The programme begins with several stills and film sequences which illustrate different teaching methods. Clive Holloway explains how an experiment could be set up which would measure the effectiveness of different teaching styles with different methods of learning. Having given an overall view of the experiment he now explains it in greater detail. Four people are studied as they learn about a taxonomy, a free learning task. On the basis of their learning technique they are classified into two types of learner, serialist or holist. We see the first subject, Roger, learning about taxonomy. His behaviour leads to him being classified as a serialist. Bernard Scott, one of the designers of the experiment, explains how a serialist would tackle a learning problem. Next we see Robin learning about taxonomy. His learning technique is classified as holist. In order to highlight the difference between these techniques we see a display of the pattern of the subjects' choices as they were studying. Two other people, Jude and Jane, are also classed as serialist and holist. Having classed the individual learning strategies, the subjects now have to learn about a second taxonomy, but this time with different teaching strategies. Roger, a serialist, is seen learning from a serialist layout of information. Robin, a holist, is seen learning from a holist arrangement of information. The two other subjects are mismatched, learning from the opposite style to their learning strategy. Results from the experiment are shown by asking the subjects to give an accurate description of the taxonomy. The mismatched subjects tend to only have a partial knowledge. Clive and Bernard now discuss the experiment. The differences between the groups are described as dramatic. The results are seen as being important for teaching. Bernard describes how the experiment has been conducted on a larger scale and in the classroom, where making the distinction between holism and serialism explicit has helped teachers in their work.
The cognitive development theme continues in this programme about learning and teaching styles. An experiment devised by Gordon Pask and Bernard Scott tests and identifies particular learning strategies adopted by subjects. Teaching styles are then developed which match these two learning styles. Some subjects are then taught a new set of information in a matched teaching and learning style, others are mismatched. As the programme shows, some dramatic results are obtained by comparing matched and mismatched subjects.