Observation on Learning

Antony Zhao

On weekends I usually play basketball with my friend Barry. Barry is a really competitive guy and really stubborn about his losses and, recently he’s had a slump. The problem was that when he played, his left hand was useless because he did everything with his right hand. I told him to start learning how to play with his left hand. Of course he was really stubborn and didn’t want to listen to a lower tier athlete like me. So I challenged him to a game were he could only use his left hand to score. He lost convincingly. Disgusted by his loss, he started coming out to the court earlier just to practice scoring and dribbling with his left hand. He soon realized he was harder to defend against and harder to predict because he wouldn’t always dribble toward the right side of the court. This led to me realizing that proving a point with action really did speak louder than words.

1 thought on “Observation on Learning

  1. I am unclear what happened here. Are you the only member of your group to report? Please clarify in an email to me so that I will know what to do about awarding bonus points. If your group now consists of only you then we need to put you in another group for the next project.

    The report of learning is a nice one. You start by documenting where your friend started out from, which is important in evaluating observations of this sort. You then document what happened when your friend deliberately altered his behavior.

    That said, you should say a bit more about what kind of learning is involved here. In real life people often learn by more than one means. It certainly sounds like your friend learned something via social learning processes when you challenged him and spoke with him directly about his playing. But he learned by other means when, first, he observed that he lost badly when forced to play with his undeveloped hand; and then learned in yet another way by going to deliberately play with that hand until it worked well for him. What kinds of learnings were involved there?

    You need to provide explicit references for your observations.

    You have fulfilled the assignment. I’ll give you 42/50.

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