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The dynamic interaction between task, instructor and learner. McMahon (1997) agrees that learning is a social process. Learning styles and the nature of learning, By providing visual stimuli along with the verbal. Action Learning: the learners play a much more active role in determining the objectives of the learning than in guided learning; there is a strong element of learner … Evans and Sadler-Smith (2006) make a number of useful recommendations on learning styles, which arise out of the 10th Annual Learning Styles Information Network Conference (July 2005, University of Surrey): What is important from a teaching point of view is not just to follow the learners’ (presumed) styles but offer learner-centred teaching that offers choice, variety in modes of delivery and teaching styles, and clarity in goals, feedback, assessment instructions etc. The nature of the learning process Learning is an active, social process Social constructivist scholars view learning as an active process where learners should learn to discover principles, concepts and facts for themselves, hence the importance of encouraging guesswork and intuitive thinking in learners. According to Rogers, learning is facilitated when— The student participates completely in the learning process and has control over its nature and direction, It is primarily based upon direct confrontation with practical, social, personal or research problems, and; Self-evaluation is the principal method of assessing progress or success. learning strategies, and how to measure outcomes, while taking care of feedback, judgements and rewards. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Pask, G. (1976), ‘Conversational techniques in the study and practice of education’. Learning as memorising. As stated above, there is little research or theoretical underpinning to learning styles, and while anecdotal evidence points to the value of including a range of different styles to accommodate various needs, many do not consider that the teacher should automatically match teaching method to the learner. The importance of the background and culture of the learner Some learning approaches that could harbour this interactive learning include reciprocal teaching, peer collaboration, cognitive apprenticeships, problem-based instruction, web quests, anchored instruction and other approaches that involve learning with others. 2. Learning as a quantitative increase in knowledge. An obvious example of such attention grabbing is that fact that most people remember what they were doing at the time of significant events, such as 9/11. These cognitive abilities cannot be develop without the active involvement and engagement of the learner. The analytic thinker processes information into its components, looks at detail, is concerned with procedures, and is a logical thinker. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell states that the key to success is for us to practice 10,000 hours on a specific skill.It’s also worth noting that the skill needs the correct learning direction. Unsurprisingly, the growth of interest in constructivism gave rise to more ‘student centred’ forms of teaching, such as independent and group learning. Here are some ways that retention can be increased: Long-term memory consists of a number of schemata which are abstract structures in which new information is stored. Until the 1970s, the most favoured perspective was that of the behaviourists, who were more concerned with the measurable outputs of learning, such as the ability to reproduce facts, than in the mental processes involved. Provide a positive learning environment, giving attention to issues of delivery and feedback, clearly stating course goals, and providing explicit guidance on assessment requirements. (1994). In order to understand mental processes, we need to know how the brain functions; thus cognitive psychology lays particular emphasis on memory and recall. Opinions differ as to whether knowledge exists independently and is transmissible, or whether it resides purely in the mind of the learner. History of Education in the United States, Confusion between Constructivist & Maturationist views, The selection, scope & sequencing of subject, Investigations in Numbers, Data, and Space, NCEE (National Center on Education and the Economy), Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, U.S. Department of Education exemplary mathematics programs. Rodwell, J. Learning as acquiring facts, skills, and methods that can be retained and usedas necessary. Learn by doing, and tend to be extrovert people who get on with things, thriving on challenge and. 11. For example, you “learn” to drive a car or have learned how to use a computer. 5. For all constructivists, however, the most important question is, what goes on in the mind of the learner? Learning is expected to bring about more or less permanent change in the learner’s behavior. According to them the main focus is on the instructor-student relationship. ADVERTISEMENTS: Learning: Meaning, Nature, Types and Theories of Learning! ; This is represented on the diagram as two axis dividing the cycle into four quadrants. This approach to learning is based on the idea that learners respond to stimuli in their environment. One major source of learning is through response consequences. Case study of school students to understand nature of learner and learning process rating. The social constructivist model thus emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the student and the instructor in the learning process. (Sadler-Smith, 1996), Learning