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EducationNESI Conversation 12 Part 2: Learning According to Learners

NESI Conversation 12 Part 2: Learning According to Learners

Main Page: Narratives about a Learners’ View (ALV)Dialogues

Status: Incomplete Raw Draft

Last Edited: August 3, 2018

ALV (A LEARNERS’ VIEW) DIALOGUES are a series of fictionalized interviews and conversations about real world education. Dialogues are part of the ALV inspired NEW ERA SCHOOL INITIATIVE (NESI).

This initiative features a learners’ view of learning. This view consists of commonalities across descriptions of real published technical and scientific research results of studies of teaching and learning by experimental behavioral and social scientists.

These studies account for principles of learning used to describe how ALV in lessons will likely accelerate, increase, and deepen (AID) learning of lessons with and without advancing electronic communication devices in PreK12 schools.

The TuxReports interviewer in this series replaced the Tablet PC Education interviewer when Table PC Education merged with TuxReports.

TuxReports: We welcome Donna Pahl (Wilkinson) back to continue our description of ‘Learning According to Learners’. Let’s get right to it.

You said earlier that learning according to learners uses a sociological view rather than a psychological, neurological, or another view. This sociological view refers to the least number and kinds of descriptions of what experimental behavioral and social scientists reported in common over more than a century.

Further, you said that with this view, you can account for learning lessons by observing social interaction between teachers and learners during lessons.

By omission, you do not say anything about the validity of views of learning as personal behavior, cognition, brain function, etc. Is this a fair summary of what we covered? 

Pahl: I will add that this view gives priority to the dyad of learner-teacher when describing social actions of learners during learning.

I intentionally put learners before teachers in this dyad. The research conducted with the dyad measured and reported how much learning occurred through various teaching methods.

By putting learners first in the dyad, it is as though teachers walk in the shoes of learners. With this view, teachers see, hear, etc. lessons as do learners.

TuxReports: That’s a logical construction I didn’t expect. Let’s see as you continue building your case, if that review clarifies what you’ve said.

Pahl: A learners’ view of learning features what learners and teachers do together, how they interact, during instruction of lessons.

This dyad addresses learners and teachers as role holders in a social system. Learners (role holders) interact with teachers (role holders) through what may be called a language of learning that emphasizes verbs (social processes) over nouns (objects).

The language of learners gives priority to how learners learn over what they learn.

Learners use while learning a vocabulary and logic based literally in a common sense.

Learners use what may be referred to as a technical description of commonality during  learning.

In this way, learning may be said to consist of learners managing physical sensory experiences expressed through social actions in ways that teachers accept.

TuxReports: You have intentionally qualified the term common sense as common physical senses? 

Pahl: In our earlier discussion you and I both heard me during instruction of our lesson tell you what to do, and I heard you do it. We used our physical senses to identify how we would engage in a social interaction called teaching-learning a lesson.

According to learners, that’s all there is to teaching and learning a lessons. It’s that simple.

Learning occurs as a social interaction, a social process during which teachers, learners, and observers use their physical senses to identify, manage, measure, and report what they see, hear, etc. as learning.

This view reduces learning to its minimum number and kinds of parts and processes.

This view of learning as social interaction is analogous to descriptions of human anatomy (the structure or arrangement the parts of humans) and human physiology (the processes of the organs/parts of humans).

TuxReports: That description of learning sounds too simplistic to be realistic. There have been libraries for eons of philosophies, research reports, lesson plans, and curriculum guides that belie that simplicity. Where am I wrong?

Pahl: Yes, common sense is simple in so far as experimental behavioral and social scientists report.

They describe how we humans use physical senses while learning to solve problems while teachers instruct learners how to do something.

These commonalities provide a technical description of learning according to learners.

That is learning according to learners. It’s a learners’ view of learning.

This simplicity is supported by the fact that theoreticians and practitioners of cognition, emotions, motivation, etc. programs use observations of these same human interactions as the raw material to organize their speculations, studies, and activities.

