Self-Directed, Project-Based Learning

from Seth’s Blog

Why do educated people too often fall for foolish scams and conspiracy theories?

The problem is that no one taught us to understand. Instead, we are pushed to simply to memorize. To be educated enough to do well on the test, and then to forget what we were taught, because we never actually learned it.

Understanding opens the door to insight and to comfort with the data. Understanding is the platform we need to go to the next level… memorizing is a fragile house of cards, with no foundation. And the compliance mindset of “will this be on the test?” simply sets us up to believe the next thing that we’re supposed to learn.

More here.

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45 Comments

  1. Going through school for fifteen years of my life I have learned something about myself. That is that I am not a very good test taker. In my opinion I do not believe that your intelligence should be shown by if you can memorize a set of data and be able to spit it back to your teacher word for word, but by actually having an understanding what you are doing. When you spend so much time on trying to memorize what you are studying when it comes to the test you might get a good grade but as soon as you finish that test all that information is just going to go out the window. I Seth’s blog he states, “We now have a chance to turn this fall’s back-to-school (in the Northern Hemisphere) into self-directed, project-based learning instead of a rush toward compliance and butts in chairs and pencils on tests.” With this idea it gives all the kids are like me to get better grades in school and help them grasp the topics that they are learning. The three main cognitive learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Everyone learns differently, so for the people that are kinesthetic they learn by doing hands on activities like projects. I feel that everyone across the country needs to change the way that we learn because being able to memorize something and repeat it is not a valuable life skill that can get you through life. In the article Seth states, “We can create a pattern of teaching people to be curious because curiosity is an engine for learning…” If the people who are being taught a subject are actually curious about what they are learning, then they will be more into the subject and they will enjoy the projects that they have to do. This is because it almost becomes something that they are passionate about and will not mind doing work a research on it.

  2. I think that this article brings up many good points that the American education system needs to think about when evaluating itself. Despite these points that were brought up in the article about the education system, I feel as though those issues are not the reason for the issue presented in the opening question, “Why do educated people too often fall for foolish scams and conspiracy theories?” I think that, in my personal experience at least, schools do an adequate job in providing information to their students about scams and foolish theories. My schools have had classes dedicated to teaching students how to avoid scams, especially online ones in the era that we live in. In situations like these, I feel as though we as students were taught to understand the severity of a failure of understanding, rather than to just memorize words that our teachers put on a screen. Despite this, I do agree with the greater point of the article that the American school system needs to go away from a memorization based testing system to a project-based learning system. As the article says, “The problem is that no one taught us to understand. Instead, we are pushed to simply to memorize.” This could not be more accurate. In most of our classes today, we as students are expected to just remember as much as we can for a test and then never fully understand the material that we were supposed to learn. As a result of this, graduates from every level are moving further into the world unprepared for the challenges that they are about to be facing. The article goes on to describe understanding as “the platform we need to go to the next level… memorizing is a fragile house of cards, with no foundation.” We need to truly understand what we are learning to be able to successfully advance to the levels that we are trying to achieve. Our current “learning” system is based on simply the regurgitation of facts, rather than actually understanding the material that we need to be able to understand to succeed in our fields.

  3. Honestly before this school year, I was never aware of how memory-based classes were not effective. Basically, every class I have ever had in school is based on memory. Where the professor reads from a textbook and we as students take notes and are eventually tested on that knowledge. Even standardized testing, which is supposed to comprehensively judge a student’s intellect, is based on memorization. While I know standardized testing is highly flawed and that is why traditional schooling has moved away from it, I never knew there was another way to learn. While some classes I have taken have been more project-based while some were lecture-based, overall, they come down to memorization once you must take the test. If you look at K-12, those teachers have to follow a curriculum and give tests so it may be harder to have creative freedom, but when I came to college I saw how many different ways of learning there are. Each professor is different and goes about teaching in a different way. This course seems to be more Socratic and project based like the article said and personally I feel I learn the best like this. Everyone learns different, but I always felt like I do not benefit from lecture type classes. While courses like this are a lot of work and demand a lot of time, I feel like I do really understand the material and can talk about it and use it in everyday life. While I feel like I learned more in college than I did in high school, I believe it is because there is no common core and strict way of teaching. Like students, educators thrive differently and require different types of teaching to best use their skills. Some students may benefit from memory-based learning, but I would assume most students do not and prefer a collaborative environment. School will never seem fun to students but making them miserable will not help anything. What will be making the students enjoy going to class. Most students love group work and discussion where they get to talk as much as they listen, and collaborative classes are the way to go.

  4. Seth Godin brings up a very interesting point. For many students in college this is the case. We have been asking the question “will this be on the test?” for our whole lives. In high school this was asked about almost all of the information that we were given and I am guilty of asking that same question myself. I am not ashamed of it though, it’s just how we were brought up and taught. We were always taught to be given information, memorize it and regurgitate it onto a packet of paper that would be graded mainly on your memorization of the material. It was like that for years and if you were to ask me or other college students about things that they learned in high school they would likely not remember or in the rare case repeat a textbook definition back to you because they were taught a catchy way to remember it. This is how it was on a daily basis for pretty much everyone. Now in college it may be the same in some classes and it might be different, but it should be something that should change. College is about expanding your knowledge and finding what you are interested in. Students won’t become interested in things that they have to memorize. Students are going to become interested in topics that they research and interact with. If you find yourself in discussions and group projects then you really have to dive into the material and discuss it with your classmates. This is where people really learn and retain information. If students are interacting with others and talking about various topics then they will be able to retain the information. This is how people learn by interacting, discussing and repeating these actions to retain the information. If professors hold discussions in class as opposed to putting information on a screen then students can actually conversate and talk about the material as opposed to just writing it down. If people are talking about a subject then they are not only actively discussing, but they are also going to be getting deeper into the subject as well. The topics will be expanded and compared to current and past situations. Overall discussing a topic as a group as opposed to taking notes and memorizing for a test will open things up to discussion and conversation, this will lead to topics being more in depth and students will retain the information at a much higher level.

  5. All throughout school I personally have found myself spending more time trying to quickly memorize what I think will be on a test or quiz then actually understanding the topic. As Seth states “the compliance mindset of “will this be on the test?” simply sets us up to believe the next thing that we’re supposed to learn.”. Do students currently want to understand or simply get through school and to their goal? At this point, I do not believe that is the goal for students but we can change that this fall by allowing them to think and analyze rather recall. With students not being forced to take standardized tests in person and required to do more self-taught learning under the environment the doors to learning are opened more broadly. All of us are extremely capable of self-taught learning and exploring the facts for ourselves rather than what we are told as everyone has a bias of some sort. Although facts cannot be subjective and as Seth states “People are not entitled to their own facts–and understanding helps us discover the ones that matter” we need to find the truth for ourselves. We are not entitled to our own facts but rather entitled to explore the facts. A new self-directed, project-based learning will help us get to that point as an education system. To reach your best form of learning you need to discover things for yourself rather only listen to others and I hope schools incorporate this correctly. If incorporated correctly students will have a stronger desire when learning. Researching topics of more interest for themselves and less stress of pure test-taking will grant students freedom most have not felt before. My generation feels to be less of test-takers and more of doers and learning from experience. Personally, I am okay taking tests but I would rather have the freedom to do projects and explore the real world. Must we continue withholding the full opportunity of learning to future generations or can the handcuffs be broken off? We all wish for a smarter, well-thought, and experienced society, so lets’s make it happen.

  6. This blog post is one that interested me. Since taking this class, I have grown a liking to Seth’s Blog. I have already commented on a previous post regarding cheating. I appreciate his insight and agree with what he says as of right now. In this particular article, I agree with everything Seth says. One point that he brings up is how we are never taught to understand. Instead, we are forced to learn how to memorize. This is something Professor Shannon says frequently as well. As almost anyone can tell, there is a distinct difference between understanding and memorization. I can remember countless times where I had to memorize certain things for tests in high school. After the original tests, I forgot all of those things. I had to relearn them for the final exam but after that, they left my brain. This is a common thing that happens with students today, and Seth mentions it in this article. Being able to understand certain concepts is way more important than memorization. Seth also makes the point that students are always at the mercy of the ones assigning the tests. Though this is an interesting way to look at it, it is true. Personally, I feel like everyone needs to learn how to motivate themselves to learn. Self-motivation is a skill so valuable that it can easily change the lives of many. Once someone is motivated to achieve a goal, that goal becomes one step closer to reality. The same principle applies to self-directed, project-based learning. If students are being taught skills like how to understand and are being taught skills that will actually help them in the real world, we can generate a generation of successful motivated people who will make a positive impact on this planet. In today’s society, students are forced to learn subjects they will never need in their futures, and in most cases, the students remember only a small fraction of what was taught to them in school. This signifies a waste of time that could have been spent learning productive life skills that could have helped them in the real world. If we taught students how to understand instead of how to memorize, students nationwide would be substantially smarter than the generations before them, making the world a more educated place.

