The Curious Case of Science of Learning versus Learning of Science

I wanted to write this blog more than a month ago – about my experience in this curious case of a mix up between science of learning and learning of science…………………….one thing led to another and I have delayed writing and posting this blog…………but here it is now, and here’s what I would like to note down………….

I was asked to take a science workshop in a school at Surat, Gujarat, India, by a publisher of well-known Indian textbooks, of which the said school was a client. Now I get prepared for the workshop, my usual stuff of Dumb Charades with names of scientists, and some hands – on activities, some fun quizzes, everyday science and what not……………….

Now what happened is this – the school principal who was hosting this workshop, probably, and that is my guess, had informed other school teachers near-by to attend the workshop on  applying Science of Learning……………..and this was not captured by the publisher’s product coordinator who informed me to take a workshop on Learning of Science!! (I got to know about this curious mix up because that was what was written on the school’s website!)

Now imagine my plight………………….., and all the chaos it created while the workshop was on (the teachers attending the workshop were like naughty kids in class), and afterwards too……….No one’s expectations were met, and everyone went back unhappy; I was crest fallen to say the least.Science Workshop @ Surat 2

But that got me thinking about Science of Learning versus Learning of Science. And here are my notes!

Science of learning is a term that interplays between the learning, instruction, and assessment. The science of learning is a systematic but an empirical approach to understanding:

  • of how people learn
  • of how to help people learn, and finally,
  • of how to determine what people have learnt (e.g., learning, remembering, transferring knowledge)

Now all these three points are way off from learning of science – is it not?

So what does learning of science encompass? In my earlier blog on How to Encourage Learning of Science – I have written a detailed report on how to foster a scientific temper among one and all. Please see: https://atabhagwat.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/how-to-encourage-learning-science/

So how should learning of science be encouraged? Here is the summary from the blog:

Ways of Learning Science Suggestion
Science as a Quest
  • Have public and popular science lectures
  • Have local science and astronomy clubs
  • Create Science museums, science based theme parks
  • Excursions to scientifically significant places
  • Celebrate National Science Day and National Technology
  • Have public outreach programs in all institutions
Scientific Temper
  • Have a rational and logical outlook to everything
  • Have popular science education to know the impact and benefits of application of science
Science for Social Transformation
  • Educate public and make them aware about science based applications, so that they will look to logical solutions for their issues, rather than visit god men and fall prey to their bogus and nonsensical advice.
  • The analytical and predictive nature of science is a great empowering tool
Science Teaching
  • Have science workshops for teachers so that they contiguously upgrade themselves;
  • Have a few hands-on fun filled practical sessions for the young students
  • Make project work, self-study and research compulsory for students in higher classes
  • Make a science hobby workshop available in the school, keep a few hours per week for learning from content on the internet (there are plethora of things available freely on the internet)
  • Organize local science clubs with activities such as lectures, presentations, visits
  • Subscribe and buy science magazines and books for everyone to read and enjoy the discoveries of science.
Science Channels
  • Science news and science channels do wonders for keeping up the interests in science learning among everyone.
  • Space news, a few NASA channels, You Tube should be watched regularly.

I hope all people concerned will read this blog, and get to know the difference between Science of Learning and Learning of Science!! (and of course apologize to me!)

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