It is potentially Gagne’s theory on mental models and a good paper is here (PDF) but what got me interested (being an avid Ayn Rand reader) that this article uses the concept of hierarchy of knowledge in a rather simplistic way.
If you are parent, or a soon to be parent – this is required reading. If you are an instructional designer, it is even more pertinent – because it may help you establish relationships as you teach concepts – and use the ‘basic’ concepts to build more complicated concepts:
Imagine what would happen if a first-grade teacher, instead of teaching her students addition and subtraction, attempted first to teach them algebra—or, even worse, in the name of intellectual rigor and in an effort to offer a program of exceptional quality—decided to dive right into calculus. Obviously, the students would learn nothing. Being unable to grasp the basic operations of mathematics with specific numbers, they would be completely unable to grasp the idea of a variable that abstracts away from any particular number—let alone advanced equations involving complex algebraic calculations.
There is definitely an order of knowledge and I am definitely looking forward to the next three parts of this article.
If you have interest in eLearning in some form, instructional design, or learning processes, I would guess this would be equally relevant to you. Luckily – they have an RSS feed, and no – you don’t have to be a capitalist to read this magazine. Read it, just because it may help build your concepts further.
The entire series of “How To Teach Your Child:”