  7. In Seth’s blog he describes how educated people are taught to memorize and not to understand. Already completing over a decade of schooling I know how true this is. Constantly students’ study for a test, but the studying is done over a few days and it is memorized not retained for a long period of time. Personally, after tests I am relieved because I am not worried about getting every answer right on a test. Seth mentions how project-based learning can open a new door for students. Students doing projects on their own, without trying to please a professor or teacher, could help them retain information about the topic their learning. In our Legal Foundations class, we are told to do extensive research and these blog comments, and I have learned more information in this class than in every other one of my classes. This is due to the partial self-teaching. We are given instruction and are research the topic on our own. This helps me retain information on not only our given subject, but information on news around the world. Living in the real world does not mean knowing every astronomy question but doing astronomy research instead and remembering the information we look up because it is something, we purposely looked up to find out about. In most cases, I can remember interesting information I looked up for a class, but book work does not help me in the slightest. This may be due to the extensive hours taking notes on textbook information. For me, after a few hours taking notes for every class my attention span is very low. Self-directed projects not only allow students retain information, but lets students learn how to figure out obstacles on their own. With online learning there is many difficulties with technology, whether it is not being able to post something or the wi-fi is down students must figure out a way to overcome an obstacle. Self-directed learning has many positive effects and while starting self-directed learning at a young age it can better prepare students for a successful future. Learning to not just memorize information for one test is the most valuable skill a student can learn, for the mere fact that it promotes a successful future. The student’s career will be successful if self-directed learning is implemented because they will carry a wider skill set and a variety of information to their career. Starting self-directed learning and project-based learning at a young age could ultimately give students a greater hope to a successful future.

  8. Reading this article lead to a very thoughtful discussion, following the reading. Thinking about how we were taught to not be able to “understand”, and only learning to memorize, made me really think about my education. I think that this is a very true statement according to the way the education system is structured in America. Growing up we are told to memorize things to be able to learn them, but I believe that i just memorized them and never truly understood the actual concept behind it. What I think is really interesting to think about is college classes nowadays and how they are online, and on zoom. There is no more ability to memorize, because every class has become an open discussion forum. I think that it is interesting to note that now we have to find this new element of “understanding”. With this new idea of being self started, I think that we will have to change the education system starting young. I think that this will also change based on how the newer generations are now starting on zoom, due to COVID. Being able to change the education system, will end up creating a ripple effect and lead into the work industry. I think the more efficient we become the more work that will get done and the world may move at a faster pace.

  9. Being educated and different learning styles is something that I have learned is vital to learn about as you grow up. Learning about yourself and the way your mind works is so important to help you retain information and to help you grow too. Every person is different, and everyone learns a different way, so you must interpret information in the best way for you, in order to retain and understand it. There are a couple huge problems with schools and education that do not allow some students to flourish. Most classes are taught one specific way, and no other. That is a problem because these schools and teachers expect students to learn the information in one certain way no matter who you are. This has led to students adapting and creating new ways to do well in school. But this does not mean they are learning and retaining the information. That has been what the major problem with virtual learning is. A lot of students do not learn well at home or virtually, but because of COVID, they are forced to work and study at home. Many students have taught themselves to memorize information for quizzes and tests and will do whatever they need to pass a class. The mentality of your grade being the one thing that matters, and counts is not a good way for people to genuinely learn new information. But it is not only these students’ fault. It is the system we have been raised in. The SATs and ACTs are two tests that you must take in order to apply to most colleges. How you do on these standardized tests can determine what college you go to and your future. That is crazy to me. Everyone learns different, and a lot of people are not good test takers. I have had many very intelligent friends that were much smarter than me but did not do well on tests. And just because they are not good test takers, that means they cannot get into certain universities. A good thing that has come from my first couple years of college is that a lot of professors offer many different ways to learn and do assignments. I feel that I have been able to learn more in college than I ever have in high school, and it is because of the freedom professors give their students. Unfortunately, the American school systems have a long way to go in order to help all different types of learners grow and succeed in our society.

  10. I am the first to admit that, throughout my educational career, I am often more concerned with learning for a test rather than learning for the sake of learning. From creating Quizlets and memorizing key terms, people, and events to practicing the same math formula over and over again, I hardly ever stop to ask: “Why is this important?” or “How will this aid me in the future?” Rather, as Seth Godin suggests, I ask the question: “Will this be on the test?” Most of the forms of education that I have experienced throughout my life have been focused on the regurgitation of information, concepts, and ideas. I am told what is important and that I need to know it to succeed in a class, school, life, etc. Period.

    The creation of more self-directed, project-based learning forms is in the best interest of everyone, whether they are currently in school or in the workforce already. Learning is something that never stops. You may have to be trained when you are hired to work a particular job or learn something new or insightful as you read a novel. Instead of being expected to simply memorize information and be able to interpret it, we should be focusing more on critical-thinking, understanding, and perseverance. Introducing a problem and having to find your way to a solution will always be a better source of education than being told what is the correct way. The brain processes at work when you are actively trying to figure out an obstacle in your way will help you substantially more than trying to apply a memorized solution. Project-based learning allows multi-faceted approaches to problem-solving and critical thinking, while memorization and regurgitation are only available to work in specific situations.

    Godin’s message is both simple to understand and simple to implement. Instead of forcing students into rooms to perform standardized tests, we should be encouraging them to seek knowledge wherever their interests lie. These interests can be much better utilized than a standard, overarching curriculum created for every student regardless of what motivates them to succeed. I know that I would be much more encouraged to learn for the sake of learning if the things I am being taught are interests of mine, rather through the fascination or necessities. Furthermore, being introduced to a project that requires me to work towards a goal or outcome will give me the ability to work through any trial I may face along the long road of life. As Godin suggests, regurgitation and memorization should be out while self-directed, project-based learning should be in.

  11. From my perspective, public education is described very accurately by Seth. There have been plenty of classes where I was forced to memorize material which I had no interest in “learning”, simply so I could pass a test or quiz and then forget the material the next day. This sort of “education” ultimately ends up producing mediocre intellect, as adolescents that should be learning topics of their interest are instead being coerced into memorizing facts to fill out bubbles on sheets of paper or regurgitate information back to the person in a position of power so that the person who is given authority can judge the quality of your thoughts based on a system of numbers that are used to determine your potential worth in society.

    Countless hours throughout years of schooling have been wasted due to lack of interest in the topics discussed and the way in which education is conducted. Depending on the administration of where students attend school, little freedom is given for students to choose to attend classes of their interest. For example, in my own high school, we were only given the ability to choose one to two classes (three if the student was in higher leveled classes to finish graduation requirements early) out of the eight that were assigned for the year. Though the school offered a wide variety of topics that I could choose from, I had limited ability to attend classes of my interest. Rather than being given the ability to attend, for example, classes focusing on government, philosophy, business, or law (all of which I have ample interest in understanding), I am required to attend science classes or higher level math classes pertaining to material which I will never use or see again. If given the opportunity to attend more classes pertaining to my individual interests at a younger age, I would have definitely jumped at the notion, considering that only now am I really starting to get into the topics related to my interests and my career of choice.

    College, however, has been a positive experience in regards to education quality, especially compared to my public education experience. In college, professors are more engaging and are more willing to push boundaries on assignments and topics of discussion. The education is less based around memorization and more around understanding and critically thinking. Thus far, I had the ability to take classes that were very interesting to me and that pushed me to explore different topics and perspectives that were either not mentioned during public education or not discussed enough in depth to allow students to have a greater understanding of their surrounding environment. Adolescents should be taught from a young age to question information given to them rather than simply just accepting what is told as the way things should be. Group discussion and critical thinking will ultimately benefit all individuals, as the experience of being exposed to the perspectives of others will shape peoples’ ability to solve issues effectively and find other issues that still are yet to be resolved.

