As we all said, it has lots to do with context. It seems also that no approach works forever and interleaving approaches is important, probably even necessary. I’ll try to list out the things we came up with as regards to this:
- How to shorten feedback loops?
- How to ensure feedback loop coverage?
- When is approach A (assuming some knowledge) or approach B (assuming no knowledge) appropriate? When are both equally well suited?
- How to decide which knowledge to pursue?
I would love to find a way to answer these questions! Can we think up a way to do so? On what are these answers dependent on?
One idea would be to presuppose a fading of effectivity of approaches. Which is why interleaving is important.
I like the idea of doubting oneself as an observational technique, too: Knowing and learning to know is a contingent practice. Put another way: The way in which we know is just one way of knowing. The pattern of information around a concept (a chunk) could have been in a different shape. It might be distorted, simplified, reductive or incomplete in its current form. We could think that the chunk swims in a sea of its own possibilities.
I think that our “how” and “when” questions in that little list up there, also really point towards something like a target that is needed. It gets easier to answer these questions if we know more precisely what are we working towards. Instead of “getting better at coding”, or even “strengthen my JS knowledge”, something like “understanding React hooks well enough to be able to rewrite just this one class component in my app, by the end of the month”, makes those questions a little bit more answerable, imho.
I also snuck in another frame of reference in my example: Time. Let’s assume we would have to face a big test on a sufficiently defined learning goal in two days, two weeks, two months and two years. The further away the due date is, the more things we can consider to take into account. At the same time we lose specificity again, because to much becomes eligible as possible information.
In general, it seems that mobilizing as much frames of reference as possible seems like a good idea. Define the goal, set a due date, make yourself accountable, define the steps to get to the goal, get on the same page with your teachers, peers, etc. (learn to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, fair and unfair, as they do, etc.). Nail down as much of the context as possible. Remove as much noise as possible. Even though we still can’t control the shape of knowledge that will be coming out of this framing completely, we still will shape it a good amount.