Learning CW, it just doesnt stick!

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by SA7CNG, May 21, 2020.

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  1. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why would it take so long? Well, think about the kids in this experiment. They had time set aside for learning Morse code. Their "job" was to learn Morse code. They had someone there to teach and ask questions. They had others in the class to help them too, and provide motivation.

    An adult trying to do this on their own has no one to ask questions. There might be forums like this but they can be as toxic as they can be motivating. With no one else in a class to compare themselves to there's not much gauge on if they are doing well or not. Since adults will rarely get paid to learn Morse code there's plenty of distraction in their work and other obligations.

    I happened across something on a music school for people of all ages that teaches people in groups. The founder of the school found out that people learned to play more quickly if there were others learning with them. Now imagine this school compared to someone trying to learn to play an instrument on their own, using only YouTube videos and some books they bought. And do so while having to go to work every weekday as well as care for their children or whatever.

    You can't imagine? Well, maybe you need to work on your imagination.
     
  2. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    This has been basic learning theory for hundreds of years.

    People learn well in groups because of all sorts of aspects of social relationships. People are essentially social creatures, not creatures of isolation. One such obvious social relationship is
    that of imitation or modeling. Younger sibling learns from older siblings--most of us have
    observed that process.

    Many of the suggestions that appear here emphasize the benefits of groups for those
    wishing to learn code. Or learning anything else. Our brain function depends on neurotransmitters which increase in social settings with social exhanges of all sorts.

    I also think that there are many hams who want to learn Morse Code who have not had good
    learning experiences in their pasts. They attended poor schools or they were in the wrong class
    where they were not developmentally ready to take in the subject at hand. Hams with college and
    graduate degrees should have plenty of experience in learning efficiently, so the educational level
    of a prospective code op is not doubt relevant.
     
  3. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not for teaching music, which is why the founder of the school found it odd that so much of musical instrument instruction is done with one on one tutors. I took some music lessons while attending university, the instruction was one on one. That was not hundreds of years ago. So it appears plenty of people have not got the message on how group instruction is an improvement.
     
  4. JS6UEY

    JS6UEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    [QUOTE="..... they all learned 40 characters (alpha, numeric, symbols) just fine in six weeks.....I can't imagine why it would take anyone more than six weeks....[/QUOTE]

    I suspect that teacher was talking about the kids learning the characters, not copying. I would would like to know; however, would venture to guess less than 5wpm.

    I'm quite grey and "learned" the characters within a week or so. That's not hard. Learning to copy at pace is hard.
     
  5. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like to leave the filter set at about 3600 or 2000 Hz if the station I am working has a nice loud signal, so I can also hear what's going on up and down the band. The "filter between the ears"takes care of anything I'm not interested in, but lets through the DX calling 800 Hz away. However, when the station I am copying is weak and there is a strong station nearby I can't get rid of using CW REV, I use the 500 Hz filter.
     
  6. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    There was the invention of the classroom. The invention of the church. The public speech. Greek culture. The Roman public gatherings. All about social learning.

    One-0n-one for teaching of technique is a subset of the above. It's also social rather than
    the isolated would-be Morse op sitting by himself in front of his screen.
     
  7. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    The reason kids often have an easier time learning has very little (if anything) to do with whether they expect it to be easy or hard, and a whole lot to do with simply being kids. I learned a whole load of stuff without any much effort when I was a kid; if it interested me and I could find the requisite information and instructions I soaked it up. Things I didn't find interesting I did rather less well in. I don't remember actually having to work at learning stuff that interested me until I was well into my teens.

    I dove into learning Morse on lcwo.net using the Koch method in April 2010, expecting it to be easy. A few months later, having got as far as lesson 5 or 6, I set lcwo.net aside for a couple of months while I studied for my full licence exam, and re-started it after that was out of the way in March 2011. In April 2012 I finally abandoned the idea of getting any further with Koch, having done thousands of exercises and made it to about lesson 15. I started learning expecting it to be easy, but it turned out not to be, or at least not easy that way. I sure wish someone had said "It shouldn't take you more than six weeks to get through the characters" because then I'd have realised it wasn't working for me, and tried something different a whole lot sooner...

    One of the things that did make a difference to my Morse-learning journey was finding a mixed-mode on-air Morse practice broadcast. It doesn't quite have a classroom social dynamic, but it does have something the computer-generated stuff lacks, and after the broadcast there's an opportunity to call in and talk to the sender, so it's not all one-way.
     
  8. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    After faithfully following this thread since its inception and a similar thread on the SKCC message board, and (too) much consideration, two distinct personal thoughts have risen to the surface. They are:

    1) I very grateful I'm not entering ham radio in 2020 and wishing to learn Morse code. The plethora of methods are a bit overwhelming and making a choice would be difficult at best. W9BRD's Blinded by Choice from his Enjoying Radio print days comes to mind. And,

    2) Given all of today's various means and methods of learning Morse code, it's amazing how so many folks, including me, were able to learn not only Morse code, but also how to copy on-the-air Morse code conversations with little more than a key, audio tone oscillator, and ultimately a receiver - no computers, no cell phones, no apps, no horde of on-line experts with their own take on things.

    Please excuse my nostalgia. If you find it offensive, spin the dial.
     
    WA9FZB likes this.
  9. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd call it common sense. Which is a very rare thing in these days of near-universal belief in the
    usefulness of multitasking, in the computer brain's superiority to the human brain and in
    instantaneous acquisition of knowledge and understanding without any practical experience.

    Nostalgically I recall what an old farmer said to me: "if you ain't making mistakes, you
    ain't learning anything."
     
    WN1MB likes this.
  10. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I suspect that teacher was talking about the kids learning the characters, not copying. I would would like to know; however, would venture to guess less than 5wpm.

    I'm quite grey and "learned" the characters within a week or so. That's not hard. Learning to copy at pace is hard.[/QUOTE]

    Then in Japan, there is "wabun", which goes beyond International lines with Hepburn spelling, with sound patterns representing complete syllables. It took me a long time to realize that my name starts with the syllable "Pa", which has a great wabun sound:
    DAHdididit DIdidahdah dit.
    73
     

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