This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

What is learning?

That is a very good question.  After half an hour reading up about different theories of learning I’m still not sure I really have any idea!

Anyway, the first task is to describe the last time I learned something and how I did it.  Mine is quite a basic example, recently a colleague showed me how to use some screencasting software in order to create simple screencasts for students.  I learned how to use it by watching him use it once and then having a go myself.  I spent half an hour or so “playing around” with the software, making mistakes and ditching several versions before I finally felt I was getting the hang of it. 

I was keen to get on with using the software myself as soon as I knew enough to make a start and I found I picked it up much more quickly by having a go and making mistakes than by watching my colleague demonstrate it perfectly.  Thinking about this makes me realise that students I teach information literacy skills to must benefit so much from workshop sessions as opposed to standard lecture-type settings.  Opportunities to offer this type of teaching are steadily being eroded as they are more time and resource intensive and lecturers are often reluctant to make time in the curriculum to fit them in.  In addition computer labs are in ever higher demand and class sizes are growing too, which makes this type of session impractical for some groups.

Looking at the table of learning categories, I would place my learning example in the “Reasoning and Procedures” box.

Behavioural and Social Sciences Subject Librarian at the University of Huddersfield.

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