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Data and learning

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
What is the difference between gathering data and learning? Is there a difference? Is there a point where the amount of data gathered produces learning?

I ask these questions because it seems to me that we can look at the bits and pieces of technique that are taught in ski lessons as a form of data. And most of the ski instruction industry seems to be working on the idea that if we give someone all the bits of “data” then they should learn to ski. Is this philosophy basically flawed or is it a good method to teach skiing?

post #2 of 9

Absolutely! On Thursday I was skiing with Hapski and Bob B in very small bumps. Hap pointed out to me that it looked as though I was "bracing" before every bump.

He then went on to suggest that I tighten my abdominal muscles and relax my legs. My point is this. I have heard this "tip" many times before. I always seem to hear it and then later forget it. I get the data, however, I don't learn.

The tip works for me along with Bob's suggestion to ski bumps sans poles to quicken my feet. Again, I know have plenty of data the question will remain as to my ability to learn.
post #3 of 9
The data is the "what happens", not the "how to do it".

Like learning the multiplication tables when you were a kid in school... Addition is "how" but it's the detail. At first you have to think (count and add) to "remember", and later, it becomes "automatic". Some number combinations are forgotten, till practiced a lot... use those flash cards!

Since skiing is a physical thing, it's different, but... the drills Rusty is talking about are some "flash cards" for bump skiing. Tune up drills... reminders of how, so it becomes automatic...
post #4 of 9
The fact that information can be memorized is often mistaken for learning. While it techincally is, is is very low level.

Using the multiplication table example.
Reciting tables from rote memory as low level - copy.
Actually doing multiplication on paper - apply rote memory.
Working 76x93 out in you head by - 100x76=7600-(7x75=525)+7=7068, or any other way, means having learned to think creativly, and apply it to the task of multiplication.

In skiing our students:
Copy basic movements into muscle memory. (edging, pressure, rotary, balance). Memorise concepts of adaptation of those movements for options in their skiing (i.e. EPR blend controls turn shape, turn shape controls speed, etc.). Eventually they learn to ski creatitvely by adapting more subtle movement blends to more complex situations, base on "purpose", far exceeding the scope of rote memorization learning potential. I've learned far more by discovery thru experimentation than from any other source.

Learning to ski is experiential learning. It requires learning by both body (primary) and mind (support system), but our upbringing biases us too often toward thinking we learn everything by thinking (hmmm, no wonder...). We think (again) that memorizing the concepts of how the body learns is what we need to do for our bodies to learn (huh?). In my business (computer programming) that would be paralogism, convoluted logic, or a flawed major premice.

A concept without experience can only be memorised. We frequently ask students to remember to focus on (think about) how to do something, before they have done it. Shouldn't we instead lead their body thru an experience to some outcome with their skis, and then have them pay attention to (think about) how they did it (which we can again guide). An experience that can then be attached to a concept is enhanced toward becoming anchored learning. Our role is enhanced when we facilitate experiential learning more, and try to teach less.
Having order to our learning process is as important and having order to the movements we learn.

[ November 10, 2002, 08:55 AM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #5 of 9
Dang. I wrote a thoughtful response and it didn't post. Oh well, here's the Reader's Digest version:

Data must have something added to it to make learning. Remembering data is a low level intellectual activity which I would not call learning. I would call it recall. Some call it "taxon" learning. Taxons are like free radicals floating around in your head. Because they are untethered to an experience or "storyline" they have only short-term utility. In other words, they are not memorable and thus cannot be stored for convenient retrieval.

The higher-level intellectual functions of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation are the stuff of learning, where raw data is processed and "placed" in location to other processed data according to each of our unique storage systems, which are based on our unique learning histories. No two systems are the same.

To me, this is the most compelling reason for "the learning partnership" and mass-customization of lessons. This is also the foundation for inquiry as a teaching method. How do I know how this student "minds" new experiences until I ask?

Another fact of "minding" is that the brain is like the city that never sleeps. Learning is a covert activity and is as likely to occur while sleeping as awake. Data I may have received on Friday might not get processed for several weeks. Then, voila!, a bubble pops (aka brain fart) and the data fits a prior pattern and slides into place.

I love this subject and could go on for hours. I will spare you!
post #6 of 9
Thanks Nolo,
We are lucky to have a source for these concepts that clarify, and add depth and enahncement to our teaching/learning experiances And learn more from them).
post #7 of 9
my thought is that there are 4 key forms of knowledge to promote learning:
1)Learned knowledge
2)activity knowledge
3)modeling knowledge
4)Teaching Knowledge

And then incorporate a "plan, do, review" strategy to improve. Learn the information, plan your activity, do your activity, and review the results of the activity. Adjust your plan, do activity, review the results of the activity."

"Activity without study is futile, Study without activity is fatal"
Your statement then question,
"most of the ski instruction industry seems to be working on the idea that if we give someone all the bits of “data” then they should learn to ski. Is this philosophy basically flawed or is it a good method to teach skiing?
I believe this philosophy is basically flawed, in that someone can get better and "learn how to ski by doing, and looking to see what their friends are doing, and teaching it to there friends". Now, they are probably not going to be good skiers, but they "should learn to ski".

I would think as instructors or student, we would gain by having a coach/instructor/mentor that go help us gain the Learned knowledge, guide the activity, the student would model the mentor's beliefs/activity, and eventually teach or talk it out to a friend/spouse etc. And PLAN/DO/REVIEW.


[ November 10, 2002, 02:22 PM: Message edited by: Jonathan ]
post #8 of 9
In 1989 I worked for an attorney who had a complex case. He sent me off to the data storage facility (a run down 3 bedroom house) to “bone up” on the case. When I entered the house I found hundreds of boxes of “data” filling every room


After hundreds of hours of reading, reviewing and pondering the raw data, I was able to sort, collate and evaluate the data relevant to the case.

That was LEARNING.

I then wrote memos outlining what I had learned placing it in a useful format.


It is the use of data through learning that makes data useful. Unused data is wasted effort, as is learned data that is unused. The rule is compile data, understand the data (learn), use the information gained.


[ November 10, 2002, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Maddog1959 ]
post #9 of 9
"All knowledge may be reduced to comparison and contrast; if only one thing existed in an otherwuse void universe, we could not describe or "know" it." [I.F. Stone]

Can you dig it?
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