Knowledge and the Natural Learning Process

For a person to be able to use a fact, he must first be able to remember it. Natural learning ensures that facts are richly linked with the rest of one's knowledge. It is through such rich links, for example, that a doctor can, upon learning a few vague and partial facts about a patient's condition, confidently declare which condition can be inferred from those facts. Such links allow people to confront a situation which presents itself as a confused set of data, link the facts of the situation to abstract schemata, and infer the pattern which underlies the situation. The facts themselves are only half of what the student requires. The half that goes missing when facts are taught isolated from their use is the links to schemata. Facts that are taught in isolation can only be recalled in isolation, good for Trivial Pursuit and little else.

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