Learning versus Teaching

Learning is the transformation of experience into knowledge. Teaching, on the other hand, is a very different thing.

Teaching, if done correctly, is any approach that helps to enhance learning. Many learning professionals know the difference between teacher-centered and learner-centered approaches. Yet it is easy to fall in the trap of designing courses that are mostly teacher-centered.

In a learning versus teaching scenario, how can we make teaching more learner-centered? Answer: Provide multi-faceted and rich experiences.

Reading, writing, eLearning, projects, team-based problem-solving, meaningful conversations, on location tours, videos, interviewing subject matter experts, classroom activities, presentations, concept maps, reflection, research, practicums, and on-the-job assignments are just some of hundreds of ways to provide learners a multi-faceted experience base.

In contrast, a teacher-centered approach would have one or two facets (e.g., classroom lecture and PowerPoint presentations). In this situation, the focus is on the teacher rather than on the learner.

Multi-faceted experiences will produce more memory traces and a more complex network of these traces. Learning is enhanced when a variety of experiences are transformed into knowledge.

About Parker Grant, PhD

Parker Grant is the founder of Instructional Design Industry, an online community for learning designers, instructional designers, and many other learning professionals (new and experienced). Parker holds a PhD in Adult Learning and a MS in Educational Technology. His consulting firm, Learning Connects, continues to offer learning design and development services.

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