Course Documents
     Main Page
     Contact Information
     Course Announcement
     Schedule and Syllabus
     Course Participants
     Discussion Forum
     Swiki Chat Area
     Lecture Material
     Independent Research
     Previous Course
Swiki Features:
  View this Page
  Edit this Page
  Printer Friendly View
  Lock this Page
  References to this Page
  Uploads to this Page
  History of this Page
  Top of the Swiki
  Recent Changes
  Search the Swiki
  Help Guide
Related Links:
     Atlas Program
     Center for LifeLong Learning and Design
     Computer Science Department
     Institute of Cognitive Science
     College of Architecture and Planning
     University of Colorado at Boulder

Scott Zweig

Sarah Kim-Warren

Huda Khan

Questions 1-3

1.1. interesting about the article?

The ways in which learning is most effective was a common theme in a number of answers. As was the fact that it is hardly ever accomplished in today's classroom. In most schools the concern of producing good grades far outweighs the goal of understanding and proper learning. One students mentioned the concept of understanding versus memorization as intriguing. This confirms the idea that education rewards memory, not understanding. We have all been taught the "memorize-and-repeat" approach to learning, and as this article and the responses clearly indicate that it is not an effective strategy. Another student mentioned interest in the concept of metacognition, where students are taught to asses themselves and learn how to become better learners.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

Most of the students claimed to find the entire article interesting (I found that hard to believe), but a few mentioned examples that they did not like (ex. cat and the puzzle box).

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

The main message in all this is that the way we have approached the basics of learning and teaching is all wrong. The procedure has always been to memorize and spit back information (the "spoon-fed model"); however, students don't understand how and why what they have learned makes sense. This article says that there are better and different ways to approach learning in the educational system.

3. analyze and describe how you have learnt "Microsoft Word" (or a similar system incase you have never learnt MS-Word)

Most of the students gave the same answer to this question: they were never explicitly "taught" by a teacher or instructor, they just learned by doing. The idea that the program is a virtual typewriter lends itself to be very user friendly. There are other features however that require a little more expertise or know-how to operate. Many of the people gave the same reasons as well: they never learned how to use all the menus and functions, because they were never needed, but as time passed and complexities arose, these added capabilites are picked up off-hand.

Question 5 (Huda)

5. write in one short paragraph (a) what the following concepts means and (b) which role they have played in your learning (e.g., where you have encountered them)

5.1. learning by being told

Meaning: Learning by being told or through lecture-style teaching. The student is a more passive recipient of information
in this form of learning.

Personal relevance:

Most of the responders noted that the vast majority of their formal education, in school or at work, has been through this process.

The amount of learning depended on the particular topic and interest. Some learn well this way while others may not be able to retain information very well. Any real understanding of concepts occurs through out-of-class work and independent reflection.

5.2. self-directed learning

Meaning: Learning which is done by the individual out of their own personal motivation or desire to acquire knowledge or understanding. For some responders, self-directed learning was linked to informal learning (see below).

Personal Relevance:

Many responders noted how this kind of learning has occurred frequently within their own experience. The result of this learning is knowledge that has been retained the best because the desire to learn was linked to interest in the topic and motivation. Also, the process of learning chosen was one which was meaningful or allowed the person to retain the information.


Learning programming languages and applications because of direct relevance to work situation or interest in topic.

5.3. discovery learning


A few basic shades of meaning emerged out of the responders' answers regarding:

A) How discovery learning occurs

i) Many responders noted how this type of learning was accidental, unintentional, unplanned, unpredictable. Information is discovered through accident. "The epiphanies of insight that are unintentional, but very rewarding". (Surles)

ii) For some, discovery learning was learning which occurred through experience with some event or experiment. Some noted how discovery learning could be related to informal learning or experential learning, as discovery learning could occur in an informal manner and was understood to be learning that occurred by learners being involved with something directly (hands-on experience).

