There’s more to the learning process than the ‘learning styles’. Have a look.
TYPES OF LEARNING:
The domains in which the teaching/learning process can function are:
Psychomotor - to do, to perform;
Cognitive - to know, to think;
Affective - to feel, emotions, attitudes.
Traditionally, in the teaching/learning process of motor skills, the psychomotor domain has received the most attention. However, a greater emphasis in the cognitive and affective domains offers exciting new avenues for learning to take place. Certainly, in teaching skiing, if we are to reach all of the learning styles, attention needs to be given to the cognitive and affective domains.
In support of this emphasis on the cognitive domain, an examination of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education Objectives is helpful. Bloom describes six levels of cognitive operation starting with "Knowledge" as the lowest level:
1. Knowledge - recall, remembering
2. Comprehension - to grasp the meaning and intent of material,
3. Application- to apply appropriate use of knowledge without having
to be shown
4. Analysis- breakdown of' material into its constituent parts and of
the way they are organized
5. Synthesis- the putting together of elements and parts so as to
form a whole
6. Evaluation- making of judgments(2)
Assuredly, the inclusion of working in all three domains in the teaching/learning process and in Bloom's levels of cognitive operation will not only improve the quality of learning; but, will make learning more meaningful and more enjoyable.
STAGES OF LEARNING:
First - COGNITIVE STAGE: students make attempts to understand the nature of the activity to be learned. Learners are heavily involved with thought processes at this stage. They are busy converting directions into meaningful behaviors; as a result, strategies evolve, errors are made, and great improvement is shown.(3)
Second - ASSOCIATIVE STAGE: students concentrate on the organization and timing of the parts of a movement. External or extrinsic feedback is needed to decrease errors. Students are making associations between the correct responses and what it feels like to perform a particular movement. They are busy learning to recognize the intrinsic feedback associated with the correct performance of a movement.(3)
Third - AUTONOMOUS STAGE: students are able to process information easily with minimal interference from other on-going activities. There is minimal conscious control over the movement.(3) The skills used in driving a car are, for the most part for most people, AUTONOMOUS...
Unquestionably, for the teaching of skiing, the knowledge and implications of these three stages of learning should become part of every ski teacher's ‘modus operandi’. Most assuredly, unless we see our students through the second stage of learning (ASSOCIATIVE STAGE), that which was thought to be learned will surely be lost. Before students leave their lesson, they need to be able to recognize the intrinsic feedback of the correct movement so they are able to continue 'correct" practice on their own. Their feelings of accomplishment beyond the lesson will reflect positive feelings about their ski lesson; and, hopefully, these feelings will make them want to come back for more lessons. On the other hand, if students are presented with too much information and are not guided out of the first stage of learning, (COGNITIVE STAGE) and through the second stage of learning (ASSOCIATIVE STAGE), the chances of positive carry-over after the lesson will be questionable. Strangely enough, a student's performance of the initiation phase of the turn could be in the AUTONOMOUS STAGE OF LEARNING while the completion phase could still be in the ASSOCIATIVE STAGE OF LEARNING.
Barbara Knapp, in her book Skill in Sport, presents an extensive study of skill and its acquisition. She defines skill as the "learned ability to bring about predetermined results with maximum certainty, often with the minimum outlay of time or energy or both."(4) An examination of motor skills indicates that all skills do not require the same environment for learning. Since skills can be categorized according to the requirements of their performance, the environment created for learning should reflect the characteristics of the skill's category Knapp classifies skills in the broad categories of ‘open’ and ‘closed’. The characteristics of the ‘open’ category indicate that perceptual skills require a learning environment that offers both predictable and unpredictable stimuli. The characteristics of the ‘closed’ category indicate that habitual skills require a constant and predictable learning environment. The skills of skiing are, for the most part, categorized as both predictable and unpredictable stimuli ‘open’. Therefore, ski teachers should create learning environments that offer both predictable and unpredictable stimuli.
Indeed, there is much to learn about learning: styles, types, stages, and environment. There is a need to study what we know about learning and learners and to actively use that information in our teaching.
2. Bloom, Benjamin S. (editor). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives:
Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. New York, New York: David McKay, Inc.,
3. Kerr, Robert. Psychomotor Learning. New York, New York: CBS
College Publishing, 1982.
4. Knapp, Barbara. Skill in Sport. London, England: Routledge & Kegan
Paul Ltd., 1967.