  12. A quote that stands out to me from Seth’s blog post is “Self-direction unlocks our ability to contribute for a lifetime, whereas preparing for the test ensures that we will always be at the mercy of the person who is giving the test. People are not entitled to their own facts–and understanding helps us discover the ones that matter” The education system cranks out children ready to follow orders. They do this to the detriment of many creative minds that get crushed into submission by years of standardized tests. The restrictive classroom environment is one of the biggest problems in America, and I am a firm believer that a phenomenal education system is a foundation for a free-thinking and productive society. If we allowed children to follow their curiosity in a safe, structured, and encouraging environment, we could completely change how the average person thinks. The problem with changes in the education system is that results can be extremely subjective and take decades to reveal themselves. Our current system was designed to create factory workers who follow orders, which worked wonders in industrial society. However, as we move into a more service-based and rapidly changing economy, we need free thinkers. Freethinkers that are born into an education that supports and creates them because the potential for creativity is in everyone until the light burns out. This creativity would also allow America to maintain its lead in intellectual property. All the best companies are American made.
    Today people are waking up to the idea that the system is designed to pump out set takers and stand up, but they cannot think critically. This can lead to extremism, riots, and ideological fallacies that don’t stank up to some critical thinking but can easily be taught in a way that appeals to a larger audience. People are not entitled to their facts, but plenty will find lies with a façade of facts and lack the free-thinking integrity needed to question what they see. Opportunists can hack the human mind and abuse individuals who don’t know any better. People need to learn how to learn and develop. They don’t like all need to pass meaningless tests. Exceptional minds need the freedom to learn how to deal with themselves on top of learning everything else. It is a massive burden but pressuring these kids to fit into a mold can frustrate them and make them resentful and angry. Seth also mentions TV, which I think is the least of our issues now. Social media has replaced the television in the brainwashing of our youth. Parents freaked out about TVs but seemed complacent when their kids are being preyed on by algorithms that want nothing more than their kid to be a slave to the advertisers.

  13. After fifteen years of formal education, I feel I can personally attest to the (unfortunately common) idea that grades are king in academia. Grades, GPA, and class rank terrorize the minds of students across the nation, and even across the world; during my high-school experience, I witnessed students become so anxious about passing exams that they would lock themselves away for hours and forgo sleep, food, and socialization in the hopes that their study efforts would award them 5% higher on their exam. These toxic habits wreak havoc on students’ mental health and, in my opinion, the student’s manic efforts to memorize the right answer impedes their ability to even understand the underlying concept at hand. Current education systems perpetuate these behaviors by placing exorbitant amounts of emphasis on grades and GPA, rather than ensuring that any material is actually absorbed.
    As Seth’s Blog suggests, students– and society at large– were never taught to understand; the social implications of failing to teach individuals to understand manifest in widespread acceptance of ignorance and surface-level understanding, which creates the potential for misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and misconception among society. In addition, a lack of personal understanding creates an environment where it is acceptable to blindly follow another individual’s ideas purely because of the individual’s perceived status or intelligence. The consequences of not learning to understand combined with an unwillingness to understand has the power to tear communities apart, as evidenced by US current events and social movements. The truth of the matter is that the United States is riddled with bigotry, hatred, and intolerance due to a lack of understanding and acceptance among our diverse communities. In my opinion, this national problem stems from the blind and inflexible acceptance of opinions on complex fundamental issues without proper research on the legitimacy or soundness of such opinions.
    All hope is not lost for students or individuals, though. Seth’s Blog mentions “self-directed learning” as an amendment for current learning practices and asserts that “self-direction unlocks our ability to contribute for a lifetime.” Self-directed learning requires personal initiative to discover fundamental information that will ultimately allow for a more comprehensive understanding of concepts. I believe that the achievement of a deeper level of understanding requires a shift in priorities; we must overthrow the acceptance of ignorance in favor of a new idea, one that emphasizes learning and understanding. In the current state of education, students are in a position to take charge of their learning through self-directed, project-based learning rather than going to school to submit a paper and receive a letter grade. In the current state of the nation, citizens are in a position to educate themselves on current events and debates through personal research and respectful dialogue between themselves and others; only after these measures are taken do I believe that America will be able to truly understand and rationalize the basis of each argument and come to a mutual understanding. Learning to understand requires personal accountability, initiative, patience, and acceptance. Students and individuals armed with these tools to understand have the potential to unlock a better and brighter future for themselves and society as a whole.

  14. There is a divide when discussing whether memorizing for exams actually helps in the long run or if people just memorize information and drop it after taking an exam. The debate whether exams are necessary is not as simple as asking do we keep them or get rid of them. There are numerous external factors that need to be considered when discussing this topic. This includes who benefits most from having exams. People who want to become doctors or lawyers are expected to have memorized the symptoms of diseases or the state and federal laws that will readily help a client. Studying “strengthens memory pathways” for future uses of that information when needed (Daley). Memorizing information helps recall the information quicker in the future. Exams must also be “fit for purpose” so each assessment is appropriate to the specific learning goal trying to be accomplished (Daley). Relating this to business related classes, one could argue that replacing an exam for a self-constructed presentation or group project helps students prepare for the business world by learning how to publicly speak or work in teams which will then help prepare students for a future in business.

    We cannot remove exams from schools completely because students will not feel the importance of paying attention in class unless their grades depend on something other than exams. If more weight was put on class participation, then students may take that push to pay better attention in every class to make sure they actively speak in discussions and ask questions to further their understanding. Exams are necessary to learn and prove comprehension, but I believe altering exams so they are more open notes helps more than closed notes. Students prepare for closed note exams by memorizing information to regurgitate it on exam day, but open note exams are a way for students to look up information from a variety of sources including textbooks, notes, presentation slides, and the internet. When students do this, they are able to synthesize information on their own time which gives them extra time to digest the information. This way of test taking is a “learn by doing” strategy that makes sure the student is putting in the extra work to find correct answers (Farrell). When students take exams without notes, they are speeding through all of their information trying to take in as much as they can in a short amount of time.

    With the introduction of learning on your own this year, I have noticed my professors have adjusted their lesson plans to try and incorporate more self taught assignments or group projects that are more interactive. Personally, I think this is helpful because it forces you to exercise skills that you may not be using otherwise when in the classroom racing against the clock for an exam.

  15. This blog perfectly describes the issues with traditional-schooling systems and provides a crucial call to action that many teachers and school officials need to take into consideration. From my 15 years of schooling, I can tell you that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell—but I could not tell you why. I can list the elected presidents in the US, but I cannot tell you anything specific about them. I can tell you that to get the slope of a graph you use the formula y=mx+b, but I would not know how to apply that to a real-world situation. I could go on and on about memorized information, as I am sure many of my classmates can too. That is the problem with traditional learning that revolves around testing in schools. Students are taught, since kindergarten, that to succeed academically, they need to achieve good grades through memorization of facts. Clearly students do not comprehend and retain that information because many my age most likely could not pass a 6th grade science test.

    With the current standing of our world, and online learning being a reality in many households across the nation, this article is poking at teachers to give more project-based learning assignments. The self-direction skills gained from completing projects successfully give students the knowledge of how to accurately retain important information. For projects, students are actively researching, analyzing, and comprehending information about a given topic. On a test, students are merely studying and memorizing information. Giving students this opportunity to fully understand information through projects is more beneficial to their overall academic career than any other form of learning.

  16. I thought this blog was very informative and really made you think about the traditional way of school and what school may be moving towards the future. Due to COVID our children are forced to learn a new way. In the end this could benefit our children and how they adapt to learning quickly. Not everyone learns well in a traditional setting and now with technology allows us to learn another way. As an online learner it’s not about memorizing information in order to take a test. It allows you to study different and use different apps to help you study and learn new information. As a mother of now online learners and an online college student myself we all have adapted to a new way of learning and I truly believe we will see more of “online”learning in our future.

  17. In his blog, Seth provides powerful insight between project-based learning and memorizing. I do agree with him that project-based learning will allow students to achieve a better understanding of the materials as opposed to memorizing. And with a better understanding, comes the ability to utilize the materials that are taught in the future.
    As he mentioned many times we memorize materials for a test in school with the goal of passing the test, and then we move on to the next topic. I believe that this creates two problems. The first is that our retention of the subject matter may diminish as we move on to the next topic, and more importantly, memorizing a set of facts does not teach students how to apply them in a real-world situation. Projects that inspire self-direction and critical thinking have a more fundamental value that will prepare students for the challenges that they may face as they enter the workforce, and that they may face throughout their lives. Knowledge is a wonderful thing; however, the true power of knowledge lies in the ability to use it.
    In project-based learning exercises we develop the simpler skills such as time management to the more complex skills of implementing the knowledge that we have gained. In addition, students learn how to collaborate and explore their creativity along with critical thinking. Since we live in a project-based society, these skills will help to setup our future for success. Many of our daily home or work tasks focus around projects, whether it be organizing our children’s activities schedules, or doing a presentation for work.
    As schools, elementary through college, are returning this fall they are facing new challenges with many providing virtual instruction. While students may lose the daily face to face interaction between peers and instructors, this may be a perfect time to start working on some project-based learning activities.

