Aug 06 2015

Choices in Learning and Teaching: More Humane? More Engaging?

Published by at 7:15 am under engagement,learning

Last week I blogged a little piece on the power of inviting a human being into a learning or doing experience. The human side of it. Today I finally read the post from Ryan Tracey that a number of folks have mentioned, Collateral damage | E-Learning Provocateur.

Ryan, after acknowledging the lack of evidence that supports the theory or learning styles (yay!), brings some nuance into the conversation and tackles the contextual issues around learner preferences.

If someone is in a classroom or a job-mandated training session, they will take what you give them. They may not be happy, but the in-room environment creates more pressure to conform.

In independent, self-driven learning, we hew more to our own personal preferences. Like Ryan, I cringe when I have to learn through videos, not just because so many are bad, but I’m a fast reader and can pinpoint what I want more efficiently. I certainly CAN learn with videos, I just prefer NOT to.

Creating a space for choice seems a pretty humane thing to do. I am more likely to follow through, to say YES, if you give me the respect as an adult learner and, where practical, some choice. I’ve observed this increases engagement over time (mine and others’). I wonder if there is any data to support this?

I think back to the JIBC/UdG Guadalajara group last month and even the conversations around Adroid vs. IOS, even without their religious zeal, reflect that driving impulse to have some level of choice, both as instructors/teachers/trainers and as learners.

P.S. I enjoyed the images in Ryan’s post as well!

P.S.S. The network and Ryan have circled back and now we know the image is the work of  Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half: – Allie, your work rocks!

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Choices in Learning and Teaching: More Humane? More Engaging?”

  1. Ryan Traceyon 06 Aug 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks for your reflection on my post, Nancy.

    Regarding the images, I’ve just been informed that they are based on the artwork of Allie Brosh. She write a quirky blog called Hyperbole and a Half:



  2. Nancy Whiteon 06 Aug 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks, Ryan. And someone else just told me the same thing about Allie. I’m going to edit above and give proper credit!

  3. Jen Don 07 Aug 2015 at 9:37 pm

    hi nancy
    I’m with you re videos, I read faster, the video seems to keep you trapped and more linear.
    same with audio also.
    I was shocked when I first heard there was no scientific evidence to support learning styles.
    when I first found out about learning styles I felt like a revelation.
    so I’m interested to see it seems you don’t find them helpful.
    I’ve come the to the conclusion we’re all of them to some degree.
    what are your views on universal design for learning

  4. Nancy Whiteon 08 Aug 2015 at 10:38 am

    Hey Jen. Do a quick search on debunking learning styles and you will reap a lot of information. A rather breezy overview here: – The main point is that what we know about brain research helps us realize the very point you make, about “we’re all of them to some degree” and this idea of teaching to type is oversimplistic and the implementation has not been show to be effective.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.
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