A Learners’ View (ALV) Is Of Choices On The Shortest and Fastest Path To Learning, The Oxygen Of Social Life.
A Learners’ View (ALV) offers keys to teaching lessons all learners learn.
Status: Published as ALV Preliminary Notes
Last Edited: August 21, 2018
Theme: Disneyland and ALV (a Learners’ View) of Learning both offer infrastructures of choices to users.
Main Article: FRONT MATTER
MICKEY MOUSE GREETED US with his characteristic wide open mouth smile as we walked with throngs of other people and baby strollers through the main gate into Disneyland. He was carved with brightly colored flowers onto the green hillside beneath the Disneyland railroad station about 30 yards beyond the gate.
In front of him on the asphalt were animated Disney characters and a brass band performing a welcoming skit to the delight of children and adults who paused to watch and listen before moving toward the tunnels under the railroad tracks into the Main Street Plaza with its mixture of more Disney characters, stores, an information center, and horse drawn vehicles. Over one hundred fifty thousand guests paid today to play our parts within “The Magic Kingdom: The Happiest Place on Earth.”
While I can’t speak for Disneyland, it becomes apparent that the Disney team operates with an infrastructure of pre-identified choices for guests to make. These choices mirror in many ways a learners’ view (ALV) of choices learners use when learning. Both sets of choices blend folklore as well as technology and science into measurable and predictable results for participants. The Disney team shows and tells guests ways to proceed through the complex mazes of events and activities to and within Disneyland as do educators teach students efficient ways to solve a wide range of problems through lessons.
The infrastructures that Disneyland uses to conduct its business and that learners use to learn consist of different vocabulary words, directions, and artifacts that refer to the same choices people make in these settings. These infrastructures consist of the hidden social processes guests and learners recognize with their senses. They both make the unfamiliar look familiar, and seem easy to do by using selected social patterns. Both make the rigid seem flexible through objective, reliable, repeatable, procedures without necessarily referring to esthetics or self fulfillment that guests express.
Disneyland and ALV (a Learners’ View) of Learning both offer infrastructures of choices to users.
In other words, Disneyland and good teachers give priority to the means by which their guests/students will most likely achieve the purpose for their participation, such as happiness/self-satisfaction at Disneyland and accelerated, increased, and deepened (AIDed) academic performance by students in school.
At Disneyland, people amble along sidewalks and streets, making way for vehicles as a bell clangs behind them or an Ooga Horn from an early 1900s style car sounds in front of them. In the morning, even the young children in strollers are alert and watching, some nodding their heads to the music from Disney movies piped through hidden speakers.
Walt Disney, his team of Imagineers, and Cast Members have figured out and used a formula that they proudly proclaim as, “It’s Magic!” But, is it so unknowable as to be real magic, or do they practice the illusion of magic?
A hint of the illusion exists as the infrastructure of Disneyland. Guests can observe it as patterns of sights, sounds, smells, and other senses emerge. Each sense, when examined, offers at least one choice for guests. Images of Mickey exist in exhibits, events, and rides. Crowd control runs smoothly starting with road signs directing where vehicles with prospective guests can exit from Interstate 5 to approach Disneyland in orderly lines. The engineers convert fast moving vehicles to slow moving lines channeled into many lanes from which drivers follow signs (prompts) to choose a lane that goes to the parking garage or to go directly to one of the Disneyland Resort facilities. Another indication of a Disneyland infrastructure exists upon seeing that employees follow dress codes making visible platoons of hospitality personnel, gardeners, street sweepers, and security personnel, each prepared to answer questions of guests.
The magic of Disneyland is that the Disney Team synthesizes The Disney Way into one message for Cast Members: “Be nice” and guests will return. From that one rule flows arrangements of streets, walkways, landscaping, events, etc. that bring diverse fables and possible future stories from many cultures and places into one temporary way of life for guests, as though it really is “A Small World” as the name of one ride proclaims in a song. This infrastructure helps guests from around the world in one place at one time to flow to and within the park and its supporting community.