  18. This blog is one that caught my eye because it really makes the reader think. From birth individuals are always taught to memorize their work. This blog helps point that concept out, where it is shown, and how it affects us. This theory is mostly shown throughout the school system, and it affects everyone differently. This concept has affected me a lot personally in many ways and that is why this article interested me. Growing up I was always in the lower classes, and even then, I still barley managed to pass. I was always told that I needed to work harder and that I was not studying enough. All that pressure led me down a path of feeling ashamed and as if I were a failure because I was different. The past five years I have grown a lot mentally and realized that it was not just me. I am dyslexic and my brain does not let me memorize what I read. I can not understand what someone is saying, if I am trying to write at the same time. I skip lines, words are blurry, and if I read long enough my head hurts. I am different, yet there is nothing I can do about it. I worked extremely hard to be where I am with little help, but the problem is that all that work has not helped me a lot. I barley retained any of the information that I worked so hard to “memorize” so I could have passed the class. The reason I say little is because the way the school system is, is messed up. Everyone is different, and everyone learns different, and the system does not realize that. People are pushed to take classes and learn information that they may never use. On top of that, half of those kids do not really learn the information, they just study to pass the class. Personally, I have learned a lot more out of school than in school. I have learned how to live, and school does not teach you that. Unless one realizes that they are different and have their own path, they are set up to be like everyone else because the way the system is.

  19. For as long as I can remember, throughout school my teachers and everyone surrounding me have always emphasized on the importance of doing well on tests. I felt throughout my years of school my teachers judged knowledge based on test scores. I have many times found myself memorizing information for an exam to do well and as soon as that exam is over I forget most of it. When taught well and efficiently instead of just being pressured to memorize things, I can truly understand the material and actually remember it long term. I have always been someone who learns by doing. You could tell me numerous times how to do something, but it is not until I do it myself that I truly understand. I have always felt that tests are a poor representation of true knowledge. Sure, you could do well on an exam, but it does not measure any real depth of understanding. In Seth’s Blog he says, “Understanding opens the door to insight and to comfort with the data. Understanding is the platform we need to go to the next level… memorizing is a fragile house of cards, with no foundation. And the compliance mindset of “will this be on the test?” simply sets us up to believe the next thing that we’re supposed to learn.” I have seen and heard so many classmates ask this question in my years of schooling. If its not on the test automatically to them it does not matter or is deemed as useless information. I have found I learn and understand information the best in classes where there is not a lot of exams. When the pressure of feeling the need to memorize and cram information is not there, I can pay attention better to truly understand rather than memorize. Doing projects and more hands-on assignments is a better way to truly learn and understand information. These types of assignments allow for students to apply the knowledge they have learned, rather than spit out memorized facts and information. I think project-based learning leads to more knowledge and brighter individuals than memorizing for a standardized test. It is sad to me that a lot of people base intelligence from exam scores.

  20. The question this article raises is how can we young students learn best? The answer is to understand over everything else. The article’s definition of understanding is being able to better accommodate ourselves with the information rather than just knowing it for the sake of a test. Teachers want us to fully grasp what they are teaching, but truth be told there is only so much we could learn and it is hard to fully remember everything. It is not even with academics it is with life. We want to know everything and things will become necessary to remember and certain things will not. I find it easier for us to retain information that is needed for survival, like doing laundry, making food, brushing our teeth. For me personally, I do not know much about the psychology of people and how the human mind clicks, but I took a psychology class last winter and still remember a few key points. I talked about the Asch Conformity Experiment in a sociology course today.
    I think for us to best understand we need to try to take one or two things away from the course. I personally do not think in the long run it matters how “fun” a teacher makes the course, but instead if they can make us take something away from the class. I value the its and bits of information I can take to the future and apply to courses to come like I did today.
    In today’s day and age it is different than what it has ever been to learn. Due to the global pandemic, it has forced us to learn remotely and more independently than ever before. The keys for us to learn are retention and repetition of what we are learning. Classes are more so held to review and not for us to learn, which is a completely different tempo than what we all are accustomed to. I found myself going through the notes by myself or with another classmate, but it is up to us to be up to date with the material. The article praises the idea of self teaching being able to help us unlock our way of contribution. To be able to understand what we are teaching ourselves and being able to contribute to the betterment of society. Whatever we choose to study to perfect we can learn how to apply our new found knowledge to our chosen career path. It is like a teacher, sure they want us to get good grades and pass the test, us students do too, but the real teachers will go into the beginning of the class year trying to make us take something away from it. Students appreciate that, especially in the long run. Online classes take away from having that face to face interaction that can ensure some messages get through to us and now our hardest problem is discovering the motivation to do self teaching. What can we find ourselves doing that will be able to take away from? Well that is up to us, but for me personally the biggest challenge in life is applying yourself and the rest will work from there. My goal in my Introduction to Law: Contracts (BUS 210) is to challenge myself to self discover what I can take from the class and apply to my future.

  21. I feel like a lot of elementary school is simply just memorizing certain facts to be able to recite them on paper during a test. Ultimately, knowing things and being able to use them in real life is more important. Instead of writing them down on a test, practical application could benefit an individual more because if you think about it, learning the science behind how to make a fire isn’t as important as creating a fire. I went to a high school that was a trade school, which was good because through hands on learning I was able to see and understand to the point of being able to replicate some of the tricks of the trade even when I was not in class and I needed to replace a tire. The idea of “What do we need to know for the test,” is setting yourself up to forget. This means our style of living is test to test, but to fix this issue we would need to change the teaching and learning system. We would need to make tests more hands on and less about competition. A test where to answer a question you have to do it in front of everyone on the board, 2 questions to solve per student. This way the teacher can see where exactly the student is struggling. This is an idea I came up with on the spot so if the education department really puts their heads together, they could definitely come up with a better way of educating students so they can understand and not just recite.

  22. While memorization purely for testing’s sake contributes little to the learning and understanding of a topic, self-direction is not for everyone. Exploring a topic in-depth and discovering new information is a very beneficial way to expose oneself to new material, however, this individual pursuit can be just as beneficial with a proctor or instructor to guide the way. Not every student works the same way and some students, like myself, benefit from some supplemental instruction in addition to individual discovery. Students may feel like they are free floating, especially in a course which presents entirely new material to the students. Perhaps this apprehensiveness to such independent study, however, is induced by our education’s history of failing our student population by not preparing students for the inevitability of the irrelevance of memorization. Information is memorized specifically for exams and then forgotten, this method of study does not increase knowledge but it is perhaps the most efficient way to teach education when the workload does not allow for pensive self-direction and discovery. Having the freedom of a pursuit of knowledge on such loose terms is refreshing but it is a method of learning that must be effectively taught, not something that students are thrown into without the proper tools to stay afloat and learn to adapt under such already extreme circumstances like a pandemic. Self-directed learning is a fantastic idea that encourages student-lead research and discovery, however, it can only be beneficial when it is taught and when it exists in a system that allows for educational freedom.

  23. Many colleges rely on things such as your SAT score or any standardized test score which is ridiculous in my opinion. Many people are not good test takers and for their acceptance to be relied on by a test score is not fair. Standardized tests are often, if taken at the right time, on subjects and topics that you have not yet learned. As the article mentions, “The problem is that no one taught us to understand. Instead, we are pushed to simply to memorize.” No one teaches to teach and to make sure that you know the material. Instead, we memorize material in order to well on the test and to make sure that we get a good grade. In order to excel in life, we must understand and comprehend the material that is given to us. Every class that I have taken in high school was based on memory. Only when I got to college did I realize how much of a difference it makes to actually sit down and learn the material than to just simply memorize it for the exams. As you progress through college, you take more classes based on your major and if you do not recall the information that you learned in the previous courses you will struggle because you are not in that class to be retaught what you learned in previous courses.
    One main thing that caught my eye in this article was the idea that, “We can create a pattern of teaching people to be curious because curiosity is an engine for learning…” This is the best way to learn. When you are curious and interested to learn more that is when learning will benefit you and you will actually retain the information. People that are not interested in what they are the learning are the ones that will not be a successful because they are just learning to memorize. In my personal experience, when professors are going over the material and reviewing for an exam the most common question when going over something is, “will this be on the exam?” Instead of focusing on all the material people are more focused on memorizing what will be on the exam. I agree knowing what is on the exam is important but if you know all of the material and have a strong understanding of everything then you should not have to worry what details will be present on the exam because you will know everything already.
    Interaction and communication with others is the key to a deeper understanding. There are going to be times when you do not understand something, and your other classmates will and vise versa. If you are engaged in conversation and interacting with other students it will benefit the knowledge that you are gaining and will help you learn everything if you are actively speaking about it out loud.