style is ‘…the way each learner begins to concentrate on, process and retain new information’ (Dunn et al., 1994, p.2, quoted in Böstrum and Lassen, 2006). Learning better achieved alone, with peers in a group, with authoritative adult etc. By making the information more ‘meaningful’, for example by linking it to existing knowledge, by giving it a structure, or by providing a brief overview at the beginning (‘In this lecture we shall be looking at X, Y and Z.’). It also places learning into the hands of students themselves, so they can witness their own process and cultivate self-improvement strategies that support lifelong learning. The visual, auditory and kinaesthetic model, according to which people learn by one of seeing, hearing or doing, has had much influence in schools but lacks a scientific basis. Learning is storing information that can be reproduced. A wooden presentation is not conducive to learning. He asked adult students what they understood by learning. There are different types of learning processes, for example, habit formation in motor learning; and learning that involves the generation of knowledge, or cognitive skills and learning strategies. We shall look below at some of the more common ones. For example, most teaching is done through lectures, where the teacher talks to convey the important points. Addressing the whole learner in developmentally appropriate ways includes establishing positive student relationships and listening to each learner’s voice in creating productive learning climates. The retentional process is aided by coding and rehearsal. This led to the growth of constructivism, according to which knowledge is ‘constructed’ by the learner. However, psychologists became more and more interested in what was going on inside the brain, due partly to the growth of neuroscience and of cognitive psychology. This creates a dynamic interaction between task, instructor and learner. Tickle, S. (2001), ‘What have we learnt about student learning? Do people learn in the same way? Green and Gredler (2002) emphasize learning as an iterative process, involving discursive, adaptive, interactive, and reflexive qualities. Spicer, D. (2004), ‘The impact of approaches to learning and cognition on academic performance in business and management’. Learning produces changes is behavior. For example, highly motivated students may learn at their own speed (contract activity packages); others may learn in small steps but without supervision (program learning sequences); each student has one perceptual mode which is stronger, and it is important to reinforce through that mode (multi-sensory instructional packages – for example lectures for an auditory student). Teach using various methods – there is benefit in both matching and ‘mismatching’ the style of the learner. There are those learners that learn fast while there are those learners that learn in average or slower. 149-50), is "organized into mental packages (‘minitheories’) that are developed to provide clear interpretation and smooth expertise in familiar domains of experience.". (1996), ‘The Cognitive Style Index: a measure of intuition-analysis for organisational research’. Sadler-Smith, E. (1996), ‘Learning styles: a holistic approach’. (2005), ‘The assessment of formal management development’. The first two are conscious memory; the latter is a storage system of vast capacity which under the right circumstances can move items back to working memory. Learning Process: Kolb's (1984) ‘Experiential Learning Style Theory’ is typically represented by a four STAGES learning cycle in which the learner 'touches all the bases‘. By mnemonic devices especially ones that employ visual imagery (see point about dual coding above). The above views see learning as a one-off process; others see it as a cycle. By repetition – ‘overlearning’, the continued study of material after it has been learnt. Motivation, persistence, conformity, ability to multi-task etc. 3. The focus shifted from how did people reproduce knowledge, to how did they construct it? A second major source of learning is through observation. Four Learning Styles • Concrete experience (Feeling): A new experience of situation is encountered, or a reinterpretation of existing experience. Kukla (2000) argues that reality is constructed by our own activities and that people, together as members of a society, invent the properties of the world. Learning happens as a process of sense making: we need to personalise, to relate to what we already know, to provide a context. The native capacity of the individual is of prime importance in determining the effectiveness of the, learning process. Such awareness is probably the best gift you can give your students. Positive learning vital for children’s growth and development. Capturing students’ attention will ensure that material enters short-term memory; the goal however is for something to enter long-term memory, the storage system, and be ready for retrieval. Make use of groups to encourage diversity. The nature of the learner. The attention process is influenced by the model, the observer, and incentive conditions. Sadler-Smith (1996) summarizes the stages thus: Learning is thus a process of observation, reflection, abstraction and experimentation. 