Category Archives: learning

Two types of learning – which one is best?

Evolutionary biologists think of learning as being either social or asocial. Social learning is essentially copying – what is everyone else doing? – whereas asocial learning is accrued by interacting with the

“Understanding” and Occam’s razor

At the beginning of the 20th century, the physicists Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein both concluded independently that measurements of light speed would be the same for all observers. But while both arrived at the same

A Novice→Expert Model of Learning

Every artist was first an amateur. Ralph Waldo Emerson One of the best understood principles of cognitive psychology is that novices learn and think differently to experts. These labels are domain-specific, not

How helpful is Hattie & Donoghue’s model of learning? Part 2: The meta analyses

To help us better understand how we learn, John Hattie & Gregory Donoghue propose a new conceptual model of learning. I’ve already written about my concerns with the metaphor of depth in Part 1.

How helpful is Hattie & Donoghue’s model of learning? Part 1: The problem with depth

I saw John Hattie speak recently at a conference on his latest re-imagining of his Visible Learning work. He was an excellent speaker and charming company. I was particularly flattered that he asked

O brave new world! The search for 21st century qualifications

It’s difficult to ignore the appealing certainty that the times in which we are alive are unique and fundamentally different to any that have gone before. The most cited reason for this

Is it worth trying to memorise facts?

We can only think about what we know and, no mater how intelligent we might be, we cannot think about something about which we are ignorant. But how well do we need

Further problems with the ‘thinking hard’ proxy for learning

Because learning is invisible, we can only hope to measure whether students are making progress by observing proxies. Most people now seem to agree that certain activities which routinely take place in

Post-truth and the best way to teach

A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently. St. Augustine We’ve always had a tendency to defer to what is most said most magnificently and shun

Struggle and success

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. Albert Camus The gods of ancient Greece punished Sisyphus, the king of Ephyra, for his

More good proxies for learning

A few days ago, I wrote about a brief online discussion I had with Dan Willingham on the importance of thinking hard. In the comments, Greg Ashman pointed out that thinking hard

Why what you teach matters

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that within the next two years Ofsted will stop grading the quality of teaching, learning and assessment as part of their overall judgement