I enjoy a good animated GIF. I will not be pulled into an argument about how to pronounce “GIF”.
I collect those GIFs that I think are especially apropos to teaching and learning. My goal for this post is to use them in a fun way to illustrate the learning process from the learner’s point-of-view.
This story could apply to you, me, anyone really.
Students come to class…
And are introduced to a new concept. They react accordingly, thinking,
Students don’t understand at first
They spend some time thinking and working.
They feel good. They think they have understood and that they have it.
And then the first assessment or learning activity happens. The learner has to use or apply the new concept or skill.
The learner realizes what they thought they grasped, they do not. Naturally, they do what any normal person would do in the same situation.
After regaining composure, and receiving encouragement from the instructor, they get back to work: taking more notes, wading through concepts,
Asking more questions,
Making new connections,
Struggling through feelings of disorientation,
and even anger.
Then, finally, it happens,
Ideas and concepts begin to congeal into a cohesive whole.
They realize they can learn.
Learning is hard, uncomfortable, and takes work and practice. Learning is a process of encountering new information, creating connections between old and new information, and synthesizing all this into new ideas.
It is tiring work.
But it can be done.
After working though the process successfully the learner looks back, sees and celebrates the progress that was made.
At least until the next time, until a new concept or skill is necessary and the cycle begins again.
But after experiencing this cycle repeatedly a learner sees that it is worth the effort, feels the accomplishment, and concludes no matter the outcome that,