|07-13-2011, 09:36 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2009
An idea that really "upset my egg cart" so to speak...AWESOME STUFF :D...
I'll post a link to the article here if anybody wants to read it:
(it's a pretty long article--about 12 pages pdf)
The basic idea behind it (this is something that I read for one of my teaching courses yesterday) is the concept and the difference between Instrumental Learning versus Relational Learning. (now, the article itself relates it to teaching math...but I believe this concept can be applied to anything, really)
Instrumental Learning: This is a process by which you learn and know HOW to do something (i.e. like how to balance an equation, how to make a cup of coffee, how to build a deck, how to make an afghan, etc.). Anything that is process oriented, that is basically step-by-step process that you memorize or learn.
Relational Learning: This, on the other hand, is the way in which you know WHY you do something (i.e. like why do you balance an equation, why you put certain ingredients in a cake, why you use certain elements to build a deck, etc.).
And the major idea behind it is that instrumental learning causes you to rely solely on the process. Like, if you know, specifically, how to build a deck, then you might ONLY know how to build that deck but perhaps couldn't use that knowledge to build a house.
On the other hand, relational learning is like a framework that allows you to generate your own ideas and your own processes. For example, you might know the inner workings of your saw, how to drive nails and screws at certain angles, how to cut wood and to square things off. With those processes, you could build either a deck or a house, because you weren't taught to do just ONE process, but, rather, concepts that allow you to use your knowledge in many different ways (that you can generate on your own).
I thought this was a very interesting concept and I thought I would pitch it to the forums here for peeps to consider. I know it really showed me how instrumental my knowledge can be, and how all my study habits and learning habits, are all geared to knowing how to produce an instrumental understandings in order to pass them. However, if I spent some upfront time rewiring how I learn, to see things from a relational standpoint, I might not need to spend NEARLY as much time learning material. I could produce it on my own without needing to use all the little study hacks and such that I have learned through the years to give the illusion of learning without the knowledge base behind it.
Does that make sense to you? (If not, I might explain it a different way.)
I think this might be a very powerful thing to grasp, because I think it hold inherently a different mindset towards being more effective. The upfront "work" might be harder to shift out of instrumental learning to relational learning, but it's impacts run much deeper and more profound because you become a self-generated thinker (rather than relying on others to teach you each and every little process along the way).
In that sense, I think this can relate to personal development in the sense of those of you who keep seeking out personal development materials and read thousands of books or listen to hundreds of podcasts, or feel you need a workshop for each little area of your life. If, instead, you mastered a few internal concepts (such as identity, purpose, etc.), you might find that you could generate your own ideas for your own situations without needing as much advice and guidance for others.
|07-14-2011, 01:06 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2009
I don't have the time to read everything now, but from your explanation it is indeed a very interesting concept, and something which I have come to realise myself as well.
When I studied Mathematics most of my learning was instrumental, that was, take one formula and apply to everything. Relational learning would often pop up only after many equations and the reason for using a certain formula would just 'dawn' on me.
Now that I study things like anatomy I realise it's more form and function rather than just any of them alone. Understanding how something works instantly brings to mind its shape and relationship to other parts.
|07-14-2011, 02:19 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Relational Learning reminds me of on the job training. Instead of being sent somewhere that shows you all the possible things you have to do on the job, you get exposed to the job itself and figure out what needs to be done. You see why the tasks have to be done to figure out and learn the tasks.
It also reminds me about learning programming. I couldn't see writting a foreach loop just to know how to do that, I needed to know why I was writing a foreach loop, the reason it solved a problem was how to learn programming. Or more basically said, it was easier to write code when there was a real reason to make a program. Other wise it was pointless to write any code. It wouldn't produce anything meaningful.
|07-14-2011, 03:24 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2011
I love this! It's something I experientially know in my own learning, and have found an issue when tutoring (math, especially, I think math is an absolutely fantastic example to show this concept. Thinking about it, that's actually one of the main things I love about math.), but I've never heard it put concretely before.
|07-14-2011, 03:59 AM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
It'd be interesting to see this applied to English spelling and grammar. In my experience, there are a decent number of people who advise looking up words you don't know, but very few of them actually take the next step and look up the etymology and history. I find it fun, so I do it.
I mean... I know why the plural of "man" is "men" and not "mans"... but most people just memorize the irregularity and keep going. And even if you knew, you'd still have to know which words the rule applied to, so it's not very useful.
|07-14-2011, 05:57 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2010
Relational learning is how I was able to sleep through most of my high school math classes while still acing the tests.
I would sleep until a certain point in the lecture, when I knew the whole thing would be up there, then look up and figure out what the day's lesson is, instantly and relationally. I'd do a few problems, then go back to sleep, satisfied. Occasionally the teacher would call on me to do a problem, I'd just get up, sleepy-eyed, do the problem, then go back to my nap.
When all your math lessons build on one another, forgetting a piece of the curriculum almost never happened.
As it stands now, I couldn't learn anything instrumentally if I tried. My brain won't accept it as "learning."
|07-16-2011, 06:07 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Relational learning is how I mostly learn. I put things together via the basic tools I have, especially with maths. Though it does require me to be focused and actively thinking, which can be affected by emotions and my environment. I've experienced this for awhile in high school during senior year and freshman year in college where depression really hurt my ability to think and concentrate.
Putting things together in my head is my specialty.
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