  24. For me, when it comes to learning in school, I believe that high school was the biggest waste of time. I think this because whenever I went to classes and had exams, students spent more time cheating than actually studying. Furthermore, in high school, I feel like I focused on getting better grades than actually understanding the material. In the article, the author stresses “no one taught us to understand”; I completely agree with this statement because throughout the first 14 years of school have taught us to memorize. We were “taught” enough to do well on a test, but after that test the information does not stay because the information was never processed. This is very worrying because most students are fine with not learning the material and getting good grades. The new method of teaching that the author provides is very interesting as he promotes a “self-directed, project-based learning” instead of sitting down and taking an exam. The author believes that re-doing projects will allow students to understand and discover information without being uninteresting and tedious. I love this idea because it puts students in a better state to learn; without students having to stress about exams and a lot of homework, they are able to come to class, pay attention without being bothered, and learn through doing projects that are interesting and helpful. Although projects are a great idea, I still do believe exams are needed, especially for some specific work fields. This is because some work fields need to know the vocabulary in order to be successful. However, if one wants to become a chef, then they would not need to study more with vocabulary and terms, but rather should consistently cook and learn from repetition. We should allow people to choose what they want to do, rather than force them to learn a certain topic. People tend to learn more and better when they are less stressed from other work, whether it is school work or having a job. To conclude, I believe that learning should be based more on projects rather than memorizing terms and vocabulary so that students can learn the concepts and actually enjoy what they are learning.

  25. Learning is the key to the future as it will help develop new ideas that will challenge the status quo of the world today. The world changes when ideologies change or when we discover something new whether it be in technology, in space, or even on our own planet. Progress is seen when we push our limits, not when we are satisfied in what we have accomplished already, and many people are. Not that it is a problem –just unfortunate that most of us lose that curiosity as we grow older, facing the many real responsibilities of life. As the article says, the best way to understand is at our youth. The sooner we pick up on the habit of learning beyond what is required, the sooner it becomes something of our everyday lives. Our education system focuses too heavily on deadlines and word count as opposed to grading students on their creativity. When they are rewarded for meeting those requirements, it trains them to do the minimum and rarely anymore.

    Education can only do so much, however, because at the end of the day, it is up to the individual to decide if they want more. A key to learning and understanding more is there has to be a passion. Whenever somebody truly enjoys something, they tend to have a lot of knowledge about it and will continue to love and learn about it has time goes on. It is such a rudimentary concept that we do not realize the many possibilities that could arise out simply finding something we enjoy. The Challenger Deep mission in 1960 was headed by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh, two oceanographers and marine enthusiasts. They spent a majority of the lives on or under the water – so much to the extend it became their lives and their legacy. In January, their submarine reached maximum descent – 10,916 meters underwater, and it is still the furthest anyone has ever gone under. Education was not the thing that accomplished this feat – they did. Simply learning did not put them more than 6 miles underwater as they took it upon themselves to do more than meet the minimum. It is an extreme example, yes, but the extreme is what we can do if we choose to take that route. There is nothing holding us back from discovering that new cure or creating that fantasy world – there is nothing stopping us besides ourselves and the effort and the drive. And we see that drive really only when we are dealing with something we love. The point is to find that something you love, learn about, and great things can happen.

  26. From the moment we are born, we are constantly told to memorize. Throughout grammar school, you were given a study guide to help prepare you for the upcoming test. If you “memorized” the terms on the study guide, you can easily pass the test. That is what the teacher told you and they were right. After the test, where does all the information go? It ends up leaving your memory and disappearing into thin air. What is the point of learning or memorizing something if you are only to forget it the next day? In my opinion, children should learn to critical think and understand terms so they can use that information later in life.

    I know from my study habits that only memorizing gets me nowhere. When I was in high school, I would barely study and still manage to get good grades. When I began my freshman year of college, I knew I had to study for my first test. I reviewed all my class notes and the power points. I thought I did really well on the test, but I was very wrong. I could not figure out what I had done wrong and I lost some confidence in myself. I ended up going to tutoring sessions and they told me college is not just about memorizing. You need to absorb the material and understand it. This was my first lesson on understanding material, not just memorizing. Using the phrase “This will be on the test” sets you up for completely loss of information and may cause you to forget. You know you only need it for the test, so it will not matter after the test. This mindset could affect future generations because the population will have a hard time thinking outside the box. If we learn to critical think and understand instead of memorize, it will benefit our future and the worlds future in the long run.

  27. By having students memorize instead of practice critical thinking, they miss out on the opportunity to formulate their own opinion. It takes time to develop the ability to absorb a large quantity of information, some of which could be contradictory, and then come to a conclusion about a topic or problem. Instead, their opinion is whatever they assume will get them a good grade, lacking any true depth and understanding.
    That is why I believe that a reliable test of whether one’s opinion has any depth is whether they can write a good essay about it. I consider writing a formalized form of thinking because it requires you to argue or support an idea coherently. Anyone can have an opinion, but only a person who arrived at theirs carefully and systematically can write a great deal on it while ensuring that it is well constructed, with logical, smooth flowing ideas, and develop main ideas both horizontally and vertically. Bonus points if the writer can inject some of their individuality into the piece.
    While they sound like simple concepts, they are difficult to implement well without practice. For over six years, I schooled in South Africa, and we were taught how to write creative essays rather than argumentative ones. I got excellent grades all my life, but once I moved to the US and went to university, I struggled in classes that were writing-heavy, particularly the Honors Program and BLAW (on the first attempt). However, I have done a lot of writing since, and have noticed my ability to think logically has improved drastically.
    There have been times that I read what I’ve put into an essay and realize what I thought was wrong. Sometimes the support for a particular argument is too weak or nonexistent, two or more ideas are glaring contradictions, or something is just plain gibberish. While its painful to select multiple paragraphs and hit the delete key, it is necessary to go back and reevaluate your idea. I have even started writing about topics I thought I knew a lot about, only to arrive at a dead-end after 200 words. Now I can be this thorough without needing to write it out.
    From these experiences, I have formed a strong belief that teaching children how to write will develop their ability to think critically. While the process of teaching writing is time-intensive, the effort must be made to make this a priority.

  28. The term “educated” can have many meanings. It is unclear who is properly educated. Two people may have the same exact level of education, but it may be that only one is truly educated. Understanding something is a factor that is dismissed at many times. The way the education system was set up, before the pandemic, allowed students to memorize information, recite it on a test, and forget the information again.

    I, myself, have been guilty of this. I have passed many tests by cramming the night before. If I were to have been asked about any of the information days later, I would not be able to answer. This, as the blog states, creates a “fragile house of cards, with no foundation.” Going through your education this way may present positive results, but it is bound to not end well. Once real-world applications present themselves, you will be unable to act upon them.

    If people only memorize things temporarily, it is difficult to know when you actually understand something. Copying a phrase down or following along to practice problems and thinking it makes sense is not understanding. Understanding is knowing the information without the cheat sheet and being able to explain why the answer is what it is. You may think you understand something, but if that knowledge is challenged it would be revealed that you do not. Learning how to understand information is very valuable, as it lays the foundation for a knowledgable life. Learning how to understand allows someone to take the steps necessary to continue their education and stand out from the people who do not do this.

    The new form of learning has created a larger sense of independence in students. Understanding the material is more important than ever, as students are not bound to a desk to learn. It may be more difficult for students, but it is ultimately beneficial to them. Actually understanding the information being taught to students will give them the education they are paying so highly for. The resources are all there, and it is up to students if they want to be educated or just have high grades.

  29. In this article the author discusses the ups oof self-directed learning and why memorization of things and preparation for just the test is the wrong way for kids to learn. I can completely agree with this statement because I have been through it myself. As a student I know that simply memorizing what is on the test is the easiest way to pass the test and get a good grade. After that test is over I dump everything I learned out of my head and prepare for the next test, actually learning minimal of what I aced the test knowing. This is a toxic way of learning in my head because especially material that I need to learn for my major, I do not tend to learn as fluently as I should. Granted this usually happens in classes that I care less about, such as history. I realize that I will need to know a lot of math and business for my major, so I make myself learn all the materials and keep them in my head. This is an example of what the article calls self-directed, project-based learning. This is where students help themselves by learning the material, not only to memorize, but to understand them. The article explains project-based learning as, “instead of a rush toward compliance and butts in chairs and pencils on tests. Shipping the project, proving it works and then doing it again. Learning by doing. Self-direction unlocks our ability to contribute for a lifetime, whereas preparing for the test ensures that we will always be at the mercy of the person who is giving the test. People are not entitled to their own facts–and understanding helps us discover the ones that matter.” I feel that already this sounds like a better way of learning material and keeping it in my brain, instead of memorizing and just forgetting soon after. It is proven that understanding the material is more beneficial then memorizing the material, if you do not know what it means. I agree with this article in bringing this up and stating that it is the perfect time to start implementing this type of teaching style. Since everyone is at home and learning by themselves anyway it is a great time to start assigning projects and having the students learning for themselves. Overall, this article could change a lot about the style of teaching in the upcoming years of our lives.