3. Sequeira (2012) observed teaching as a set of events, outside the learners which are designed to support internal process of learning. Learning happens by associating with what we already know. Knowledge, according to Claxton (1990, pp. This change may range from the acquisition of a relatively simple skill, item of information to the mastery of complicated mechanical performance and application of difficult and abstract reading material, change in response or behavior is caused partly or wholly by experience. This entails that learners and instructors should develop an awareness of each other's viewpoints and then look to own beliefs, standards and values, thus being both subjective and objective at the same time. Like to do a lot of preparation and think about what they do before rushing into a decision as to how to do it. Social constructivism not only acknowledges the uniqueness and complexity of the learner, but actually encourages, utilizes and rewards it as an integral part of the learning process. For information to enter conscious memory, our attention needs to be grabbed; this is even more the case if something is to be moved to long-term memory. Kolb’s model was further developed by the British psychologists Honey and Mumford (1992), who developed the Learning Styles Questionnaire and whose well-known model summarized in the table below broadly corresponds with Kolb’s typology (see third column): Honey and Mumford make no claim for their questionnaire being a psychological test, seeing it rather as something which can help managers think, and it has been highly influential in training. This means that the learning experience is both subjective and objective and requires that the instructor’s culture, values and background become an essential part of the interplay between learners and tasks in the shaping of meaning. In this article, we shall give a brief overview of some of the main theories of learning, and examine the current thinking on how different styles should affect teaching. How We Learn… Kolb identified two separate learning activities that occur in the learning cycle: perception (the way we take in information) and; processing (how we deal with information). Meaning of Learning. Allinson and Hayes (1996) are examples of researchers who describe learning styles in terms of cognitive attributes. Learning at school requires students to pay attention, to observe, to memorize, to understand, to set goals and to assume responsibility for their own learning. Underlying such views is a fear of labelling learners, who may in turn evolve different strategies as they develop. Knowledge is thus a product of humans and is socially and culturally constructed. The wholistic thinker is more likely to see the whole picture, be more intuitive, and notice similarities rather than differences. It consists of 38 items, 21 representing analysis and 17 intuition; the results are summed and then divided by the number of items in that dimension, with the higher the score, the stronger the tendency towards that particular descriptor. Successful retrieval depends on the ability of the information to fit into these structures. The result is four different types of knowledge, which correspond to different styles according to which people acquire, and subsequently transform, knowledge (Kolb, 1984): Divergent knowledge: concrete experience (CE) transformed through reflective observation (RO), Assimilative knowledge: abstract conceptualization (AC), whereby experience is reflected on and related to general and abstract ideas, and transformed through reflective observation (RO), Convergent knowledge: abstract conceptualization (AC) transformed through active experimentation (AE), whereby the learner tests ideas by applying them to other areas, Accommodative knowledge: concrete experience (CE) transformed by active experimentation (AE). 4. A further characteristic of the role of the facilitator in the social constructivist viewpoint, is that the instructor and the learners are equally involved in learning from each other as well. As such, it may not display exactly as originally intended. 2. The cognitive style index is considered reliable as far as re-testability is concerned, and recently it has been revised and the dimensions separated. Learning requires the active, constructive involvement of the learner. Learning as making sense or abstracting … Children learn from parents, teachers, environment, nature, media etc. Dependent learning which is teacher directed, highly structured with very explicit assignments, and with lectures, surgeries etc. Letting kids spend time in settings with natural elements or giving them structured nature experiences can make for a calmer, socially safe, and fun learning environment. The favorable environment, participates in the teaching-learning process by providing a place where there is a smooth flow of communication, avoiding some common barriers between the teacher and the learner. Böstrum, L. and Lassen, L.v (2006), ‘Unravelling learning, learning styles, learning strategies and meta-cognition’. 4. Nature versus Nurture: Why My Child’s Learning Development is a Product of the Environment I Create. A learning style may be defined as a ‘distinctive and habitual manner of acquiring knowledge, skills or attitudes through study or experience’. Learning always involves some kind of experience, direct or indirect (vicarious). © 2004-2020 — All Rights Reserved. If you’re learning how to do something the wrong way, you’ll continue to use it the wrong way. The learning of complex subject matter is most effective when it is an intentional process of constructing meaning from information and experience. Variations in tone of delivery, use of gesture, movement etc. According to dual coding theory, information is best recalled if it is stored in both verbal and visual form. Their cognitive style index measures learning styles along the wholistic/analytic dimension. Meaning and Nature: Learning is a key