Have you ever imagined what will be the outcome if you simply write letter ‘A’ on the board and tell your nursery class to write it on their own. DO NOT TEACH them ‘the correct’ way i.e. make two slanting lines and join them in the middle or have a dotted ‘A’ to practice first. let them find it out by themselves.
Try it and you will be surprised to see that most of them are able to write it correctly after a few efforts and some of them are perfect at the first go. If you go by the traditional method, the time taken and the perfection attained will probably be the same.
Traditional formal education tends to introduce rules and patterns of thinking. It impedes natural learning and never lets you ‘THINK OUT OF THE BOX’. What Einstein inferred was that learning is most when it’s stimulated with real-life experiences and not bound by the traditional lecture style.
Edgar Dale, a renowned educationalist created a ‘Cone of Experience’ in 1946 to describe various learning experiences. He arranged the cone with most concrete experiences at the bottom and the most abstract at the top of the cone. Dale never intended to assign any value (%) to a particular experience. The retention percentages are recent additions. The ‘Cone of Experience’ is now more commonly called as ‘Cone of Learning’. The cone infers that depending on the type of activity, the retention levels will increase or decrease.
However the cone does not signify that reading or listening are of little value but emphasises that retention is greatest with real-life experiences. The greater number of senses we use, the greater the learning is. If you look closely, when there is 100% participation of learner in all the three phases of learning that is input, operation and feedback that is participate in a hands-on workshop, design collaborative lessons, simulate a model or experience a phenomenon, design a presentation or perform an experiment – retention is maximum. And your analytical, creative, defining and evaluations skills are at work. Hence Active Learning stimulates higher cognitive processes.
Lecture notes, handouts and audio-visuals put together a controlled environment hence the learning is controlled as well. That’s why Einstein never let education interfere with his learning or the world would have never got to know the genius in him!