On our Resources page, we have a section on our Educational Philosophy which says the following:
‘Our courses have been designed to be “experiential based” learning which means we guide students through the learning experience. The knowledge they acquire in the course lessons are part of the learning experience, but there is always a lot more to it than just reading. All the way through the learning experience, students have access to the full support of their tutor: so if things get too hard, we can help them get over the bumps, but if things get too easy, the tutor can guide and challenge them to extend their knowledge further. In this way we are more able to adjust to the varying potential of each student.
There are two types of students: “Information Gathers” and “Information Processors”. The former is only interested in acquiring facts for the sake of facts, while the latter is more interested in acquiring information and then processing what they have learnt. It is the “Information Processors” that find our courses suitable to their needs.
We continue to develop our style of education that is more relevant to the world of the future; where our students benefit from the knowledge acquired and graduate with a worthy qualification …’
As a lifelong learner, I thought I would unpack our philosophy and hopefully help some of you on any quests for knowledge and self-improvement that you might be pursuing at the moment.
Gathering and Processing
When learning about an unfamiliar topic, you are bombarded by information, facts, methods and important names; many of these will be vital to understand the subject successfully. An information gatherer will seek to collect snippets of information or little facts. This could be an excellent way to show off at a dinner party or use in conversation but is of limited use to improving knowledge.
More work needs to be done with that information to turn disparate facts into knowledge that can be used to solve problems and answer questions. We need to put that knowledge into a structure of how a problem works. For instance, knowing that the speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s (I had to Google that) is not useful on its own; it is much more helpful when you know that the Sun is also 14,900,000,000 meters away (I had to look this up too). From these together, we can work out that light takes roughly 5 seconds to reach the Earth. With enough of these chunks of information, I can start doing some seriously useful things; but only after putting the pieces of the puzzle together. This is what the processor does that the gatherer neglects.
We all can be gatherers or processors depending on our mindset and should check our attitude when going about learning. I’ve noticed that a good sign that I am processing information is that I’m connecting what I’ve learnt to what I know. This is how we come up with new ideas (or hypotheses if you’re feeling scientific) by combining existing understandings to make original observations. So see what you can come up with and keep yourself on your toes!