Learning at the Doctorate Level


Lex Librero, PhD

Professor Emeritus

UP Open University


(Here’s what I shared with the incoming students under the Doctor of Communication Program of UPOU on July 28th 2018, during our orientation program at UPOU Headquarters in Los Banos. I wish to share it with those following UPOU blog posts.)

At the doctorate level, learning is not different from other forms of learning, but usually at a higher intellectual level. It is cushioned on Confucian learning principles, the essence of which is as follows: “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” Translated into practical terms, when we listen, as we do in lectures, we will tend to forget what we have heard; when we see as we do in reading, we will tend to remember what we have read; and when we do as when we apply what we have heard or read even only in writing it down, then we shall understand. This is what happens when we learn at the doctorate level.

These are the same as what railroad signs tell us: stop, look, listen. Only, they are in reverse order. When we put together all three conditions, we satisfy the requirements for effective learning. We validate what we have heard from lectures through reading, and we validate what what we have read through actual application. But normally this happens at the individual level, therefore, we validate individually. This is then the essence of individualized independent learning. Indeed, learning is highly individualized and independent activity because we learn differently through different means and for different reasons, which is basically the intention of multiple intelligence. To make this learning more permanent, however, you will need to combine all the sensual means you employ in engaging your environment.

You will find that at the doctorate level, you will do your own learning. No one is going to do the learning for you. This is what makes learning at the doctorate level a lonesome activity most of the time. You can alleviate this boring condition by engaging in personal discourse with your professors and classmates, but mostly with your peers and classmates.

A huge chunk of your time under the DComm Program shall be devoted to reading and writing, more than listening. Verbal interactions are not always available, but most of the time you will need to communicate with your professors and classmates through the written word. As you engage one another in the written communication mode, write down what you have learned from the interaction you shall have had. And always keep your notes handy.


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