Most of the time, the challenge in writing essays – whether a final exam or assignment – is demonstrating one’s understanding of a concept or a group of related concepts in one topic. Oftentimes, we are used to producing lengthy pieces just to prove the depth of understanding and mastery of concepts. If we use the constructivist and cognitivist perspective in learning, writing becomes an application in two ways: (i) articulating the basic concepts of the many schemas constructed in the mind throughout a period of time and trying to connect them to one another and (ii) processing information in the long-term memory using skills that are not directly taught but required (i.e. critical thinking, writing).
Yet in the final exam of “EDS 103: Principles of Learning”, the challenge is different: it is demonstrating depth of understanding and application in the most precise and concise way possible. So how does one simplify a few months of accumulated learning without losing depth in just two pages? At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed with the task because its instructions were very broad and dependent on one’s own understanding. Yet when I went back to review the content of the modules I appreciated how the task served both as a refresher and a synthesis of what I and my fellow students have been learning for the past few months. Another aspect that I appreciated was that it went hand-in-hand with “EDS 111: Principles of Teaching”, wherein the principles of learning apply to the teacher as a learner and the teacher as a facilitator of learning.
Overall, I feel happy at this conclusion, but certainly this is not the end of learning as learning is not the end itself but is the process.