  30. When we talk about ‘educated’ individuals, what do we mean? Does the term refer to those people that are the most academically-inclined, or is it mentioning those that yield the most schooling? Could it mean those with the most experience in their field, surpassing the social norm with practical knowledge, opposed to general knowledge? Personally, I interpret Seth’s use of ‘educated’ to describe the people who sit at their desks and work uninterrupted for the entire day, everyday, seven days a week. This way, they have what is commonly called ‘book-smarts’ and not ‘street-smarts.’ Thus, there is a bit of inexperience found in their lives. When you have book-smart kids, they do exactly as Seth described: learn, then forget. They spend several hours a day to soak up information, utilize that knowledge the day of their tests, and then dismiss it as soon as the test is over. I have guilty of this on several occasions.

    In this blog by Seth, he brings up a valid point: often times, kids will temporarily retain information taught by professors and teachers alike just to put it onto paper when the date of a test is due, but almost always block it out whenever finished. With only a few exceptions, all my teachers have taught me this way from the very beginning. Dating back to elementary school, the style and method of teaching have been extraordinarily systematic and regulated. One would think there are bland standards imposed to provide children with the bare minimum of what they need to know in order to pass. On second thought, that does not sound too far off from what they currently do. In university life, however, a couple more professors than usual put an emphasis on ‘educating,’ not just ‘lecturing.’ Pleasantly surprised by this change in events, I put forth my best effort to accomplish everything asked of me whilst actually absorbing information for periods longer than a couple days. Especially in this course, I was able to recite some of the cases we reviewed in class when discussion of the Supreme Court came up. Thus, I have learned from this class, unlike classes in grades prior.

    Throughout my years in the Applied Math and Science Academy (AMSA), I learned at an early age that it never mattered what you retained and used in-person because that practicality would never be found on the tests. This was hurtful to discover first-hand. That is, until I was accepted at Seton Hall University. Finally, I told myself that I would apply myself more than I have ever in the past. It worked, to say the least. Dreams that I had growing up are finally beginning to spark into reality. Ultimately, I am here to learn and receive a proper education, and that is what I intend to do. Of course, there comes times when I ponder if something so particular is needed in my daily life, but then I reassure myself that everything plays into a bigger picture. Resourcefulness in life comes from those who are capable of multi-tasking and doing a number of things. Thus, Seth’s intentions on pushing forth a certain type of learning are the most beneficial to humanity.

  31. “Will this be on the test” is something that I heard all too much during my four years of high school. For my entire life I have been drilled with exams and quizzes about the content that we had learnt in class for a period of time. After that period of time, I would never have to use that information again. Many a time, I would forget the information that I knew one week after the exam because I would not have to know it anymore. I can definitely say that I never really understood what I was learning because I never had to. Memorization was key because our ability to grasp the information was based on a number that we would receive on our test or quiz. Grasping and understanding what we have been taught allows us to apply what we have learnt to the real world and have a conversation about the material displays our understanding. I agree with the article that learning should be conducted through experience. The project-based learning puts students in situations that could simulate the bigger picture, also known as the job world. In the real job world, employees will not have to remember material just to regurgitate it out onto a piece of paper. Instead, they have to really know how to do their job in order to be successful. I do believe that understanding what is going on allows us to “contribute for a lifetime” because with how we have been taught, we only know the data for a short period of time and then it is gone. If everyone were taught how to learn at a young age, everyone would be able to formulate their own thoughts and ideas. People would not have to be so dependent on things, such as the news, and be able to use critical thinking and common sense to be able to solve a problem. I think schools should focus more on preparing kids for the real world and change the way students are analyzed. Doing this will put students in a much better position when it becomes the time to look for a job as opposed to the real world hitting like a bus. All in all, throughout my high school career I asked myself, “when will I use this in life.” School should take the approach of promoting critical thinking when dealing with issues. It could lead to a new wave of people able to apply information better than ever before.

  32. As a current college student taking courses in a virtual environment, I found this article to be very interesting. I have always found the academic system to be flawed. The focus is put on student’s grades and GPA’s. Teachers and professors are always commenting on the importance of “earning a good grade on this exam to do well and get a good grade in the class.” Of course, every students wants to do well and succeed in their course, but such pressure has driven students to stray away from actually learning the material, and simply memorizing it. Brad Kuntz, a high school educator, wrote an interesting article for ASCD, an organization aimed to assist teachers in guiding their students to success. He stated that “grades are generally an account of points earned through various activities that are influenced by artificial deadlines, grade inflation, extra credit, and subjectivity.” Kuntz goes on to explain that in his experience, he found the students asking how to improve their grade, rather than asking how to better understand the course’s material. This is a prime example of the flawed schooling system.

    This past summer, I completed a finance internship with a large pharmaceutical company. What I learned, and the key takeaways I got out of my experience, taught me more than my past 15 years in school. Some of the knowledge from my academics did help me to be successful, but I found myself struggling to remember a lot of the material I had learned in my courses. Why? Because I was memorizing that material. I recognize that the school system is flawed, and yet I still fall victim to it. I find myself memorizing course material, and seeking to get the highest grade possible. Receiving grades that are below my personal expectations of myself send me into a panic. My supervisors and mentors gave me tons of advice, but one thing was unanimously number one on their lists: keep asking why. The simple question of “why” triggers more learning than other questions because in order to fully answer one’s question of why, there must be an understanding developed in the response. A one sentence answer that just spits out a fact of information will (typically) not answer the question of why. So, I took their advice, I took advantage of my curiosity and I continued to ask why things were done a certain way, or way we would choose one option over another, and it enhanced my learning substantially.

    That is where this article comes in. Having professors who just spit out facts and repeat information that is presented on a PowerPoint is not how students will learn. We need to have projects that allow us to investigate, ask why, and draw our own conclusions about material in order to fully understand it and really be able to apply it in our lives. Rather than focusing on getting good grades, schools should be focusing on developing student understanding.

    Kuntz, Brad. “Focus on Learning, Not Grades.” ASCD, May 2012, http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/may12/vol54/num05/Focus-on-Learning,-Not-Grades.aspx.

  33. Throughout the years of learning in school, we are forced into memorizing facts, information, certain formulas, etc., for exams and quizzes, but never fully comprehend the information which is being presented to us. When it comes to taking exams, students focus primarily on the grade aspect, as they just memorize the information in front of them to achieve the highest grade possible. While exams are something that is implemented at every grade level from Kindergarten all the way up through your college courses, we have to find ways for students to not just memorize the information, but also to understand it within its full context.

    Even during a time like now, were our schooling is all done virtually, I find myself not fully comprehending or understanding the information because we have to find new ways to learn the information being presented over zoom or pre-recorded lectures. When it comes to switching to a project-based learning technique, I believe that this will allow students to fully understand the information being presented and incorporate it into real-world situations to better help them grasp the information. While this project-based learning approach may not fully replace tests, it can help students do better on exams as they are understanding the information through another approach that is better for them and their education. Students are better able to express their approaches and creativity through this new project-based method, as compared to exams wherein most questions there is only one correct answer. These self-directed, project-based learning approaches is one of the best ways to be able to get students to understand the information being presented in a new dimension and expand on that through incorporating this information into real-world situations and scenarios.

  34. In this new normal of a universe, on the most controversial topics that is discussed is school. For a prime example, I go to school all the way in New Jersey and I live in the state of Virginia and am expected to work full-time and be a full-time student. If I was at school, I could devote all my time that I am not in the actual class, but instead, I am working somewhere where many people depend on me. The first thing that really stuck out to me from this article is the excerpt that says “The problem is that no one taught us to understand. Instead, we are pushed to simply to memorize. To be educated enough to do well on the test, and then to forget what we were taught, because we never actually learned it.” This is how most people go through school and now that it is online, it is even worse. I can personally say that since we have switched to this virtual format that are very few things that I have actually learned in my other courses; I definitely memorized it to do well on my assignment, but I did not learn It. The “will this be on the test” mindset is so dangerous because then people tune out some things that may actually have been important but because it is “not going to be on the test” it is deemed unimportant. I believe that it does not have to be on the “test” for something to be important. This can be a principle that can be carried on in life to stress the importance of paying attention to detail. With this new format, it changes the way that we would normally interact with each other and kind of alters the dynamic, but we have no choice but to adapt. Another thing is that the switch to online learning was not something that we could’ve prepared for or else I think the responses to the shift may be different. This is all so different, but I foresee hy-flex learning for many years to come.

  35. This article definitely resonated with me, since I believe I am not the best test-taker. I’ve always seen myself and everyone around me memorize everything, instead of actually trying to retain it. We are told that the majority of the things we learn throughout high school and sometimes college, are not things that we’re going to need in our future careers. It is engrained in our brains that we’re learning things that won’t be useful when we’re out in the real world, which then makes us unmotivated to learn them. I’ve found myself getting through many classes with difficulty until I got to college and I started taking classes I was actually interested in. Even though I still wasn’t thrilled to take tests or quizzes, I enjoyed what I was learning, because I knew they were things I needed for the career path I want to take. As the article says, “Understanding opens the door to insight”, which is essentially saying that we really gain nothing unless we’re learning and actually understanding the things that are being taught to us. We shouldn’t see things as “the next thing we need to memorize for a test” but simply something that can make us better and more insightful as human beings.