B) Discovery learning defined by knowledge of outcome

i) If information is discovered through accident, then the outcome of the learning process was unplanned.

ii) Some noted that discovery learning is learning that occurs through performing an experiment (an inquiry-based approach) or being involved in research where the result or outcome is unknown and thus must be discovered.

Personal Relevance:

Some noted that class experience was usually not aimed at discovery learning but merely access to memorized facts. Since the nature of discovery learning was considered by many to be accidental or unpredictable in nature, some noted that actually the learner did not always consciously know that that learning had occurred (a concept which the examples below do not adequately illustrate).


Two examples were given, neither of which seemed to be favorable or positive. One was discovering that touching a hot burner would burn your hand (Clawson) and another was that hot sauce in milk did not constitute culinary success (Rivadenaira).

5.4. experiental learning (meaning, personal relevance)

Meaning: Learning that occurs through experiment, trial or error, the application of concepts, practice, or through "doing".
Some also defined this as learning that takes place within the context of experiences or situations which were relevant to
the concept to be learned.

Personal Relevance:

Learning by doing allows people to think and reflect on any mistakes made, thus creating better methods to solve or resolve the problem. Also, learning by doing allows people to understand concepts in action through a hands-on approach. Some noted that this approach allowed them to build on what they already knew to learn more advanced concepts or understand concepts more thoroughly through experiment or experience.


Beachley gave an example of how spending time in a country enables one to learn and understand the language and culture much better than simply reading a textbook. The direct interaction provides the experience to gain a richer understanding of what is being studies and learned. Several responders gave examples of learning programming languages or applications through this form of learning.

5.5. informal learning (meaning, personal relevance)


Two basic shades of meaning emerged from the responders' answers:

a) Informal learning is informal because the nature of the learning process is informal and unstructured. For example, informal learning can be defined as self-directed personal learning which occurs without any structure or defined intention to consciously engage in the process of learning. This kind of learning is "every day" learning or learning that is transparent.

b) Informal learning is informal because the situation or setting within which it takes place is informal (i.e. not a classroom or formal education setting). The environment within which learning occurs does not exhibit any formal educational structure.

Personal Relevance:

Many noted how a large and important part of their learning in life occurs through this process, and because of the transparent nature of this process and how it occurs without any explicitly defined conscious predictors or intentions, examples may be difficult to pin down.


Two people noted how the process through which babies and children learn is informal, as no specific classroom setting is provided to explicitly teach children how to speak. The definition of informal learning as occurring in informal settings was reflected in the examples of accidentally learning about tax software during a conversation with a friend, learning to a bake a cake at home, learning by observing the actions of others.

5.6. collaborative learning


Learning done through or in the context of collaboration between group members, discussion or interaction with others.

Personal Relevance:

Several responders noted that a lot of their learning occurs through collaboration, where the process of explaining concepts to others and understanding others' points of view or gaining extra knowledge and insight from others leads to better learning. The actual amount of learning also depends on the contributions and work done by everyone in the group, but in general, more learning occurs through collaboration than would be possible through an individual researching information in isolation. Also, more complex problems can be tackled.


Playing basketball as team means learning how to achieve a common goal and learning the sport itself through interaction with other members of the team and collaboration. Real estate development involves the collaboration of people working to achieve a common goal and solving complex problems together.

Question 4 & 6 (Sarah)

4. These are the list of the "information/knowledge" which you have today

a. reading

b. listening

c. hands on

d. assignments

e. exams

f. research

g. experiment

h. jobs

i. error and mistakes

j. practices outside of class

k. teaching

l. memorizing

6. Media

a. books

b. magazines/journals/articles

c. newspapers

d. TV

e. radio

f. computers/PDA

g. (digital) video/camera/scanner/slideshow

h. forums

i. work/family/friends interactions

j. bulletin boards

View this PageEdit this PagePrinter Friendly ViewLock this PageReferences to this PageUploads to this PageHistory of this PageTop of the SwikiRecent ChangesSearch the SwikiHelp Guide