Why someone might learn a little something

I was half listening to a conversation last night, in which someone was explaining how the structural engineering of the World Trade Centres contributed to their collapse. Wait, let me back up, she didn’t mention structural engineering at all, just why they “pancaked.” Judging from the coversation, her interest seemed largely informed by the mass media, and part of a larger conversation about films and documentaries about the events of That Day, and not from a degree in engineering or architecture, or experience in building.

Learning theories tell us that if people have a connection to the material, they will in fact put the effort into learning it, and into recounting their learning to others. If we make the subject applicable to their lives, or connect with their experiences or give it a personal resonance, it just might stick.


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