A Learning Model for Early Humans: In truth, no one can say for certain whether the first Kids Early Learning that took place in our early human ancestors was at least partially driven by some form of instinct.
A Learning Model for Early Humans
Today there remains a scientific debate between what is called empiricists – who believe all learning is totally experience-based – and atavists – who believe at some level the brain is pre-programmed for certain kinds of learning.
One can speculate, however, on the process that might have taken place in our ancestors that led to learning, regardless of whether or not it was partially instinctual. Here is a common-sense learning model for what could have driven early humans:
1. Problem Recognition
2. Solution Development
3. Simulated Practice
4. Experiential Performance
5. New Problems Encountered
6. New Solutions Developed
At some point in the evolutionary process, our brains became big enough to begin to recognize problems in our environment. A food supply limited to that which grows in trees or on the ground was a problem. Running away from dangerous predators or competitive hominids being the only defensive mechanism available was a problem.
Early tools provided solutions. One can speculate that natural materials, like femur bones from large animals, were the first to be seen for how they could be used to help humans cope with some of the problems they faced.
One can imagine a process of trial and error, experimenting with different types and sizes of bones in practice settings.
While it is possible that an early hominid went off in search of an animal to club to death the moment he discovered the force one could exert with a large bone, it makes more sense to imagine a process of practicing with the bone in simulated settings, like striking the ground, a bush, or a tree to see what the tool could do.
Practice-led to the performance of the tool in real experiences in the field. Experiences there probably opened the door to new solutions. For example, did you ever wonder how early man learned that rooting animals like tapirs – an early form of a pig – could be a food source? Perhaps club tools were used to eliminate them as a source of competition and in the process men learned their flesh could be consumed.
New Problems Encountered
In the world of real experience using club-like tools, one can imagine early man becoming aware of the tools presented new problems – the most significant being an injury. To club prey or predator to death required an up-close attack, leaving the early human dangerously exposed.
In addition, it is likely these early hunters realized bashing the animal about the head was the best method, but limited the practicality of the tool.
New Solutions Developed
Out of this experience, we can assume grew the development of the thrusting spear. With the problem defined as keeping a distance from the animal and having more areas to strike, a long branch with a splintered end may have been the first solution, followed by the throwing spear and the inclusion of stone into the tool kit. One might assume that in our earliest developmental stages there was less concern with thinking about learning methodologies than with the necessity to learn needed survival skills.
We know with reasonable certainty that Socrates was concerned not only with what should be taught but also with how best to teach it.
However, is it possible some of our early ancestors were subject to the same considerations? Certainly, the discovery learning of one individual had to be “taught” to others in the group and then passed on. How did that happen? What do you suppose were mankind’s first teaching methodologies?