process in human behaviour. This module takes into consideration the holistic nature of individual student learning and the most effective practices for helping them develop into autonomous and responsible learners. The similarity between the two approaches can further be seen in this diagram of Kolb’s cycle (Rodwell, 2005): Some learning styles are given descriptors based on cognitive attributes, most often described in terms of the dimensions of wholistic/analytic or verbalizer/imager. The social and physical environment in which children learn can make a difference in their academic success. Case study of school students to understand nature of learner and learning process. The "nature of the learner" refers to how each learner learns. By getting students to recite material – engaging the psychomotor responses of speech, and the auditory sense. The task or problem is thus the interface between the instructor and the learner. That’s where visible learning comes in. However, there has been little research on cognitive learning styles and performance (Spicer, 2004). (Incidentally, this is an argument for using concrete as opposed to abstract words as the former give rise to imagery in the mind.). Some years ago, Säljö (1979) carried out a simple, but very useful piece of research. Learning is Continuous. Dunn’s learning styles model (Dunn and Griggs, 2003) is highly complex and comprises six strands: One of the most interesting things about Dunn’s contribution to the learning styles debate is the way in which he proposes that there should be a match between how students learn and how teachers teach (although this has been widely criticized, see how valid are learning styles?). Kolb also believed that people react differently to these stages, although he emphasized the importance of developing skills in all. A true learner is the one who never compromise on his/her zeal to learn something new and never carry an attitude of ‘’I know it’’ all. Nature of the learning process. Change must be relatively permanent: This means that after “learning” our behavior must be different, either better or worse as compared to our behaviour prior to this learning experience. Nature is an unbeatable source of inspiration – not just in the sense of creating art but also nature helps to clear head, gain perspective and become more creative at problem-solving. Evans, Carol and Sadler-Smith, Eugene (2006), ‘Learning styles in education and training: problems, politicisation and potential’. Social constructivist scholars view learning as an active process where learners should learn to discover principles, concepts and facts for themselves, hence the importance of encouraging guesswork and intuitive thinking in learners. Natural problem solvers, with an objective viewpoint, who adapt observations into theories, and learn from systems, models and concepts. The model of learning described by Kolb has been outlined above. 3. In fact, for the social constructivist, reality is not something that we can discover because it does not pre-exist prior to our social invention of it. Learning ‘baggage’ may also play a part, for example people may have been oriented towards a particular method at school, or indeed put off learning altogether. He further states that learning is not a process that only takes place inside our minds, nor is it a passive development of our behaviours that is shaped by external forces and that meaningful learning occurs when individuals are engaged in social activities. Autonomous – the learner likes to have the teacher as a resource, but to have influence over the content and structure of what is learnt. There are two primary elements in meaning of learning:. Provide teaching that is genuinely learner-centred, offering flexibility and choice (supported by better curriculum and course content design). A learning style differs from a learning strategy, which is a more conscious plan of action as to how to acquire new knowledge, skills or attitudes, and from learning preferences, which is how people prefer to be taught, for example a person may opt for one of the following (Sadler-Smith, 1996): There are many different models or how people learn, but little theoretical underpinning for these models or research as to which are the most effective. The role of the learning facilitator, therefore, is to provide relevant and useful stimuli so that the learner responds to and gains the required knowledge or experience.The behaviourist approach to learning centres around the belief that appropriate behaviour can be taught through constant repetition of a task combined with feedback from the facilitator. This article provides helpful information regarding nature versus nurture and how a child’s environment can encourage their academic potential. Global versus analytic, left vs. right-brained etc. Indeed, it is considered desirable that they should develop a range of skills. ... Learning style is ‘…the way each learner begins to concentrate on, process and retain new information’ (Dunn et al., 1994, p.2, quoted in Böstrum and Lassen, 2006) Motivation is also key to learning: Entwistle began in the 1970s to explore ideas of deep learning and surface learning (Tickle, 2001). Learners compare their version of the truth with that of the instructor and fellow learners in order to get to a new, socially tested version of truth. Through practical activity a child constructs meaning on an intrapersonal level, while speech connects this meaning with the interpersonal world shared by the child and her/his culture. Learning is acquiring information or ‘knowing a lot’. Teaching should be sensitive