Publications by and about the Disney team reveal details of the Disney way of teaching people to find happiness and to play together, at least while in the Disney community. James B. Stewart, an attorney and Pulitzer Prize winning author describes how he was transformed in several hours from an observer into the animated character Goofy. He described his surprise at becoming Goofy in the eyes of guests, that is, not just by acting, but how he was the awkward Goofy for the 30 minutes of his débuted session in the park.
I have probably been to Disneyland two dozen times since my first visit with our children in 1959. A few extended family members and friends have worked at Disneyland or at the Disney offices and studios. My supervising teacher’s husband during my first year of teaching at Azusa Unified School District, California, was one of the earliest Disney animators. Together, we’ve shared stories for decades of visits and preferences about Disney productions.
It wasn’t until the last four visits to Disneyland that I could put words to the Disney Way and to relate it to choices people make while learning from teaching. After having developed an earlier version of a learners’ view (ALV), I realized while participating in a succession of events with a grandson that Imagineers at Disney as well as script and software developers follow the ALV Path to learning. The animator in a 30 minute drawing class told and showed us on an overhead screen where to mark first one and then a second dot with our pencils on our lap pads of paper, then how to connect the dots, etc. one at a time in order to draw Mickey Mouse. Statements such as “don’t worry about getting it right. This is your drawing of Mickey. Just do as I show you, …” punctuated the lesson in reassuring ways to the delight of the people from preschoolers to grandparents imitating the Disney animator. Each animator of subsequent lessons used similar instructions to draw other Disney characters.
They taught us, as do other good teachers, the subtle difference between how to learn to draw and what to draw, that is, what to look at and what to do with what you sense when you choose to learn something. They do not just show people how to draw Mickey. They recognize, show, and tell learners that learning begins by using your senses selectively to solve problems. That, they implied, is learning as the most accomplished people in civilizations have learned.
That people choose, learn, and teach are accepted by conventional wisdom. The Disney team appears to accept them as separate facts to use to organize their productions.
Some educators may assign greater importance to conventional wisdom than they can support beyond statements of belief. In the meantime, their students suffer the consequence of learning less than is possible. That people make choices while we learn from someone else teaching is a matter of fact grounded in demonstrations by the Disney Team and in results from more than a century of experimental behavioral and social science research reports of learning.
People learn from teaching when teachers and learners make the same choices.
How, then, do people learn from teaching? Attempts to answer this question have implicitly dominated education and related scientific research. These efforts have created a silo effect of theories, practices, and research by sophisticated specialists. At the same time, most teachers assemble various blends of practices stored in different silos much like bakers prepare multigrain breads with some from this container of ingredients, some from that one, etc.
While attending and working with and around educators and in schools for decades, inevitably conversations and (usually unspoken) theories turned to teaching, textbooks, worksheets, homework, and tests. Later, computers and various versions of public relations, public policies, and management techniques joined that list. In graduate schools, the depth and precision of these topics increased, sometimes dramatically, depending on the faculty of the college or university.
And just as inevitably, the view of educators was accepted as the best possible referent for choosing the best teaching and schooling today and education in the future. This acceptance acknowledged, in the name of practicality, an openness to selected contributions from the community, psychology, and public policy.
Fortunately, I was among students who had some of the best teachers anyone could expect. They knew their tasks. They knew the content to teach. They presented clear lessons far enough above our then performance levels that we had to make efforts to learn as expected. Most teachers were friendly, highly skilled and confident without hubris. Their optimism was contagious among their alumni even decades after their lessons ceased. Yet, while using what they taught, something fundamental was missing that tied together their descriptions and discussions.
What is common across experimental behavioral and social science research of learning?
Finally, I found what I didn’t know I was looking for, that which is common across silos of vocabularies, theories, practices, and research addressing learning from teaching. I knew something was missing from orthodoxies about education, but couldn’t identify it or describe it. The missing part of the puzzle was to ask the right questions: (1) what do people do first, second, etc. while learning and (2) do teachers manage lessons to match those social activities? What I found left me skeptical of common explanations and practices used to teach in and out of schools. At the same time, what I found left me enthralled with the prospects of always trying to learn something regardless of the situation.
