Memory & the Levels of Learning

by Dave Farrow
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Memory & the “Levels of Learning”

The “Levels of Learning” are used to promote higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures, and principles, rather than just relying on memory and remembering facts. Check out this chart of Anderson’s Levels of Learning:
The Levels of Learning

The Levels of Learning

Step #1. Remembering or Knowledge. This is being able to identify an item. Example: That’s a pencil!
Step #2. Understanding. This is being able to explain a concept. Example: You tell a friend how to write and draw with a pencil.
Step #3. Applying or Using the item. Example: You can shade and erase and write with the pencil, and even sharpen it too.
Step #4. Analysing the item. You can look at the item, think about the item. Example: The pencil is made of graphite and wood and will last me another week or so before I need to replace it.
Step #5. Evaluating. You can decide, based on your observations, how good the item is and gain a deeper understanding. Example: This pencil is mechanical and the other one is wooden. They are different.
Step #6. Creating. You can make the item. Example: You can make a new pencil.
In order to invent or create, you need all the stages that come before it. By skipping a step, you risk not fully understanding an idea. It’s like trying to change a tire without knowing how the tools work. You will get hurt. Even though remembering information is at the bottom of the chart, it is still very important. Remembering is the foundation for knowledge and the memory work involved at the base of learning usually involves the most amount of work. With memory techniques, you can learn information faster and begin to understand and apply your knowledge more easily.
Here is another way to think of it.
1st Level of Learning: Memory
2nd Level: Memory + Connecting Memories or Organizing Memories
3rd Level: Memory + Organization + Physical Application or “Doing”
4th Level: Memory + Organization + Application + Logic for Deeper Understanding
5th Level: Memory + Organization + Application + Logic + Conclusions or Judgements
6th Level: Memory + Organization + Application + Logic + Conclusions + Creativity

So if you have a passion for a new technology or art please don’t hold yourself back. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the education or the background… Just do it!


Dave Farrow

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