Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Balance in training and learning

Just a place holder to remind me to come back and post properly on this topic.

I have an enduring interest in learning theory and methods from the perspective of a lecturer/supervisor at postgraduate level, as a dog trainer who works both with dogs and their humans, and also as a work colleague who seeks to improve communication in my academic environment.

There seems to be a well established 'belief' that in order to learn, one must make mistakes and see the consequences. The positive reinforcement movement within dog training and more specifically clicker training as promoted by Kay Lawrence suggests that results can be produced as easily, or quicker via error-less learning - setting the dog/human up to succeed.

As an over enthusiastic teacher I know I have to restrain myself from jumping in too quickly to help (human and canine students)! Striking the balance between allowing people/dogs to learn from their actions, and setting things up to promote success is tricky. In a more human context - how long do you stand back and observe the mistakes before stepping in, particularly where the individual appears to lack awareness?

Answers on a postcard (or comment!).