Page 1 of 1 [ 15 posts ] 

SeaMonkey
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 71

12 May 2010, 7:53 am

Do universities in general provide a rote learning environment? In my biology class the lecturer would say things like "spend 20 minutes a day when you get home to read over your notes and you will retain 80% of it". What kind of BS is that? You might retain the sequence of words but you can't put a time limit on how long it will take you to explore the concepts and integrate them into your knowledge. When it comes to numerous scientific concepts it takes a lot longer than "20 minutes" to do this. I came across the concept of "rote learning" a while ago and that may explain these kinda observations I've made about university. They seem to test you on your ability to memorize and parrot words not your understanding of scientific concepts. Luckily maths and physics consist of nothing but calculations I always get above 90% in those subjects and chemistry isn't too bad either but biology kills me because I spend the time to understand the concepts but when I have the test in front of me I can't put it into words well.



Janissy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 May 2009
Age: 54
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,450
Location: x

12 May 2010, 7:59 am

The lecturer isn't advocating rote learning. He is making the assumption that taking notes in class implies an understanding of the concepts at that time. Reading over one's notes for 20 minutes every day keeps the vocabulary and similar info anchored to the concepts that were already understood in class.



SeaMonkey
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 71

12 May 2010, 8:20 am

Janissy wrote:
The lecturer isn't advocating rote learning. He is making the assumption that taking notes in class implies an understanding of the concepts at that time. Reading over one's notes for 20 minutes every day keeps the vocabulary and similar info anchored to the concepts that were already understood in class.


Once I grasp a concept I remember it for good. I didn't think of it like that I suppose the majority of students have different neurochemistry. I find it near impossible to get a deep understanding of anything from the lecture material alone. I have to use the internet to explore the concepts from all different angles then a vivid mental picture forms and the concept becomes second nature to me. I takes me time though. I'm skeptical about what you said though because if you don't take time to think about something how can you have a good understanding of it? In lectures they don't give you time to contemplate.



cthulukitty
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 6 Apr 2010
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 91

12 May 2010, 8:34 am

SeaMonkey wrote:
Once I grasp a concept I remember it for good. I didn't think of it like that I suppose the majority of students have different neurochemistry. I find it near impossible to get a deep understanding of anything from the lecture material alone. I have to use the internet to explore the concepts from all different angles then a vivid mental picture forms and the concept becomes second nature to me. I takes me time though. I'm skeptical about what you said though because if you don't take time to think about something how can you have a good understanding of it? In lectures they don't give you time to contemplate.


Your professor is giving advice that he thinks will benefit most of the students. If that method of studying doesn't work for you, then you'll need to find another method, which it sounds like you already have. It sounds like it might take you more time than it does other students to incorporate new information, but that once you grasp it you grasp it fully. That doesn't sound like a bad way to be. If you're having troubles in class or feel that you are being required to spend too much time studying, your best bet is to talk to your professor. Let him/her know that something isn't working for you and see if there's any kind of accommodation you could both agree on. For example, if you aren't doing well on tests you could ask to submit a written paper or some other kind of work to demonstrate your knowledge.


_________________
The problem isn't you.
-ck


SeaMonkey
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 71

12 May 2010, 9:28 am

cthulukitty wrote:

Your professor is giving advice that he thinks will benefit most of the students. If that method of studying doesn't work for you, then you'll need to find another method, which it sounds like you already have. It sounds like it might take you more time than it does other students to incorporate new information, but that once you grasp it you grasp it fully. That doesn't sound like a bad way to be. If you're having troubles in class or feel that you are being required to spend too much time studying, your best bet is to talk to your professor. Let him/her know that something isn't working for you and see if there's any kind of accommodation you could both agree on. For example, if you aren't doing well on tests you could ask to submit a written paper or some other kind of work to demonstrate your knowledge.


Yeah I'm better off not going to lectures. I can cover a weeks worth of lecture material in a day sitting in front of a computer because I can find pictures, videos and loads of different explanations of every concept. I suppose thats what I should start doing next year.



marshall
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 10,752
Location: Turkey

12 May 2010, 9:59 am

The OP sounds a lot like me. Lectures are waste of time for me for the very reasons you mention. Also, the other students likely don't care to have as deep of an understanding as you. They merely learn enough to pass the test. I can't function that way either. Rote memorization takes more effort and offers less mental satisfaction than a full exploration of the material that incorporates logic and intuition.

That said, I think lectures can be more fruitful to me if they involve questions and student participation, but that only works if people are required to study the material on their own before the lecture. In most cases it seems like professors are merely rushing to try to get through all the material in the limited class time. I think it would help if professors just printed out their class notes and handed them out a week ahead of the lecture. I really don't see the point in having to feverishly copy everything down as the professor writes it down on the board and simultaneously try to understand what its all about.

Professors like to give reading assignments but very few people actually do them before the lecture. Personally, I'd rather have the notes first and then use the text to fill in the gaps.



Lisac57
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 29 Apr 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 23

12 May 2010, 10:39 am

For most people I've met, college was a rite of passage; usually with the understanding that you'd forget everything after a few years, frequently with vague allusions to how quickly scientific knowledge changes.

