The method of study devised by Dr. Martin and used in all of the Socelor teaching follows a pattern that results in the following:
- Maximal engagement and motivation
- Learning material better than any other method known (learning does not equal memorization)
- Enhancement of some concrete cognitive enablers
- Development of some abstract cognitive enablers
Maximal Engagement and Motivation
The way this is accomplished is to follow the MUSIC(A) model of academic motivation. Devised by Jones (2009), Socelor incorporates each of the elements to a different degree in the method used for your learning. Each of the elements are briefly discussed below with the specifics of the method following. The elements are wrapped around one of the two required subjects that are required for studying at Socelor – The Science of Learning and Cognitive Enablers. The subject used will be The Science of Learning. This is required so that learners will begin to understand what the Socelor model of learning is based on – the scientific understanding about how we learn.
M – empowerment
Empowering you to study what you want to study. What is different from traditional education is the lack of specific direction. When studying The Science of Learning, you can choose whatever aspect of this area to study (writing and leading discussions every week). This ranges from how grades effect learning to fostering creativity in the learning environment. The choices are up to the you.
U – usefulness
If you believe that what you are learning will be useful to you, you simply work harder to learn it. Education is an area that effects all of us and we have all had experiences with education. The Science of Learning touches on almost all aspects of education, allowing you to examine how education works and what scientific principles underlie (or not) the methods used in education.
S – success
Believing that you can succeed in what you are doing is vital for your motivation. When you believe that you can succeed, you try to succeed. If you believe that you won’t be able to do it, you begin the process knowing that you will fail. When studying The Science of Learning, the belief that you can do it lies within yourself. We, as a community, will support you completely. If you decide that you can’t do it because you don’t think that you can succeed that will be a decision that you will have arrived at in spite of the methods used for learning.
I – interest
Interest is closely related to usefulness and empowerment. You are usually interested in finding out something that you choose to study because you want to and believe that it will be useful. The interest that we seek to develop in your learning isn’t the interest that is fleeting when you see something that briefly catches your interest, but a deep interest that drives you to want to know more. Virtually every student who has learned using Dr. Martin’s methods for learning comment about how disappointing that it is when his classes end. This is because of a combination of motivating factors – including interest.
C – caring
When someone cares about your learning you work harder. We care because we get to know you as a person. If I am teaching your module, I will read everything that you write. I participate in the discussions with you every week. I care for two reasons. Firstly, I care about the subject and am always learning from my students as they bring creativity into understanding how we can apply what we know about learning. I find my classes exciting. Secondly, I find it exciting to watch you find out just how enjoyable learning can be. As I continually remind myself, learning is the most natural thing that we do and I care passionately about learning.
A – audience
The audience element of Socelor motivation has been added to the original MUSIC model. In traditional learning, the audience is almost always an audience of one – the teacher. Because everything that you write is public and you are required to read a certain amount of your peers work every week, you don’t write for an audience of one. Others who have been involved in teaching this way almost always comment on this aspect of the Socelor method. You work harder to look good in front of your peers than you do when your audience is only the teacher.
In traditional learning environments, learning is almost always equated with remembering. This is not the case when using the Socelor method of learning. However, your memory for what you study, both alone and with your peers, is better for what you learn with us than any other method that is widely used. When you immerse yourself in study with the motivation that occurs when you study with us, you remember what you study.
Enhancing Some Concrete Cognitive Enablers
The concrete cognitive enablers that are enhanced when you learn with Socelor are primarily reading and writing. Because you read both background for your writing and the work of your fellow learners, your reading becomes much better. In addition, because you are writing every week with the audience effect motivating you, your writing becomes much better.
Developing Abstract Cognitive Enablers
The development of your abstract thinking abilities is built into the method. In addition to having to learn and discuss what they are and how they are learned as the only other required area of study, you know what is required to develop these enablers. In the emersion program (either online or face-to-face) the development of your recommendation is what drives the development of these enablers. The intense evaluation that your work receives indicates clearly what enablers you have developed, are developing, and need to develop. Tutors are available to guide you with explicit feedback of your work, one-on-one, in order for you to know exactly the kinds of things that you need to do in order to develop a specific abstract cognitive enabler.
One of the hallmarks of Socelor is that we don’t tell you what to develop, you decide for yourself. You watch your recommendation unfold and you decide what skills that you want to see in your recommendation and to what level you want that skill to be developed. It is entirely up to you.
Given the principles above, the Socelor method of learning is surprisingly simple. You write a blog post – yes, a blog post with no other cutting edge technology needed – every week for ten weeks on the topic of your choosing, bound only by the general subject area that you are studying. You are required to write on a foundation of solid evidence. Your opinion might be great, but until you provide the evidence, it is nothing more than your opinion. The writing is short – around 500 words.
Following the publication of your post, you are required to read some of the posts of your peers you are learning with and comment on their work. The catch is that you must provide evidence to support your comments as well.
Finally, you will lead a discussion on a topic of your choice bi-weekly. The topic is any topic that you choose within the subject area. However, the reality is that you will almost always discuss the work you have written about.
A simple method for maximizing your learning. Socrates would have recognized the value in what we do and would think that the blogs are a brilliant invention to enable recursive, evidence based discussions. Through these recursive, evidence based discussions, you will find your rational thinking, your ability to reason (both inductively and deductively), your ability to be creative with the insights you produce, and the soundness of your evidence continually challenged. It is through the constant meeting of these challenges across a variety of subjects that you learn to use the abstract cognitive enablers that you develop.
This success is based both on the principles underlying The Science of Learning and through the years of developing the method for your learning.
I think that the comment of a young lady who took a class from me a few years ago sums up the experience:
I have tasted what it is like to really think and now this is the only way I ever want to learn.