|From Swanny the Tinker: Global vs. sequential
Global learners learn in layers. They prefer an overview of where they are going first before learning a complex process. They like having a map, knowing where they are headed and what they are working toward. For example, global learners learn phonics quicker if they are shown the result first--that they will be able to figure out unknown words. They enjoy having examples shown to them even if they aren't capable of imitating the skill yet.
Sequential learners find introductory overviews distracting and confusing. They expect to learn whatever they are shown immediately or they become frustrated because they don't have the ability of the global learner to see "the big picture." They prefer to proceed step-by-step, in an orderly way, to the end result. Sequential learners are in the majority, and most educational materials are laid out in a sequential rather than a global way.
These learning styles--concrete vs. abstract and global vs. sequential--are ways of thinking and learning that can affect a child across a variety of skills. Most people can be divided according to their tendency to be more concrete or abstract; more global or more sequential. Just because your child prefers one style over another does not mean he has a serious learning problem or a learning disability. Sometimes he may have difficulties with schoolwork, however, if his learning strengths don't match up with the teaching methods being used in his school. These learning styles are important to your child even when they don't reveal a serious learning problem. Any learner has an advantage when he knows what his strengths are and how to use them to his benefit.
The exception is that having weak sequential reasoning skills can be a significant barrier to learning and is dealt with in more depth in the next section. However, weak global reasoning skills usually means only that the individual is a sequential learner. The solution is typically as simple as choosing a sequential instructional method, something done in education already.
Global learners sometimes get confused by step-by-step instructions, especially if the steps are numerous and complex.
Effect on learning: These students get confused easily and lose sight of the point of the lesson during step-by-step instruction. When these students grow older, however, they will grasp important underlying concepts and theories more quickly than strongly sequential learners.
Strategies: Provide an overview, a clue of where the lesson is headed, before beginning instruction or review.
Examples: Global learners have an easier time with multi-step processes if they first understand what all the steps do. For example, they'll better grasp the purpose and uses of the imaginary lines on maps and globes such as longitude and latitude if they understand that those lines gave the first explorers a way to tell where they were in the ocean when they couldn't see land.
[ Philosophy | 4 Jun 2004 @ 09:41 | PermaLink ] More >