The Natural Learning Project


  • J. Scott Armstrong


" Experiential exercises seem to offer substantial opportunities for learning. However, we have found little evidence that learning is more likely to occur with experiential exercises than with competitive methods such as lectures. This paper suggests that the success of experiential exercises depends upon the overall learning environment. Little benefit is expected if experiential exercises are adopted within the traditional environment, where the teacher accepts responsibility for learning; however, in situations where the learner takes responsibility, experiential exercises are expected to be of substantial value. This paper discusses a strategy for helping learners to take responsibility. We have redesigned the educational system using the principles of natural learning.11- A brief description of natural learning is provided, along with a highly structured approach for its implementation. We call this highly structured approach SOS, for self-oriented-skill training. SOS has been used in five field experiments; a brief summary of the results is also presented. Our research is neither complete nor conclusive. But it is promising. The objectives for this paper are to: 1. Find other teachers who are willing to experiment with natural learning (or who may have done so already). 2. Obtain criticism of our research. "