Kinetic Learning: Learning In Motion!

16 02 2012

If metacognition is the “thinking about our thinking” what is the word that best describes our ability to learn how to learn?  Learning in the 21st Century means so much more than being able to memorize content.  It is much more about the process of learning, than the content of learning.  But, how do we begin to define this process of learning.  It is certainly not a process that is static, but one that is always changing; a process that is evolving.  Students need be able to access a range of learning strategies that allow them to be flexible when accessing, interpreting, and applying the information they need. 

Last week, I attended a conference in Toronto called Reading For The Love of It.  There I met with Frieda Wishinsky.  Together we started to further explore this concept of Kinetic Learning.  Frieda said:  “I believe that real learning is process, Learning has energy and motion, It’s not facts. Facts come and go from your memory but the “how-to” approach develops, grows and extends. Not just into one subject but many. So much of testing kids has been about static knowledge rather than problem solving. The more we let kids “brainstorm”, read widely and learn how to learn, the better they will be at adapting to new situations and growing.

If we think of learning as having motion, a certain amount of momentum that allows students to transfer the skills they learn in school to authentic real-life situations it is truly a kinetic form of learning.  It is no longer about the potential that students have to gain and recall knowledge, but the power of applying their ability to learn in order to continue their learning. 

Students can easily access content therefore, learning in the 21st Century can no longer be only about the acquisition of content.  Instead, we need to think of learning as a dynamic process, where we are teaching students, not only so that they will learn, but more importantly that they will  become learners.

Principles of Kinetic Learning

1.  Kinetic Learning focuses on skills rather than content In a world where information is easily accessible, students need to spend less time memorizing facts, and more time learning how to access, interpret, analyze and use the information they encounter.

2.  Kinetic Learning is forward thinking  – It is not about the work that they have done, but rather, about the work that they are going to do.  Students need to be reflective learners, using feedback to set goals in order to help them transfer and apply their learning in new and novel situations.

3.  Kinetic Learning is authentic and purposeful –  Learning needs to be current, relevant and important in the eyes of the students.  Learners need explicitly see the purpose for their learning and the value it will have in the future.

4.  Kinetic Learning is multifaceted – Learning is cross-curricular and incorporates skills from different disciplines.  Through inquiry learning, or collaborative problem solving, students can apply a broad range of familiar strategies to explore new, unique or interesting situations.

5.  Kinetic Learning is “Why” and “How” based? – Learning encourages students to think critically by challenging existing beliefs and act collaboratively by expanding and building on the ideas of others.   

Kinetic Learning is a dynamic process where students learn valuable skills that will enable them to develop momentum in their learning.  It is not about learning knowledge, but rather the knowledge of how of how to learn.  In the same way that metacognition is the process of thinking about our thinking, then kinetic learning is a process where we help students to learn how to learn.  This is learning in motion!




7 responses

16 02 2012
Monica Hirai

Hi Lisa:

I really appreciate this information on learning. It is so important to know how to learn more efficiently. I think it is neat that they are teaching kids this. It will help them in school to learn more and be excited about learning it.
It is also great that they’re transferring learning skills to real-life situations a truly kinetic learning experience.
I hope you don’t mind me passing on your information and posting this on Facebook. I am a Calgary Holistic Health practitioner, and my website I deal with all ages of kids that help kids with attention deficit and hyperactivity symptoms. Once again, thank you for this article.

16 02 2012
Lisa Donohue

Thank you so much Monica for taking the time to read and share my blog post.

16 02 2012
Louise Robitaille

Hi Lisa,
Kinetic learning sounds practical but how do you successfully implement? What does that classroom look like?

19 02 2012
Lisa Donohue

Thanks Louise. I think that in order to help students learn how to learn, a classroom needs to value creativity, provide students with rich, robust learning tasks that encourage students to develop intellectual perseverance when challenged, foster collaboration, encourage risk-taking, and look at “mistakes” as wonderful opportunities for continued learning. “What would this look like in a classroom?” is a very big question…more to come in future blog posts.

16 02 2012
Nicole Thibault

Hi Lisa,
I met you in the elevator at the conference … I appreciate these insights and agree wholeheartedly with this approach. I’d like to bring forward one more aspect I believe to be essential in this type of learning… communication skills. To explore and act collaboratively, to build on each others ideas, it comes back to being able to communicate ideas, opinions, insights and extend the learning forward in a personally meaningful way. As a second language educator, this can sometimes be a challenge with students with limited language skills. It still works – we just need to break it down into smaller chunks and lots of modelling of our thinking and language … a good reflection piece, Thanks!

19 02 2012
Lisa Donohue

Thanks Nicole for sharing your thoughts with me. I agree with you that communication is a huge part of kinetic learning… I think by being active participants rather than a passive observers, students are able to process and apply their learning at deeper levels.

6 06 2012

Where were you when I went to school. I would be a phd multiple times. I love to learn but had a terrible time even in private school. If you need an adult subject. Let me know. My son is a kenetic learner in the magnet gifted classes. My daughter is also. With a diagnosis of dyslecia, but her jr. High dropped her from the I E P program. She has maintained a 4.5gpa with no assistance . I appreciate people like you who color outside the lines. Thanks Tynisha Ramirez

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