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the learning pyramid
In a message dated 5/26/99 6:06:41 PM, you (mr hemenway) wrote:
<<The PDC mirrors this, because it has evolved far from Mollison's original
(linear?) "stand in front of a class and talk for 72 hours" format
(something that ony someone as charismatic as Bill can get away with). Many
PDCs now focus on learning as opposed to teaching. There's lots of data
showing that most people learn poorly by listening passively to an
instructor. Some PDC's now reflect this, with often less than 1/3 the time
as lectures, and the rest in cooperative learning games, hands-on work,
participant-led instruction, community-building exercises, kinesthetic
learning, and a host of other techniques. The whole point of the PDC,
mentioned in many, many posts so far, is to inspire by drawing the
participants into a new community and a more holistic, balanced way of
thinking. I think the PDC continues to evolve into a better and better
format for doing just that. It can't do everything, but it's supposed to be
just the beginning.>>
thanks toby for this message. heartily agree. I just wanted to echo what has
been said here by letting everyone know where Permaculture Drylands
Institute's permaculture curriculum project is. we were inspired in much the
same way that toby suggests above to evolve the curriculum. we have received
funding to do such and are planning on the core pieces being available by the
end of the summer.
the main force of the work has been to bring the process of teaching the
content more in alignment with the content. to put it another way, we want
the teaching of permaculture to strongly reflect permaculture principles.
this begins with the principle of work with nature. as I interpret the
principle in this context, it means we need to understand deeply what the
nature of the classroom environment is, how learners and teachers function
optimally, and what conditions need to be created to best facilitate the
shift in perspective that permaculture requires.
one of the choice pieces about this was given to me by a local permaculture
school teacher, priscilla logan. it's called the learning pyramid and it
stacks teaching methods by degree of effectiveness. at the top of the
pyramid, at the point of least effective, is lecture. audio-visual techniques
are slightly more effective, then reading, demonstration, discussion (about
50% effective), learn by doing, and, at the base of the pyramid, the most
effective techniques, are immediate use and teaching others.
I take this body of research to mean that almost all of our instruction
should be focused on getting students to use the concepts immediately, and/or
teaching each other about it. when I have applied this understanding to my
own teaching, I can rationally say that the results have been outstanding.
enthusiasm is very high, people are actually leaving the courses being able
to do something. not everything and not perfectly, but they understand how to
improve the skills they do have.
we have compiled the best known to date about facilitating student
understanding into a small book currently known as "Developing the Art of
Teaching: Guidelines for Effective Facilitation." it will be available this
summer. for everyone who teaches or who desires how to teach, this guidebook
is highly recommended. humbly so of course.
by the way, I look forward to Toby-cola hitting the shelves soon.
santa fe, new mexico USA
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