8/27/13

Letter to Sci Am on MOOGs and learning style

Stuying works, and material is retained, when the material is presented in a manner that works for the student.  
I am a perfect 10.  That means that I need to be presented with a fact or other item ten times, before I retain and and can access easily.  
For example, take the Spanish word for grandfather - you could tell me once, and I will forget it in a minute.  Ask me for it, and force me to try to recall it, and then when I can't, tell me again.  Do this ten times.  And it must be ten separate times, not ten time in a sequence.  
Everyone has a number, mine is ten.  
Some lucky people have the number one.  Some unfortunates have a much higher number.  
And, with my number of ten, that is why Elementary and High School were so easy for me.  Teachers teach and repeat routinely, and I was able to retain after my magic ten times repeated.
But college professors present any fact or idea one time.  The student is assumed to be responsible to retain the information, and study on his own.  That is why college was hard for me.  
My point, after all that introduction, is that these MOOG courses are mostly in the form of a college course, where the information is presented once.  
What about presenting the same information in a High School format, where the information is reviewed, and referred to repeatedly?  
I understand that at elite colleges (MIT, Stanford) that they demand excellence.  But why do the MOOG courses also?
I took a course from Coursera by Andrew Ng, the Machine Learning course.  Even though the course was well presented, and clear, and concise, I still needed to review and review and still do not really retain.  Even according to Dr Ng, only 10% of the students that take his course ever "pass".  I didn't.  But I secretly downloaded all of the videos and other material, and will take the course again when reoffered.  I am the type of learner that needs to learn all the material before taking the course. I am not stupid, I hold a technical position and deal with technology, and have a technical degree.  Nevertheless, my learning style conflicts with the presentation at the university level, and most MOOG courses.  Dr Ng and all courses would experience a higher success rate if the courses were presented in a slower, more repetitive manner.  
Thanks for looking.
Baruch Atta  

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