Learning by Doing, 
 defining the not-so-obvious


Learning by doing is less…
Learning by doing is more…

Thinking aloud here…

If someone asked me what learning by doing means, I might stammer out a very long, wordy explanation, which is never a good start for me. I’d probably say something intellectually stunning like, “Well, learning by doing is when you learn while you’re actually doing something.”

Ginger E. Coyote, genius. 

My sad “definition” would break every single rule for how to define words and terms. So sorry Mrs. Fredrickson. 

So how would I define learning by doing?  …that is, if I gave it a little more thought?

I think maybe we have to define what the phrase is trying to differentiate itself from. How is learning by doing different from what we traditionally know as “learning”?  

  •     less passive and more active
  •     less student and more learner
  •     less paperwork and more creative work
  •     less teacher-directed and more student-directed
  •     less “memorize/forget cycle” and more “love it/learn it/live it cycle”  or it could be “live it/learn it/love it cycle” Sometimes we don’t know that we love something til we learn more about it.


What else?

My Plurk friend Laura Sheely suggested more global connections and more discussion, while another Plurk friend, Mark Hall, suggested more relevancy and less “busy.” 

I agree whole heartedly with both of those. 

I think many educators think they might know what that term means.

I mean, isn’t it obvious?  But as we more closely examine it to mine for a diamond definition, it takes on an entirely different complexity. 

Learning by doing. 

What else? How would you define learning by doing to someone who has not even considered this concept, or they think they know what it is since the phrase is so (deceptively) simple. 


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Written by GingerLewman

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