Learning sequences

Over many years, as an instructor of training courses, my recognition of the importance of the sequence in which we learn things has been continually increasing. Every time there is a problem with someone learning something, the starting point is the sequence.

As we guide learners through the process of opening the Pandora’s box of topics in any subject area, it is so easy to slip up. It is no different from giving away the ending of a book or film, or prematurely letting slip the punchline of a joke; it spoils the process. On the other hand, the extreme case of telling someone the end without them knowing the context is meaningless; and consequently they will usually not even remember it.

There are many ways in which we can fail to organise the sequence in which we learn. However we cannot even begin to take control of the sequence if we do not believe that we have control of it! So one of the first issues that we need to overcome is the tendency to assume that the sequence is dictated for us by influences outside our control. I’ve tried to describe this in an article on Novel approaches to sequences of learning.

Any comments are welcome.

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