Learning according to learners’ learning refers to 15 sets of choices grounded in physical senses that learners use while learning lessons of teachers. These 15 sets appear to be the fewest kinds of choices that experimental scientists reported in common that learners make during learning.

TuxReports: I don’t know about this. You’re saying that learning according to learners has a minimalist definition? What theory did you use to come up with the 15 sets of choices?

Pahl: No theory. It is a description of the kinds of choices that experimental scientists operationalized to conduct their studies of teaching and learning.

Teachers, psychologists, philosophers, and others use such descriptions to assemble their constructs of teaching and learning.

Learning according to learners is a description of what learners do while learning in those studies. It is a summary of what may be called a content analysis the experimental studies of teaching and learning.

This summary describes common operations (how) that experimental behavioral and social scientists have been performing for over a century to conduct and report results of their studies of teaching and learning.

These commonalities provide a technical description of learning according to learners.

TuxReports: Let’s see if I’m following your description so far. Learning according to learners refers to the common use of physical senses across over a century of experimental behavioral and social science research reports of teaching and learning.

Pahl: Yes. Now, let’s analyze our lesson further while using the language of learning, that is, the vocabulary and logic of learning rather than of an established theory or philosophy of teaching and learning.

I’ll refer to the language of learning as the vocabulary and logic of learning rather than of an established theory or philosophy of teaching and learning.

The vocabulary and logic use sociological definitions of the social interaction that occurs between teachers and learners while people learn instructed lessons.

With this language, teachers may see, hear, etc. lessons as do learners.

TuxReports: Let’s see which question I’ll have as you continue building your case, for learning according to learners, or as you also called it, a learners’ view of learning during teaching.

Pahl: A learners’ view of learning features what learners and teachers each do during instruction of lessons. It gives real world structure to learning lessons. 

TuxReports: You make an interesting case. It’s challenging the way I have considered and talked about learning. But, I still trust the libraries I mentioned earlier as distilled by the experiences of educators and psychologists. I can’t imagine how simplicity explains a learners’ view of learning.

Pahl: Caution and skepticism are prudent in education just as they are in science. I’m glad you mentioned your doubts in the way you did. Let me use the language of learners to restate what you said.

A learners’ view of learning is of choices on the straightest and fastest path to learning lessons teachers instruct. This sentence summarizes what uncounted thousands of experimental scientists have been describing in their reports for more than a century. Their reports are in the libraries you mentioned.

A learners’ view of learning summarizes with conventional words and their definitions the technical choices that experimental scientists as well as their teachers and students used during those studies of teaching and learning.

TuxReports: That’s nicely stated and sounds ok. But, I’m hesitant about accepting that a learners’ view as you describe it even exists without knowing more. What proof do you have that I should believe that a learners’ view exists beyond opinion, theory, and philosophy?

Pahl: Respectfully, in science, proof and belief do not exist. Neither do words or logic that refer to them exist.

Proof exists in mathematics, jurisprudence, and conventional public discourse. Belief exists in religion and public discourse.

My description is a scientific statement with conventional words that others can test as scientists.

Instead of referring to proof and belief, scientists consider how much confidence to have in what they observe.

They have conventions (rules) for measuring and calculating amounts of confidence to have in their research findings.

Educators who apply scientific findings during lessons attempt to use approximations of these rules to accelerate, increase, and deepen (AID) learning promptly and sometimes dramatically.

TuxReports: We’ll stop now and continue later. I see we’re out of time again even though we are not finished with this topic. I have more questions I want you to address. I look forward to you returning soon, so we can resume our discussion of learning according to learners. Thank you readers for joining us. We look forward to your return also. 


  1. A Learners’ View of Learning (ALV)
  2. Introducing Technical-Scientific Literacy of Education (TSLE)
  3. Language of Learning (LANOL)
  4. New Era School Initiative (NESI) Teachers’ Motto
  5. Paradigm
  6. Principles of Learning
  7. Technical-Scientific Literacy of Teachers (TSLE)
Robert Heiny
Robert Heinyhttp://www.robertheiny.com
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in The Encyclopedia of Education (1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for TuxReports.com.

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