What is common across these silos? This question harbors the answer and the premise for this site. As simple as that question and its answer appear today, it took decades of trial-and-errors to narrow it down to giving priority to procedures over rhetoric about learning and teaching. California farmers would say it took until I got practical.
One common element across silos is that educators as practitioners, theoreticians, and scientists perform observable actions. A second common element is that people as learners also perform observable activities. A third common element is that experimental behavioral and social scientists have studied and reported observable activities of learners and their settings for over a century.
This recognition left unanswered another question, how do these common elements fit together to form descriptions of learning from teaching? One common element is that experimental scientists follow protocols, step-by-step procedures, to generate and repeat their study results with confidence and reliability. These protocols and their other procedures have a technical-scientific vocabulary that gives priority to accuracy and precision as do bakers and computer scientists discuss and describe their procedures in ways that others may use, test, refine, and report their results. A learners’ view is a proof-of-concept (POC) description of common elements educators use today for learners to AID learning.
In our time, the quest of educators and other specialists for how people learn from teaching will continue. The mystery for educators to overcome today is how to shape divergent, historic views and values about learning and teaching in order to AID learning in and out of schools today as smoothly as the Disney team uses these same principles in their productions. The quest of learners is how to learn today with whatever means are available today.
A proof-of-concept prototype of ways teachers accelerate, increase, and deepen (AID) learning promptly and sometimes dramatically.
I offer A Learners’ View (ALV) as a proof-of-concept prototype of the body of experimental research findings that result, when applied, in AIDed learning. This site, Classic Education: A Learners’ View (ALV) of Choices of Teachers and Learners is offered as a celebration of efforts by these researchers. It was compiled as the beginning of a guide to the results of their work.
Bridging the gap between vocabularies from various specialist silos posed a problem I addressed by using conventional language whenever possible to refer to more precise technical and scientific terms. The ALV Glossary and the page of acronyms will guide you to definitions for bridging gaps between conventional language and technical-scientific statements.
It is too simplistic, but realistic, to say that never before has a greater need existed for learners to learn more efficiently in less time with and without teachers. Changes in economics, technologies, and political environments set the stage for asking the question this site implicitly poses and suggests answers. What can teachers do differently, so their students as alumni may survive better than they will without those changes? How may educators reduce, perhaps even eliminate, rationing of learning by using practices other than what experimental behavioral and social science research has shown can occur?
By design, this site is and will continue to be a work in progress, driven by experimental behavioral and social science research results that describe ways people learn from teaching. So, new and edited pages will continue to appear almost daily, with major changes noted on What is New in ALV (A Learners’ View of Learning).
May I show and tell you the ALV way to AID learning that experimental scientists have reported and that Disney teams appear to use at Disneyland, so you too may AID learning promptly and sometimes dramatically? Next
- Acronyms Used in the Text
- ALV (a Learners’ View) Path of Learning
- Capodagli, B. (2006). The Disney Way, Revised Edition: Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company. NY: McGraw Hill (paperback).Cockerell, L. (2008). Creating Magic: Based on the Principles 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney. NY: Doubleday.
- Cockerell L. (2013). Introduction: Be Nice. The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service. NY: Crown Business, pp. IX-XIV.
- Disneyland. Wikipedia. (Captured 10-23-14 at 7:25AM at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disneyland).
- Stewart, J.B. (2005). Disney War. NY: Simon and Shuster, pp. 10-15.
- Two Dots Learning (TDL)
- A Learners’ View (ALV) of Learning as an Alternative to Theories of Education
- ALV (a Learners’ View) in One Lesson
- ALV T Shirt Wisdom
- Classic Education: A Learners’ View (ALV) of Choices during Teaching and Learning
- Dear Teacher
- Foreword: Pay Attention
- Preview of Classic Education: A Learners’ View (ALV) of Choices during Teaching and Learning
- Trail to a Learners’ View (ALV)