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Robert Galway


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What personality traits can be exploited to promote increased tangential learning?

There are attributes in students that help define their ability to learn. Some are related to personality traits, such as openness to experiences, conscientiousness, novelty seeking, rigidity, impulsivity, perfectionism, etc. (Wiki trait theory).

Learning is acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. Human learning may occur as part of education, personal development, schooling, or training. It may be goal-oriented and may be aided by motivation. Rote learning is a technique which avoids understanding the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard. The major practice involved in rote learning techniques is learning by repetition, based on the idea that one will be able to quickly recall the material (but not necessarily its meaning) the more it is repeated. Rote learning is used in diverse areas, from mathematics to music to religion. Although it has been criticized by some schools of thought, rote learning is a necessity in many situations. Meaningful learning is the concept that learned knowledge is fully understood to the extent that it relates to other knowledge. To this end, meaningful contrasts with rote learning in which information is acquired without regard to understanding. Meaningful learning, on the other hand, implies there is a comprehensive knowledge of the context of the facts learned. Tangential learning is the process by which people will self-educate if a topic is exposed to them in a context that they already enjoy. (Wiki Learning)

What personality traits can be exploited to promote increased tangential learning? How? One example is Scouting, where things are learned apart from normal academics and the method is through experience. It must be fun for the program to survive

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    Mar 31 2013: Openness to experience and novelty seeking should be conducive to tangential learning, along with providing the tools to self-educate, such as critical thinking so that the learner can assess the quality of the information he finds, question-find, and integrate information and perspectives from different sources. Comfort with complexity and ambiguity is also a vital trait.
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    • Apr 1 2013: Thank you for replying.

      The personality traits and learning explanations were from the Wiki sites I referenced in parentheses at the end. I did not know what it was formally called until this morning, but what has been defined as tangential learning seems like the method that would accomplish what I think is needed in the learning process. Before this morning, I would have called it self-motivated independent study on topics the student either enjoyed studying or was driven by a natural curiosity to study further.

      I thought perhaps by considering personality traits, we might discuss potential ways to motivate different groups of students in different ways to start the self-motivation engine and take advantage of tangential learning.
      • Apr 1 2013: hemm.. I think the most important in tangential learning is intrinsic motivation, not personality trait.

        the next question, how to build intrinsic motivation base from personality trait?
        its depends what personality trait a person have. For example (this examples are too simple, we need think deeply for every personality trait)
        - someone who has goal orientation: setting biggest goal, make a strict timeline
        - someone who has love freedom: give many choice, no time limit