Blog 052 The Way People Learn

Everybody learns differently, it’s not a case of one size fits all. It’s quite often that some ways will clash and that its harder for some people to learn. I was quite pissed off the other day when I went into a class expecting the teacher to be able to teach me something, only to find his teaching method to be really rushed and the way that he teaches to be really difficult for me to learn from. Hidden beneath the reams of paper he would hand out to the class, the pointless readings and the code words for certain lessons, I found myself confused and even though I spent the following two hours beyond the lesson just trying to understand what the heck this guy was trying to teach. I still found myself struggling to get the concept.

My angle is this. You go into a class expecting to be facilitated for your lesson. To expect that you will be able to understand the material taught to you regardless of how complicated it might be. To assume that you almost knew nothing when you walked into the class, to walk out at the end of the semester having benefitted from the teachings and the course content. What I hate is that this just isn’t a reality for me all the time, and yes I confess that I may not be a genius. Although why it is true that I might not be the future Elon Musk or the next big thing, I can’t begin to assume that 7 billion people on this planet and I would be the only one to struggle in class even having gone over the relevant material. So what is that I’m missing?

From time to time students and teachers alike have made reports of struggling with learning or teaching the information. They have reported that it has cost time and money for them to get to class and that sometimes it’s impossible to do so for whatever reason, and so they have missed the classes altogether. So it has dawned on me. The expectation that we are to attend classes, that we are to go to school and learn from the confines of a giant concrete building at the top of a hill, may be precisely why it is hard to learn sometimes. That we are restricted in our ways of learning and not given the opportunity to grow and experiment with different ways of learning.

I’m eluding to online learning. Call me crazy but it must be hard to come across a single University without an online forum to collect information in 2017 regarding variously taught materials or to gather extra information about a topic. It must be hard to find in today’s climate a network strategy about going about an exam or learning a lesson that is not already online at any one point. What I am confused by is the lack of online encouragement from a universities perspective to give us the tools and knowledge that we need to succeed within a class so that we can actually gain something from spending our time and money for 12 weeks of a course.

I struggle to comprehend why we cannot learn everything that we need to know through simple online tutorials, lectures and other abiding material essential to the final examination. That it makes absolutely no sense that we have to get our sorry asses up out of bed at an ungodly hour of the morning, waltz to the top of a hill only to arrive at a lectureless lecture and no time to piss around.

But then I had a realization. The realization that there is actually no point in having a physical campus. That the entire system is intrinsically flawed. That university cares not about our actual learning in the long term but that they can get away for years of our lives having dealt out time schedules, moderators and finally an A4 sheet of paper bullshitting us that we have actually learnt something but instead have only put up with the bull shit time constraints, cold wet winter mornings waiting for the other poor guy to arrive, and confusion around the actual taught material.

I don’t believe that the current system actually works because it is influenced by big money. It is manipulated to suit the constraints created by a system that is hundreds of years old, and that we are not being given the precise tools that we need to accomplish learning. Do I have to spend ten hours for every one-hour lecture attended just to get it into my “thick skull” that there is actually some life relevance and reliability of the information learned? It seems incredulously irrelevant to create a system that forces people to go higher just to learn in a uni-modal way.  I guess that’s why they call it university…

Onto a more personal note. The grievances created through a system flawed through big money politics, why not give us the tools we need to learn by creating a digital platform that allows multiple forms of learning. Through written content. Through audio diaries. Through digital imagery. Through videos which show the ideas in action. We’re fucking adults. Stop treating us like we need a few more years at high school and give us what we’ve paid for. Knowledge. Nobody should be forced to sit inside on a beautiful autumn’s morning waiting for some guy to arrive and teach in a way that doesn’t suit them. Everyone has good teachers and bad teachers and everyone reports on how they learned more or less based on a teacher’s different way of teaching.

It’s time to react to the way people learn. You’ve already given us an online forum as a source to give us a course outline. But are you that scared of piracy that you think we would be bothered to copy and paste? You’ve already built up massive libraries and on some occasions gave us an online book ordering network to give us the material we need to learn. So why do we still need to spend hundreds on getting our own editions? You force us to buy ex-copies that have outdated information because you out-price us at the thousands you already expect.

A pledge from the everyday student to yours sincerely, it’s time to wake up.

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