Here’s an excerpt from a manuscript originally intended to assist a parent direct attention to classroom instruction that leads to the most efficient learning of a daughter. This full manuscript describes how a parent may observe classroom teaching in light of instructional options available to the teacher. This excerpt identifies what learning efficiencies mean in terms of teacher choices. I base these comments on familiarity with scientific literature describing learning processes, teaching and observing classroom instruction and learning, and constructing objective empirical data collection instruments.
Learning efficiencies result from matching a source of learning, i.e., teaching and instructional material, with a student’s behavior changes that meet a learning criterion. The fewer resources a student uses to reach criterion the more efficient the learning.
For example, a teacher, a mobile PC education software designer, or another person intendiing to offer learning efficiencies provides ways to make room for more daily instruction that more likely leads to more teacher intended student academic performances. Learning efficiencies result from teachers using protocols that refine instruction faster for increasing learning rates more than through regular teaching practices.
Simplicity of Learning
As scientists, we marvel at the simplicity of learning as identified by principles based on objective, experimental empirical data. Through such studies, patterns and systems of learning have become more understandable. In education, the opposite seems apparent.
All teachers have exposure during preservice preparation to scientifically based principles and their uses. Yet, most teachers do not use them for lesson planning or to explain student academic performance. Instead, they argue that scientific principles are too difficult to understand, are too limited in scope for their situation, and that too many practical issues interfere with applying scientific principles in their classroom and with their students.
Complications of Instructional Practice
The more discussion by teachers and the more books published about learning, the more incomprehensible and complicated learning seems. The key word is the preposition about learning as compared with the scientific description of learning.
Most teachers don’t appear to have scientific data based postulates as starting points for their instructional generalizations, and do not seem to accept that systematic, controlled observation of past events is useful in their real world of instruction. Consequently, instructional history repeats the same results, one lesson after another with some students learning promptly while waiting for others who do not reach criterion.
Rationale for Addressing Learning Efficiencies
Scientifically based principles of instruction and learning exist as starting points for instruction. Understanding these patterns permits selecting instructional procedures, materials, and content more likely to yield students reaching learning criteria. In short, teachers start by specifying how they want students to demonstrate they learned the lesson, and then use a backward learning curve to construct the lesson.
Measuring Learning Efficiencies
The Learning Efficiencies Scale (LES) yields a measure of instructional power, sometimes called proficiency or competence. LES ranks the relative capacity of school lessons and instructional material to yield intended student behavior. Learning efficiencies describe which instruction assists a student to reach a learning criterion quicker, more easily, or with less effort when compared with other possible ways of reaching the same criterion (Heiny, 2007).
This unedited excerpt is from my manuscript Learning Efficiencies Scale: A Star System for Ranking Teaching-Learning Equations and my project Mobile Learning. I’ll post more about the manuscript and the project later. Let me know if you want more information about learning efficiencies or the mobile learning project before I post it. Thanks in advance for your interest. I’m interested in knowing about your participation in such efforts and projects.
Do you see uses for LES?