|Course:||Postgraduate Certificate - Tertiary Level Teaching|
|Module:||How Students Learn - A Review of Some of the Main Theories|
|Page:||5b - Serialists and Holists|
Serialists and holists
Another way in which students can differ in their approach to learning is in terms of the serialist approach versus the holistic approach.
Students who adopt a serialistic approach tend to work in a systematic, essentially linear way, and tend to approach a complicated task by breaking it down into a series of sub-tasks, mastering each of these separately, and then combining them in order to master the task as a whole. They tend to work according to the following general pattern:
Students who adopt a holistic approach, on the other hand, tend to work best by tackling a task as an integrated whole right from the start. They tend to work according to the following general pattern:
Clearly, both approaches have their applications, and students should be encouraged to cultivate both styles, choosing the approach that is most appropriate for any given situation. When examining a specific area in great depth, for example, a serialist approach is probably best; when examining a topic in its overall context, on the other hand, a holistic approach would probably be more effective. Problem-solving calls for a combination of the approaches.