From ETEC 510
The content of this page was originally authored by Steffanie Reid, 2008 (relocated here from the Microworlds article)
Learning is an active process
- We learn by utilizing sensory input and constructing meaning from it. In order to learn we need to do something, as learning is not the passive acceptance of knowledge but rather the result of engagement with the world.
People discover how to learn as they learn
- Learning involves both the construction of meaning and the construction of systems of meaning. Example: As we learn the chronology of dates of a series of events we simultaneously learn the meaning of a chronology. As we continue to learn, we build a knowledge base that allows us to give meaning to new information that may fit a recognizable pattern.
The crucial action of constructing meaning is mental
- Knowledge construction happens in the mind. Exercises that promote reflection upon hands-on activities are necessary to engage the mind as well as the hands.
Learning involves language
- The language we use influences learning. People talk to themselves (as well as others) as they learn, thus learning and language are intertwined.
- The construction of meaning is intimately associated with our connection to other human beings. Conversation, interaction with others, collaboration and the application of knowledge are integral aspects of learning.
Learning is contextual
- What we learn must be understood in terms of what else we know, what we believe, our prejudices and our fears. We don’t build knowledge in a vacuum, it must relate to our lives.
One needs knowledge to learn
- All new learning is based on a previously built foundation of knowledge. Effective teaching must provide a path into a new subject based on a learners previous knowledge.
Motivation is a key component in learning
- Since knowledge building is an active process, it will not occur unless the learner is motivated to use and analyze the new information.
Learning is not instantaneous
- It takes time to learn as significant knowledge building results from play, pondering, reflection and the revisiting of ideas.