Some years ago, while conducting a workshop for a group of educators in Kaduna, I asked a question. “Why do students fail?”
The reasons provided by these educators were numerous, but also quite logical.
Some of these reasons include poor teaching, laziness on the part of students, inattentiveness, ignorance, social media, parents, exam malpractice, learning disability, peer pressure etc.
As I listened to those educators reel out these factors and lots more, it became clear to me that all these reasons had one common denominator, that is, poor learning or no learning at all.
Students record poor academic performance when learning is either insufficient or at zero level.
Over time, I came up with a working definition for learning.
Learning is the process of converting external ideas or concepts into personal and secure information. Students who thrive well academically have simply learnt how to convert external concepts into personal and secure information. In other words, such students now own the information. Of course, you can convert concepts in a thousand and one ways, depending on individual differences.
Learning is not cramming. In cramming, students secure the information but don’t personalize it, and so it never lasts.
You can personalise information by paying attention to the why, what, how, where etc. of the concept from which the information is derived, not by cramming.
I do not outrightly condemn cramming, however, learning holds greater benefits. Cramming can be done hastily, but true learning takes time.
So, learning entails asking relevant questions.
In fact, it’s a process, not an event.