  36. I am a junior in college and most of my education has been based around my ability to take tests. These tests usually involve me memorizing material rather than comprehending material. Ever since I was in elementary school, I have been studying for tests by memorization. This habit has stuck with me and that’s how I went through middle school and high school. If I’m being honest, I don’t know how often I actually understood the material I was learning. I was always too worried about memorizing the material so I could receive an A in the class. As long as I received an A, my job was done. There was never an incentive for students to learn by doing. I was never really taught how to use the material in the real world. This article emphasizes the fact that “no one taught us to understand” because we are being pushed to focus on memorization. Most of us forget the material right after the test, which questions how educated we actually are. The article brings up the fact that educated people fall for scams and conspiracy theories too often because we don’t understand. I agree with the article and think that the term educated is used loosely by society.
    Since I’ve been in college, I have started to truly understand material more often because it is no longer about the letter grade. In the beginning, I was still using memorization quite a bit. However, now that I am taking upper level classes, memorization is no longer enough. There are still some classes where I need to use memorization but for other classes I need to have a true understanding of the material to pass. I have professors that want me to complete a course knowing I will be able to use the material I learned in my future career. In many of my classes, learning is doing. Meaning, I do projects and other self-directed work to understand the material, instead of taking tests. This has been very beneficial for me because the material has stuck with me. I think that all levels of education should focus more on projects and self-directed work.
    This article believes that schools now have the chance to focus more on self-directed and project-based learning this semester because of the circumstances we are in. I disagree with this statement because I think teachers are going to lean more towards the memorization method because it is easier with on-line teaching. It is very hard for students to stay focused at home and truly comprehend the material they are learning. It’s even harder for teachers to keep the students engaged. I can attest to this statement from personal experience. I don’t think there is going to be a lot of self-directed and project-based learning this semester.
    Teresa Richardson
    richardsote@rider.edu

  37. I have to agree with a bunch of the previous comments made. For example, Kevin said, “I think that, in my personal experience at least, schools do an adequate job in providing information to their students about scams and foolish theories. My schools have had classes dedicated to teaching students how to avoid scams, especially online ones in the era that we live in.” I agree with this point. My school had plenty of scam prevention courses that went back even into elementary school. We learned about dogisland.com and how it was a scam website and to never send a dog there. On another note, test taking is completely flawed in our education system. The material we are given to study is meant to be crammed in our heads and have it just be memorized but not understood completely. I also agreed with Theresa’s comment and where she said, “I was still using memorization quite a bit.
    However, now that I am taking upper level classes, memorization is no longer enough. There are still some classes where I need to use memorization but for other classes I need to have a true understanding of the material to pass.” This is completely the case. The memorization method is no longer adequate for my daily learning as the material is far to advanced just to gloss over it and hope for the best. This is all a shame to me as I am not a great test taker, i took hours upon hours of SAT prep courses and it only moved my grade up 20 points, the kids who didn’t study would get better grades than me on tests in high school, but now we need to fully comprehend the material before taking a test on it.
    The flaw of all of this is that our primary objective is to obtain the best letter grade possible, regardless of how far you take the material you learned in studying for the test, after the test. In my opinion we should start learning about things that we are exposed to in our daily lives and strive for the highest level of comprehension possible rather than the highest letter grade possible.

  38. This short blog article provides a great insight into arguably one of the major problems in today’s educational system: too much emphasis is placed on memorization in preparation for tests, instead of education through project-based learning. Hands-on learning has much more direct benefits than learning through lectures and memorization of notes and powerpoints.

    The author starts with the question: why do so many smart people fall for foolish scams and conspiracy theories? What is seemingly an odd question, he answers that people are never taught to truly understand. Instead, we are eager to “rush toward compliance” and memorization. Interestingly enough, the author claims that “memorization is a fragile house of cards, with no foundation” (a quote I really like!). This fragile house of cards has no base because it does not reinforce understanding, it instead leads us to “be at the mercy of the person giving the test.” Its fragility is evident in how ineffective memorization is at creating meaningful learning. So much of what the author says here has been a growing complaint of modern parents and even teachers. Many people question why our students are subject to the whims of the SAT, ACT, and whatever other standardized tests students are mandated to take. Do these even measure the knowledge of our students? Many, including teachers I have had, claim that memorization is the key when it comes to standardized tests; learning shortcuts and time-saving skills make all the difference in achieving the most desirable numeric score. All too often, school courses tend to follow a similar line of reasoning, leading students to cram for an exam, get an admirable score, and then simply move on to the material for the next exam, a cyclical process that fails to uplift students beyond their numeric score.

    The author’s solution to this problem: self-directed, project-based learning. Learning in which students are experimenting and discovering how processes work and uncovering the reasoning for why. This kind of hands-on learning is possible, especially in the age of COVID-19, the author argues because curiosity is the powering engine here. Students are at home, not in classrooms, which allows them to undertake self-directed learning, satisfying their curiosity by engaging in projects that enable quality learning. Not only would this give students something to do in a time when nearly everything is off-limits, but it would encourage interactive experiences that don’t require sitting on the sofa in front of the television. From my experience, project-based learning is the most memorable and meaningful form of education, yet it fails to be used enough. It puzzles me why people are so eager to jump to use technology and powerpoints, yet they aren’t as eager to have students do experiments or community projects, for example. Most often, I find that the sciences use project-based learning through labs, yet one might argue that they aren’t used enough. Is one lab per week really enough to spur curiosity and meaningful learning? And why don’t other classes find ways to take similar approaches?

    Another interesting observation made by the author is that “self-direction unlocks the ability to contribute for a lifetime.” It’s not an overly complicated theory: having students perform hands-on, independent experiments and activities will develop personal skills and knowledge that will be ever so valuable to their futures. I think the logic here is not only simple but justifiable: hands-on learning is more memorable, requires more effort/thought, and develops skills that traditional learning neglect. The hands-on learning that occurs with speeches, group projects, experiments, etc develops the critical thinking skills that memorization fails to touch upon. Studying for exams and tests can help them memorize facts and statistics, sure; however, in my opinion, understanding processes and complicated ideas is best done when the pencil and paper are saved for after the experiment.

  39. I have realized over the years that I just worry about what is going to be on the test so I can get a good grade rather than consuming the material for what is and to learn. Sometimes I just write down notes for me to look back a few days later and try to memorize it instead of writing down the material and understanding it at the same time. Since all of my classes are online this semester, I have been trying to form a habit of understanding as much as I can when I am learning the material the day of since I have all information right in front of my screen. Learning online is much more different than in a class setting because whenever a professor refers back to notes from previous classes, I would have to scatter through by binder and find out what my professor was talking about, but since classes are virtual I can just look on my computer. So far in the fall semester, I have seen that I am not getting as many exams as I would normally have since I am online now. It is more often I would see more projects that act as if it was the final for the course. I do believe that a lot of students like me just try to memorize the material until the exam but it is not a good habit to have since students have to build good habits before going off into the workplace. With classes that require much more information to learn, students might feel overwhelmed with the workload and will get into the habit of memorization just like Seth is talking about in his blog. If schools transition their students to get them to learn through more project based assignments at a younger age, I do believe the tendency of trying to memorize the material will soon be less of a habit than it is today. For high schoolers, when it comes the time to apply for colleges, they will do their best to increase their gpa through tests such as the SAT and ACT. I feel like the stress level would be reduced greatly if students didn’t have to memorize the subject right before the test and forget about it right after.

  40. After reading Seth’s blog, I could not agree more with his description of education. My experiences have been very similar to what Seth described. Going through school it is challenging to remember the information I memorized and tried to cram into my head for an exam to show I have read ad memorized what was taught in class. What I still remember going all the way back to elementary school, are the projects I did where I had to do research and apply what I learned in order to create something and provide my own research or opinion. When sitting in the classroom being lectured to, all you can do is take notes and try and comprehend what you are being told. Where as when you do a project, even if the results are not outstanding, you remember what you learned and the work you put in because you had to engage and think for yourself. When you listen to a lecture, take notes, try and memorize those notes and answer short answer questions on a test, you are not really learning. You are memorizing information where as soon as the test is over, you forget about it because that information served its purpose, and you did not apply it in anyway. I feel you learn much better when the classroom experience equips you with the tools you need to research and actually create something. It is much easy to learn when it feels like you are discovering the information for yourself and you are able to roam free within broad parameters of a project. I agreed with Seth when he said that we should care less about results and more about teaching kids how to learn and think for themselves. The way the school system is structured now is listen to what I have to say and repeat back to me how much you remembered. I think it would be far more valuable to teach students how to be good thinkers by allowing them the creative space of projects and throwing out results at a young age and focusing on how to become engaged learners.