If you want to master a subject and truly understand it, you don't fit in easily into a rite of passage. I can live with that. So many decades afterwards I still enjoy spinning through various threads of argument in my mind, drawing mental doodles of elements in mathematical proofs and the like. I never did forget much math, and it has been an enduring source of joy for most of my life.

For the record, back in the late eighties I did accomplish some nontrivial applied math in an industrial environment, so I'm not all away up in the clouds...

J



Woodpecker
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,585
Location: Europe

12 May 2010, 1:26 pm

Well I would suggest that you read about Bloom's ladder, you will find that rote learning is the lowest form of learning.

I would strongly suggest however that students so both attend their lectures, read text books and work on their own at the work. While lectures are not perfect I think that they can be good learning events.


_________________
Health is a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity :alien: I am not a jigsaw, I am a free man !


PunkyKat
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 May 2008
Age: 34
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,492
Location: Kalahari Desert

12 May 2010, 1:48 pm

Once I'm able to understand a concept or at least memorise what the book/teacher has said and "disect their words and translate them into my own langauge" I remember it forever. Everything I know was learned via memorization. It's the only way I can learn. I can remember something someone said 10 years ago better than I can remember something they said ten seconds ago.


_________________
I'm not weird, you're just too normal.


Ambivalence
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 8 Nov 2008
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,613
Location: Peterlee (for Industry)

12 May 2010, 4:07 pm

It depends on the discipline. In some subjects you are expected to "learn" by rote, and then on roughly a weekly basis combine what you have "learned" with delicately footnoted short excerpts you copy out of books in the library (called "research") in a vile regurgitation which will be required to surpass a certain, usually large, wordcount, regardless of the complexity or otherwise of the matter in question. Perform this rite with sufficient diligence every week for a few years and you are awarded a "degree" to celebrate. Be advised that originality of any kind will be strictly forbidden at all stages of the process, as all possible knowledge has already been discovered and written down by wiser heads than yours. :twisted:


_________________
No one has gone missing or died.

The year is still young.


Rose_in_Winter
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Sep 2009
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Posts: 741
Location: Kansas City, MO

12 May 2010, 4:22 pm

Oh, how I hated lecture. I only had a couple classes where lecture was a component, and even though I lived practically next door to the building the lectures were in, it always felt like a much longer walk there than to class in buildings much further off! I attended a liberal arts college where the classroom ratio was something like 1:18. Classes were based around class discussion, often started off and guided by the professor (at least at first), but basically geared toward attaining understanding and new ideas through speaking and listening.

Rote is for things you must memorize, like chemical compounds or historical dates or your times tables, and for some people (AS and NT), it simply doesn't work. I have the same trouble you do...just learning facts doesn't teach me anything about the concept -- and I find the concepts far more interesting than the date. (I retain them better too; I can no longer tell you the dates of the first Buddha's lifetime, but I can tell you all about Karma and Dharma!) Luckily for me, discussion enhances and ingrains these concepts in me so as long as I did my work, mostly reading and writing, I learned well.

Needing more time than lecture allows to fully absorb a concept isn't a problem, as long as you get the general idea and are willing to follow up on your own, which it seems you are. Your professor may even be willing to meet with you outside of class to talk more about the subject, if that is something you think would help you. Rote learning is exceedingly boring IMHO, and I think that most colleges and universities (at least on the East Coast in the US) are moving away from rote learning and lecture and towards learning through dicussion and thinking.



Moog
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Posts: 17,671
Location: Untied Kingdom

12 May 2010, 6:55 pm

Rote learning doesn't work on me. I might as well have not gone to school. What a waste.


_________________
Not currently a moderator


Amajanshi
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Apr 2009
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 626

13 May 2010, 2:19 am

I think it's easier to memorize concepts once you actually understand them, but eventually there reaches a point where you have to memorize the sub-concepts by rote memorization.

In Biology and Chemistry subjects, that can eventually become rather overwhelming.



Chronos
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Apr 2010
Age: 41
Gender: Female
Posts: 8,698

13 May 2010, 2:48 am

SeaMonkey wrote:
Do universities in general provide a rote learning environment? In my biology class the lecturer would say things like "spend 20 minutes a day when you get home to read over your notes and you will retain 80% of it". What kind of BS is that?


It is the type of BS which you hear at the end of the line in a game of telephone.

Here is what was initially transmitted.

Read over your notes within 20 minutes of writing them down and you will greatly increases your chances of success in the course.



SeaMonkey
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 71

13 May 2010, 11:32 pm

Lisac57 wrote:
For most people I've met, college was a rite of passage; usually with the understanding that you'd forget everything after a few years, frequently with vague allusions to how quickly scientific knowledge changes.

Thats a depressing thought. I never learn anything without the intention of remembering it for the rest of my life. Connecting what I'm learning to all my other knowledge seems to be the most effective method. The best is when I get a big overhead view of everything and can see where everything fits in and interconnects then to recall the concepts contained in this big picture I just see the big picture from overhead and zoom into the parts contained in it. Lately I learned a lot about DNA replication, RNA transcription and translation and it was instantly integrated into my memory because these concepts provided bridges between my knowledge of meiosis and protein manufacture in the ER. In my opinion when it comes to learning theres nothing more satisfying that connecting previously separated areas of knowledge