Rote Memorization Versus Meaningful Learning

 

One of the themes throughout the early chapters of Teaching Naked dealt with the advancement of technology and its affects on the educational system.  What I chose to reflect on was the idea of using the advancement of technology to do away with the idea of rote memorization of facts in favor of a deeper more meaningful form of learning.  An expert of my reflection:

While it is easy to see the changing landscape of education on the horizon, I believe there will always be a strong place for face-to-face and hands-on learning.  As an instructor in trades/apprenticeship programs I can see the difficulties in a fully distance or online education.  That however does not immune us to technological change.  The biggest opportunity available to us when I think about the use of technology is in the content that we provide.  For many decades in trades instruction the norm has been to have students to remember certain facts or nomenclature, only to have them regurgitate it on a government exam.   However, students today are never far from a cell phone, iPad, laptop or some form of technology that could easily find this type of mundane information in a moment’s notice.  I believe the time spent attempting to engrain these facts, of which are easily attainable from the touch of a screen, could be better used diving deeper into application based learning. 

As an educator going forward I would like us to keep the rote memorization to minimum and concentrate on critical thinking and query.  We have the technology to have the entirety of the worlds knowledge at our fingertips; why not use technology to quickly retrieve facts rather than waste precious learning opportunities pounding into our memorization.

For further ideas on this topic check out the following link:

Mayer, R.E. (2002). Rote versus meaningful learning. Theory into practice, Autumn 2002. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/jrankin/www/teach_transfer/rote_v_meaning.pdf.

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