All there is to it.

Sep 04, 2012


learning, medicine


I enjoy Roger Schank’s blog and writing. This is not meant to be followed by the caveat that his views are a little extreme. They are, but that just reflects that most people are wrong.

A recent post is a lovely summary of  what real education is about. What shocks me is how well his thoughts  lend themselves to the training of doctors. All said without the usual abuse of language from the ‘educationalists’.

Twelve cognitive processes that underlie all learning are:

Conscious Processes

  1. Prediction: determining what will happen next
  2. Modeling: figuring out how things work
  3. Experimentation: coming to conclusions after trying things out
  4. Values: deciding between things you care about

Analytic Processes

  1. Diagnosis: determining what happened from the evidence
  2. Planning: determining a course of action
  3. Causation: understanding why something happened
  4. Judgment: deciding between choices

Social Processes

  1. Influence: figuring out how to get someone else to do something that you want them to do
  2. Teamwork: getting along with others when working towards a common goal
  3. Negotiation: trading with others and completing successful deals
  4. Description: communicating one’s thoughts and what has just happened to others

All of these processes are part of a small child’s life as well as a high functioning adult’s life. Education should mean helping people get more sophisticated about doing these things through the acquisition of a case base of experience. Teaching should mean helping people think about their experiences and how to think more clearly about them. Unfortunately, education and teaching rarely means either of these things in today’s world.

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

Comments are closed.