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Process of Pruning

Do you think that technology and learning styles has changed the definition of "pruning" or reducing the ways they explore the acquisition of new information. They create for themselves effective and efficient ways of learning new information. I feel like pruning should be taught after the whole process has been learned. today's young adults always want to get to the finish line and not understand the process it takes to get there. Technology is a pro and a con.

Hi Keyasha,
You make a very good point in terms of learning efficiency. I believe like you that students need to have a strong foundation in their field so they can build upon that knowledge as they acquire additional knowledge and skills. Rushing to a solution may work on occasion but in the long term they will be lacking the total knowledge package to reach the needed solutions on a regular basis unless they learn how to sort through all of the information they have been presented.

I agree with technology our youth have different learning styles then us 40 and up. but on the flip side is the students have unlimitted resources.

I agree that the resources students have now are infinite compared to years ago. The amazing thing is that some students still can't get to those resources on their own. I think a balance of good knowledge of the process as a foundation would only help students use resources better so that they are more efficient.
I also think some things can and should be learned more efficiently than others depending on future use of the information.

Hi Keena,
You make a good point about needing to help students access the technology they will be using. We can't assume that everyone knows how to use it effectively.


Right, and putting the cart in front of the horse... or giving them tools before they know how to use them is a dangerous venture. In not fully understanding/appreciating the process, they lose out valuable experience that would allow for better idea transfer. Since learning should be about application, and we'd love for students to be able to apply their lessons from one class to another, they really need to understand those building blocks before they learn short-cuts. Plus, then the "tools" make more sense and they fully appreciate them.


I believe that technology, in the form of video games and the internet, offer too much instant gratification. As a result, students, even adult students, cannot fathom a way through the "process" anymore.

Hi H. Smith,
You make a good point about the students needing to process through the steps of problem solving. If they have this process down they are going to do well with their career growth since they see the big picture.

Sometimes find that some students cannot prune on their own even after I have given examples and tutoring .

Hi Charles,
Not uncommon. It is at this point that you develop some additional strategies for them to use so they can become more effective and efficient at the pruning process. It does take some time and effort on the part of the students to getting better at this process.

I agree that pruning should happen after the process has been learned. Technology certainly speeds this along, but it is also the culture we live in. Education is no longer about whole life learning, it is about "get me enough skills to get me a job and see ya!" But that is the nature of career schools. Pruning is an unfortunate but necessary part of learning, and it is by maintaining immersion in the subject that a person probably "re-aquires" the knowledge they passed over in the pruning process. As professionals we start out as apprentices, then as we grow, we specialize in our craft, then become experts in our field. So as with all things, school is just the springboard for life's education process.

technology can be both a pro and a con. It's quick availbility allows a student to learn something and use it quickly....Which can be a good thing if the piece of information is a small piece of the whole puzel.
It's a can be a bad thing when the entire answer is provided and student misses the steps/work to get to the final answer

Hi Tyler,
So true. We instructors need to remember that technology is only a tool not a teaching substitution.

I agree. For instance, I teach dental hygiene students which vary in age, race, and gender. Yes,they all want to just clean teeth, not understand the basics and master the academic needs to pass their national test, they just want to do enough to get by.

I am not speaking in refernce to all my students, however, there are always a handful in each class. Their last term, once they have mastered the foundation we do teach them some advanced skills or shortcuts. The first response of the student is " Why didn't you tell me this at first, this is so much easier and faster!" I respond by saying that you must crawl before you walk. If you don't have that basic foundation are will never master your craft. Just as learning is a process, so is dental hygiene.

One factor that helps my situation is that we are bound by the American Dental Association and our accrediting bodies to teach certain standards in a certain sequence. With this in place "pruning" has to be the last step.

Students still need to have information stored in their memory to be able to prune. Sometimes technology is just a pruning aide.

Right you are. Technology is seen by mean students as being an IV for learning. Just insert the needle and the knowledge will flow into the brain. As we all know that is not true. Effort, dedication and zeal are all parts of the learning formula.

Graphics can be a big help with pruning by helping students to capture and grasp key concepts.

I feel like I am dealing with a similar situation with pharmacy technician students. The students just want to copy the behavior of what is expected in a job, but do not want to know why they are required to perform these behaviors. My students often respond to me at the end of a course by stating that now they know why they are to perform within certain parameters instead of just the "monkey see, monkey do, effect!" I try to design my courses to help the students prune after being exposed to all of the material to see the important aspects of their information and how to apply it to their future career.

Good for you. Your approach is going to impact their behavior and professional conduct throughout their careers. This way they are going to enjoy career success which should be the goal of each student.

Gary Meers, Ed.D.

I agree. I often give a sample test with the answers. It is frustrating when students look at the answers first, before even attempting the problems.

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