below summarizes some of the most recent discoveries about how people learn: http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2013/01/how-people-learn/
Here’s what we’ve found at Acton Academy:
1. Deep learning requires context. This means having a clear visual “journey map” and milestones ON THE WALL that our Eagles can track. (“You are here; Here’s where we have been; Here’s where we are going and WHY it matters”); plus a diagnostic Framework (“Below are some questions you can ask to decide what to do next.”)
2. Every launch must put students “in the shoes of a protagonist” facing a decision that will matter in their lives, and somehow will shape their identity and determine their destiny. Otherwise, who cares?
3. Our primary job is to set the rules and incentives so as to shape the learning environment. Then let the students learn through “learning to do.” Experiential learning is best; Socratic discussion next best. Experts/lectures are allowed, but Eagles can access this information on their own.
If we deliver:
1. End goals that add richness to our Eagle’s Hero’s Journeys;
2. Maps and milestones.
3. Frameworks; and
4. Enticing rules and incentives;
then great learning happens.
Here’s a photo of this morning’s launch. Below an example of a Mind Map for the upcoming Apprenticeships – Eagles learning to create their own visuals.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to equip students to create learning journeys, frameworks and incentive systems for themselves and others, so the “learning to learn” becomes a deeply imbedded habit, and one that spreads exponentially.