Saturday, August 25, 2007

The learning process

The learning process is described by James Paul Gee in his 2003 book as a four step scientific model which many of us learned in school. Through this process knowledge is contextualised by linking information to what has already been discovered. Teachers know this as attaching new information to prior knowledge. The four steps are:
  • discovery
  • hypothesis formulation
  • re-experimentation based upon hypothesis
  • acceptance or rejection of hypothesis
Gee relates this process to playing video games. The process relates to all learning. Many of us will recognize the scientific method even though it was framed to us using different words. The important concepts here are that all knowledge is contextual and that learning anything involves not rote memorization but a process of discovery, testing, & analysis. Twenty-first century skills often talked about include communication, collaboration, & critical thinking.
Gee maintains that
...the initial patterns we form in life are a basis on which we form all the rest of our later patterns...(p. 92)
I would assert that it is crucial that those patterns be formed upon a sure foundation. This foundation must be laid initially by parents and reinforced by teachers. Without it, we risk being disconnected. With it, our learnings all rest upon and situate meanings against that one foundation.
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Gee, J.P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.

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