  41. I consider myself to be a good student. I regularly ace tests, receive satisfactory grades on homework, and am receiving a great education; yet, part of me always wonders if this success is a result of memorization or actual understanding. I am curious if the topics learned in my undergraduate studies will fully stick with me as I enter the workforce. After much thought, I came to the conclusion that I will most definitely retain some information, but due to the structure of class and stress of grades, I may not absorb as much as I had hoped.

    I find that I learn best from self-directed project-based learning. This article forced me to perform an honest self-assessment of my learning style. With virtual restrictions, this semester has been an academic challenge for both professors and students. Though I understand the need for virtual class due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, this style of learning has not been entirely conducive to my education. In some classes, I have often felt as though I have been living from assignment to assignment and quiz to quiz with little retention in the process. After evaluating my recollection rates of material this semester, I found that I was most interested and had the deepest understanding of materials in classes which self-directed project-based learning. For example, in my Business Law and Ethics course, I have truly enjoyed my exploration of legal concepts through this style of learning. Admittedly, I was nervous about my learning with that specific class being asynchronous. At week seven in the semester, I can confidently say that this style of learning has played a large part of academic growth this year. Rather than memorizing definitions, I have been forced to learn and understand concepts though real-world scenarios and projects. The Buck Institute for Education describes the benefits of project-based learning explaining, “students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills… [unleashing] a contagious, creative energy among students.” I can most definitely attest to these academic transformations though my personal experience with project-based learning. This method of academic study has ultimately benefited my learning process and has molded me into a more involved, confident, and independent student.

    With immense amounts of academic pressure in a short timeframe, students are often forced to forgo their true interests and resort to short-sighted study habits to succeed. Though this semester has not been ideal, I have appreciated my new experiences with self-directed project-based learning. After reading this article, I plan to reevaluate and reprioritize my study habits in order to ensure that I have a lasting understanding of the material. I want my academic pursuits to be led by exploration and interest as opposed to memorizing for exam after exam.

    https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl

  42. This article makes some great points about some of the current problems involved with learning. There are many students today who simply memorize what will be on their test without ever actually understanding the material. When the end goal is simply to pass a class, it can be easy for a student to overlook the importance of the material they are learning. This is especially true if a student is taking a class that they don’t think is necessary or that doesn’t interest them. Take for example, an accounting student that is required to take a marketing class. Although marketing is a required class for the accounting student, the student might not necessarily be interested in marketing. For that reason, it may be tempting for the accounting student to just try to learn the information that will be on the test in order to spend as little time on the class material as possible. However, there are valuable things an accounting student could get out of a marketing class if they were to take the time to understand the material.

    Although at times it may seem like memorizing material that will be on a test is harmless and easy, there are many negatives to this kind of learning. First, is the fact that memorizing material for tests could actually lead to lower test scores. In my experience, memorizing practice problems and study guides is only helpful if the test follows the exact same format as the practice problems or the study guide. If test problems are designed to test the application of concepts that students don’t understand, then it will be unlikely for the students to perform well on the test. However, if a student actually understands the concepts and material, then that student should have no problem applying the concepts to different situations on a test. Another problem with memorization is that it prevents students from being able to apply class concepts to the real world when they get a job. A student that understands the material they learn in school is more likely to be able to apply that material to a situation in real life that can make their job easier or make them more successful. Finally, it can also be less stressful for students if they understand class material. Many times, students who just memorize the material can feel lost or confused during class, and that tension can cause a lot of stress. If students are able to understand what their professors are talking about and follow along in class, then they don’t have to experience that stress. Overall, it would be extremely beneficial for students to shift out of the mindset of memorizing the information that will be on a test and into the mindset of actually understanding the material.

  43. Rightfully so, Seth says the school system teaches kids to memorize, not learn. I think every student can agree with that statement. Studying five minutes before a test throughout middle and high school was enough to get a decent grade and be satisfied. As soon as I would hand in the test, the material I had memorized five minutes ago is all gone, but at least I did well on the quiz. Whatever information is posted on a PowerPoint or word document is all that so many students review, and it becomes a question of “how little preparation do I need to do in order to pass this test?” Like Seth says, this attitude of laziness is started at a young age when we allow children to spend so much time staring at a TV or iPad screen. Because of this, people’s attention spans are so short they are physically unable to sit in a chair and focus on studying for more than ten minutes. It is a shame that so few people genuinely want to learn instead of just getting by with doing the minimum.
    Although the school does favor memorization over learning, it is also the student’s responsibility to want to learn. However, that might be a burden to put on children, especially children who are not even in high school yet. Also, until they get to college, students have little say on what classes they take and are forced to take many classes that they probably have less than zero interest in. I believe that if the high school gave students more of a choice of the classes they take, interest in school would definitely be higher. Also, instead of teaching useless information that kids will never use, schools should consider teaching life skills like how to do your taxes or how to change a tire. When learning useful information that kids are genuinely interested in, students would be more likely to pay attention and learn rather than skate by just aiming to pass.
    Now that I am finally in college and can choose what I learn, I definitely pay more attention in class and spend more time on work overall. Although I have not declared a major yet and still am unsure about what I want to do, what I am learning now is better than being forced to take chemistry or biology and learn stuff that I will never need to know. Also, being around so many people who have the same goal and interests as you is a cool experience and something that people do not experience until they are in college.

  44. I think teachers want kids to memorize what they teach because its impossible to learn every aspect of what is going on especially with things you have trouble with. For example, if one is bad at math he/she will try to memorize the actions/steps that the teacher showed how to solve that problem. if you memorize words or memorize what was taught I think it would be better for you in the long run because not everything you learn in school you use in your everyday life. I think we should teach more students or financial work. for example, credit scores and buying properties and how that works and taking out loans and everything, because I feel like that will be used more and these kids need knowledge because when they get older they will want to buy things or sell, and having no clue in what you’re doing can cost you a lot of money. many kids don’t pay attention in class or care about school because they don’t believe In what can happen and they’re used to being taught the same things, and maybe if we switch it up for like a life changing subjects, many more people will pay more attention and won’t drop out of college. making more students get an education and have a great time in school, would make more better people that this world would have. for example many kids right now are probably going the wrong way as of now, without school or etc. but if schools were cheaper or if they taught maybe life situations I feel like more people would go to school and get an education. taking classes that you’re interested in will make you have a passion for what major you’re in and want to make a life out of. also I feel like if you like your classes you will be happy about waking up early and going to class, but if you’re not feeling a class you will not take that class seriously and maybe end up failing and that’s not what you want.

  45. Seth Godin’s article is one that is thought-provoking and needed, especially, in this new day and age of online learning. While some people may have already been accustomed to the idea of online classes, this year is a lot of students and professors’ first go-around. 2020 has been the year of much change and dramatic transformation in our everyday lives as well as in our education systems. As a result, we must begin to adapt with the time. Throughout the article, Godin mentions how the traditional routine of lectures and tests have shaped much of how we view higher education. As long as the student sufficiently has an understanding of the lectures presented during the course and is able to articulate their understanding of the knowledge through a formal exam, the student can then proceed by obtaining their degree. While this process is the custom for many universities across the world, it is undeniable that many students have replaced the love of learning with memorization, so much so, most students’ number one question in modern education is “Will this be on the test?” (Godin). Godin explains his experience moving away from the status quo and embracing new methods of introducing learning. Essentially, Godin believes that (1) students should be there because they want to be there, (2) experience should take the place of the tedious lectures, and (3) opportunities should be provided to actually allow students to interact with peers.

    I really enjoyed reading Godin’s article and I could relate to being the student that memorizes everything just to forget it after the test, but I have also been that student who has actually loved the process of learning and considered education as a rewarding experience. I believe the reason that I have had two different kinds of experiences throughout my academic career is because I have had the opportunity to have versatile instructors that did not just rely on the mundane way of teaching, but I have had instructors who really took an initiative to see what their students need in order to have an engaging experience. Out of the thread of information that Godin provided in his article, one thing that spoke volumes to me is when he states, “Am I doing this as a proxy for something else, as a payment to get the prize, or is the learning and the experience the prize?” That statement especially stook out to me because I feel like memorization and tradition has taken the place of what it means to truly appreciate learning. Bob Larrivee said it best in his article “Memorization is Not Learning” in that “For many, what they are in fact doing is memorizing the materials to pass the exam but they do not always have an ability to put it all in context for application.” I think the best thing that we can do now more than ever is to shift our methods of teaching. We must shift students from becoming learners who merely memorize and instead, devote our resources to making learners who are passionate about learning and are capable of applying concepts in real-life situations, not just for weekly exams.

    Works cited:
    Larrivee, Bob. Memorizing Is Not Learning, 2012, community.aiim.org/blogs/bob-larrivee/2012/09/04/memorizing-is-not-learning.

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