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Learning is Cumulative

Learning is Cumulative

Like training for a marathon, you don’t start training the day before. You build on what you’ve already done.

Every day you’re better. Even when you think you have a “bad day” you still have a day that is a step further along than the day before and a step closer to where you’re heading.

This is a response to the question, “Why Every Single Day?” Follow along with the multitude of reasons in the Every Single Day series.

You don’t just start First Grade without having completed Kindergarten. Your learning is based on what you learned before and everything new is based on the foundation you have been building on. You can’t just learn step #5 before getting through steps 1 through 4.

Here’s the secret. Even on a bad day, even when you think you’re not making any progress, even when you think you’re even regressing, you’re moving forward. Through mistakes, you learn. With failure, you learn what success means. Through Every Single Day you’re learning, improving and moving forward.

  • Possible: do one day.
  • Impossible: skip to the next day.
  • Repossible: train, learn, do Every Single Day.

Think you don’t need to get through the basics? These studies say it helps to go from A to B to C.

  • Cumulative learning is the cognitive process by which we accumulate knowledge and abilities that serve as building blocks for subsequent cognitive development.
  • How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching: applying what you’ve learned in the past to what you’re now learning, and all of that to what you will learn in the future.
  • Robert Gagne’s Theory: Gagne stressed the cumulative nature of learning intellectual skills in which mastery of higher-level skills (e.g., rules) depends primarily upon the prior mastery of lower-order skills or concepts. Accordingly, intellectual skills are arranged in a hierarchical order so that successful instruction begins with teaching lower-order skills and progresses upwards.


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