What is the Learn-Test-Do approach in learning?

There are so many ways to go about teaching Arduino, or using the Arduino to tech other topics, that is impossible for me to suggest a specific path that will specifically suit an individual teacher.

But I can write about what I believe can work for a lot of teachers, and the path that I specifically think is reasonable and effective.

The main difference between a class environment and a makerspace (or informal-type learning) is that in a class there are specific learning outcomes that the teacher must help their students to achieve. Makerspaces tend to be more free-ranging, and the teacher has a more informal “mentor” role. That’s why makerspaces don’t normally have a teacher, but a facilitator, and occasionally a mentor.

In both cases, however, the learning is done best when the teacher facilitates multiple learning techniques. To teach well in a class environment, we must achieve these learning outcomes within the allocated time schedule and constraints in materials.

Practically, the learning techniques that I believe are essential in any STEM (modern) teaching and learning include:

  • Concise Instructions and examples (Learn)
  • Quick tests to enhance retention (Test)
  • Applying the new knowledge (Do)

I call this teaching pattern “Learn-Test-Do”.

Teaching doesn’t need to be complicated. Doing is where learning becomes deep and meaningful, while instructions and quick tests are there to support application.

In the Arduino bootcamp, I try hard to equip teachers with skills and content that they can use towards facilitating this kind of learning in their students.

I also am fully aware that each classroom is different, and that teachers should have the freedom to choose their own resources, and applied with their own teaching style. I don’t suggest that teachers should be using my Bootcamp resources in every lesson, but having access to it can be invaluable for teachers that are making their first steps in STEM.

The exact products, whether an Arduino, a micro:bit or anything else, is not important. What is important is to be able to use these tools in context of an approach similar to Learn-Test-Do.

I can’t base this approach in any particular study, but it is something I have been thinking about for a long time, experienced with my own students, and seems to be compatible with much of what a lot of my Stemiverse guests have explained.

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