baby mechanicSamford University professor Stephen Chew outlines in his new anthology about the science of learning four key misconceptions many students believe, hindering their ability to succeed in their own education. And I have such a difficult time fathoming how people can hold these beliefs:

1. Learning is fast.
2. Knowledge is composed of isolated facts.
3. Being good at a subject is a matter of inborn talent rather than hard work.
4. I’m good at multi-tasking, even during class or while studying.

I am going to relay my personal belief systems as they relate to online schooling as I have just returned to college for the first time in over 20 years.

My personal belief systems on the 4 myths of online learning all align accurately with the truth of the situation. I do not think online learning will be any faster than traditional schooling. It is my belief that some courses will take the same amount of time regardless of format while other classes will take more or less time depending on the effort and time dedicated to the process. Learning is learning, it always involves trial and error, mistakes and frustrations, peaks and plateaus.

The idea that “knowledge is composed of isolated facts” is an absurd blanket statement. Knowledge is never just a selection of isolated facts, not in regard to any subject to be encountered in our lifetimes. I am sorry I cannot support my reaction to this ridiculous idea with definitive rationale and examples. It simply isn’t rational to begin with!

If babies were born with innate abilities to perform specific tasks there would be no drive in people. It would eliminate our ability to challenge ourselves, strive for more, question others, feel pride, understand failure. If babies were born with innate abilities the world would be a very different place. Can you imagine having a six month old working on your motorcycle engine? I know that sounds ridiculous and it is meant to, it is an exaggeration of the falsehood some believe in.

I am good at multi-tasking… sometimes. However, I certainly would never consider multi-tasking when I am trying to take a test. I need all of my beans boiling at the same temperature in order to cook up the correct answers. Focusing on an important task at hand is a dedication and commitment to the process. It is actively living in one-mindedness. It is meditative in feeling and relaxing to the brain. We, like Number Five desire “Input, need more input!” however in attempting to do everything at once we overload our circuits just as he did and our brain begins having to make unconscious decisions for us about what to save and what to toss away. And the decisions our brains will make will be survival based, not goal based.

And lastly, the proper mindset is crucial to succeeding in any endeavor we attempt. If we believe we will fail at the get-go, before we make any effort then what is the point? No one gets married believing they will divorce. If they held that belief, they would not waste their time with that individual… or at least I hope that would be the case. If you go in thinking you will fail, then you will fail. You will subconsciously self-sabotage because your brain has that belief system. If however, you have a positive attitude and believe in yourself and the process, make a concerted effort and utilize every tool available then you will succeed. Failure is when you stop trying, as long as you remain persistent success will eventually find you!

8 thoughts

  1. well said! In my experience my learning style is such that I need hands-on experience for deeper learning, if what I’m learning is on my computer then great, but I typically have always performed better in a classroom. That being said, I prefer online learning because of the convenience, plain and simple.


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