to the learner, and aimed at broadening their learning styles and strategies. Every single aspect of learning in nature already predetermined to influence and generate sensory experiences and involve all senses into the learning process. Such learners will flourish with distance learning or resource-based learning. Most teachers know intuitively that learners remember better if they pay attention: their task is to provide stimuli and employ strategies that combat the natural forgetting process. By making the learning active – more likely to encourage recall than passive learning. Educational psychology involves the study of how people learn, including topics such as student outcomes, the instructional process, individual differences in learning, gifted learners, and learning disabilities.Psychologists who work in this field are interested in how people learn … Other studies, too, argue for the importance of mentoring in the process of learning. 2. Additionally, learning styles may not be fixed universal attributes but may be the result of cultural influences: some students may be more used to a very lecture-dependent approach. Psychology reveals to use that an individual possess different kinds to intelligence. The most influential thinkers in the area of learning and management development have been the American Kolb and the British Honey and Mumford, who see learning as a series of stages, described respectively as the experiential learning model (Kolb, 1984) and the learning cycle (Honey and Mumford, 1986). Ideas on learning are mostly rooted in the work of psychologists working in the area of educational or cognitive psychology. The Essential Steps of the Learning Process. Learners should be encourages to adopt other styles, and above all, to develop awareness of the ways in which they learn, think, perceive and memorize – metacognition. In the surface approach, learners are more concerned with ‘simply memorizing’ the text and don’t ‘argue with it’ or make any attempt to relate it to the broader canvas of their knowledge. There are three types of memory: short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory. Their responses fell into five main categories: 1. Such ideas are well established, and go back to Pask’s Conversation Theory, according to which learning becomes a ‘conversation’ between tutor and taught (Pask, 1976), and indeed before that to the Socratic dialogue. Practical learners who adopt the right strategy for the task in hand, enjoy problem solving and learn by practical application of theory. If we compare the simple, crude ways in which a child feels and behaves, with the complex modes of adult behaviour, his skills, habits, thought, sentiments and the like- we will […] Gage and Berliner (1988) give a good overview of what happens in cognitive learning, when we process ‘meaningful verbal material’. Learning is from all Sides: Today learning is from all sides. Making the learning process more visible means uncovering the steps—or missteps—a student took to reach a certain level of knowledge. and Hayes, J. Beware of labelling students, and be aware of the role of culture in learning styles. The term ‘learning styles’ relates to the (often unconscious) processes we employ when we learn, which are the result of our brain structure, our personalities, our environment, our culture, and our educational history. 6. By which sensory mode is learning better achieved: auditory, visual or kinetic. Nature as a source of inspiration. He gave the following descriptors to these stages: The idea is that learning demands ‘both a grasp or figurative representation of experience and some transformation of that representation’ (Rodwell, 2005). All living is learning. Learning is through Experience. 2. Learning occupies a very important place in our life. There is currently great emphasis on ‘active learning’, wherein the student is an active participant by means of activities, feedback and discussion etc. Other constructivist scholars agree with this and emphasize that individuals make meanings through the interactions with each other and with the environment they live in. all help here, as do attractively presented visuals using colour and images. In the deep approach, learners relate material to what they already know, consider it thoughtfully, examine the argument, and look for patterns. Vygotsky (1978) also highlighted the convergence of the social and practical elements in learning by saying that the most significant moment in the course of intellectual development occurs when speech and practical activity, two previously completely independent lines of development, converge. A review of the research on study approach and style’. This page is older archived content from an older version of the Emerald Publishing website. Allinson, C.W. 4. Cognitive theory considers learning according to mental processes. Knowledge of the nature of the pupil’s intellect is of considerable value in the guidance and the diagnosis of disability. Learning based on discussion – the learner flourishes in a group, likes the exchange of ideas. It’s generally accepted that they do not, and that many factors affect learning – hence the interest in learning ‘styles’. Dunn, R., Dunn, K., and Perrin, J. Learning is the process of change which enables an organism itself to the environment, it is therfore a process of development and growth and it is characterized by flexibility because the individual has to adapt itself constantly to the circumstances of the environment. The nature of learning Behaviourism and constructivism.

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