Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mixing It Up

Learning simplified is done in three steps. The first step in learning is perceiving information. Todays blog post is about how you can code your information and how it effects perception. The dual-coding theory states that information provided in two different codalities sticks better, since two different kinds of "memories" are involved. The two codalities are auditive (phonological loop) and visual (visual sketch pad). If we serve only one codality, e.g. auditive (talking), and the students resource to perceive this information is blocked by something else, e.g. talking to their partner, the information is likely to get lost. On the other hand, if you are serving two codalities, students might still be able to perceive the information in the free codality. 

Hands On 

One obvious one might be dancing and talking at the same time. It's definitively auditive and visual. Something to add here though is that you can serve differently here. You can say what you dance as in what your body does, you can count (might be actually distracting more than helping - unless the focus is counts) or trying to auditively add the feeling, by adding sounds like woo-wap, shi-baam, etc.

This can be used not exclusively for learning, but also for changing partners. If you accompany "Leaders change partners counter-clockwise" with the matching arm movement, you provide visual and auditive coding of the information. You will notice that changing partners will happen more fluently. 

Triple-Coding theory? 

Many people in different kinds of jobs, e.g. social engineers, salesmen and last but not least dance instructors, have experienced that there is a third variable that doesn't show up in the dual-coding theory. That is the kinesthetic part. It seems that some peoples best developed sense is feeling. Of course this raises the question why this is not part of the dual-coding theory. My personal guess is that first of all it's more work to test out three kinds of codalities, and find a proper environment to test all three variables. Probably more important though is that most test environments are not geared towards learning of physical capabilities. Nevertheless, my personal experience is also that feeling the movement helps a lot of my students.You can use this knowledge to add an additional perception layer to your information, simply by making your students feel, what you want them to learn. Might it be a connection or might it be simply the kind of bouncing you want your students to do.