The blogger Scott Young recently published a free eBook that is available for download from his blog. The title of the book is, Holistic Learning: How to Study Better, Understand More and Actually “Get” What You Want to Learn. Scott Young has posted before about his concept of holistic learning, both on his blog and in a guest post on the Riran Project. Both posts are highly informative, and go a long way towards explaining Holistic Learning. I think that many gifted students use holistic learning without realizing it, and it is one of the differences that separates gifted students, from high achieving students.
Scott says that most people learn by filing away small packets of information. They have separate files for science, English, history, and so on. When they take a test, these people look into their files, and hopefully find the packet of information that pertains to the test that they are taking. This style of learning has given rise to studying strategies such as cramming. However, Scott says that a holistic learner can go into the same test, with minimal preparation, and perform the same or better than a student who uses the filing method. How is this possible? Scott says that the Holistic Learner can perform better because they can understand how different concepts are interrelated. Where as a student who learns by filing keeps Math subjects separate from History and Science, a Holistic Learner understands that Math, Science, and History are all connected. The visual that Scott uses is a web. A Holistic Learner has a web of knowledge for History, Math, and Science. Withing these webs the individual concepts of the subjects are connected. For example, the Pythagorean Triangle is connected to rectangles. In turn, the Math web is connected to the History and Science webs. This means that the Pythagorean Triangle is connected to Pythagoras of Ancient Greece as well as the way the right triangle supports can make a building more sturdy. In this way, even if the Holistic Learner does not have a perfect grasp of the Pythagorean Theorem, they can still string together the individual ideas to complete a problem.
If the concept of holistic learning sounds interesting to you, make sure to get the eBook, and check back here for a future post that details Holistic Learning.