Learning strategies: The What vs. the How

Good morning colleagues and Happy Good Friday.

The topic for discussion this week is the idea of learning strategies: the What (content) vs. the How (process).  My experience indicates that schools and universities perform well with offering the what–the content, the definition, and the explanation.  Where many institutions fail is at the the point of the how or the process.   Think about your school experience and whether anyone taught you specific learning STYLES regarding HOW to learn, or when you graduated and became a teacher: HOW to teach.

I recall living in Japan where I was paid quite well to teach the Japanese how to speak English simply because I was a native English speaker.  My experience made me a subject matter expert (SME)–the what, not an expert in pedagogy (teaching children) or andragogy (teaching adults).  Having now taught for more than 16 years at the university level, I have learned the How—I am now teaching the How to graduate and doctoral students and doctoral faculty around the globe.

The question for us to ponder is why.  Should process not be part of the process of learning (and teaching?).  Think about the fact that faculty expect students to know how to write as part of the class curriculum as the faculty expectation is to teach the content of their course.  Yet, if we faculty do NOT teach writing at least part of the time, writing mastery is not achieved and students do not progress simply because writing is not often the focus of any class, the content is.

Thus, the question for us to continue to ponder is how do we also integrate the how as part of the process of teaching the what?

I look forward to your experiences regarding the what vs. the how.

My best,

Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur

March 25th, 2016 by admin

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