LIB 601 Learning and Libraries Fall 2011 What is Learning?
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 2 What is Learning? So what is ‘Learning’? A fairly standard consensual definition is “a relatively permanent change in behavior (sic.; it’s American of course) that results from practise.” (Atkinson et al 1993). It is however an important criterion that “learned” behaviour is not pre-programmed or wholly instinctive . . . Whatever the case, there has to be interaction with the environment. ATHERTON J S (2005) Learning and Teaching: What is learning? [On-line] UK: Available: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/whatlearn.htm Accessed: 29 August 2005
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 3 More definition What is “learning”? “In its broadest sense, learning can be defined as a process of progressive change from ignorance to knowledge, from inability to competence, and from indifference to understanding. . . . In much the same manner, instruction—or education—can be defined as the means by which we systematize the situations, conditions, tasks materials, and opportunities by which learners acquire new or different ways of thinking, feeling, and doing.” Cameron Fincher, “Learning Theory and Research,” in Teaching and Learning in the College ClassroomQuoted in Quotations on Teaching, Learning, and Education
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 4 A definition that considers information What is learning? “Most models [of learning] assume that the purpose of learning is to incorporate new information or skills into the learner's existing knowledge structure and to make that knowledge accessible. . . . This processing requires active involvement. The learner must verify an understanding of the structure by receiving feedback, from the internal and external environments, on the encoding choices made.” Marilla Svinicki, Anastasia Hagen and Debra Meyer, “How Research on Learning Strengthens Instruction," in Teaching on Solid Ground. Quoted in Quotations on Teaching, Learning, and Education
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 5 Major Theories of Learning Carl RogersHumanism B. F. SkinnerBehaviorism Jerome BrunerConstructivism Jean PiagetLev Vygotsky
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 6 A less well-known constructivist George Kelly: “Sense-making Makes Sense” Throughout his theory Kelly continually emphasizes that the person’s highest endeavor is that of sense-making. He sees us seeking, as scientists, for ever more complex and comprehensive theories (collections of constructs) which correspond increasingly well with the changing flux of experience. In developing these construct systems we are not merely seeking certainty. We are not anticipating purely for the sake of anticipating our future events, but rather through accurate anticipation of future events we will be able to relate ourselves to them effectively. An Introduction to the Personal Construct Psychology of George A. Kelly
A different kind of constructivist In “Conversation, Cognition and Learning” (1975), [Gordon] Pask offered a cybernetic and dialectic model for the construction of knowledge. It involved the interaction between two cognitive systems (e.g. a teacher and student). The two would engage in a dialog over a given concept, recognizing their differences in perception about the concept. After multiple iterations of this process, their differences would be reduced until agreement is reached between them. Gordon Pask’s “Conversation Theory” August 17, 2011 What is learning? 7
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 8 Another sense-maker Brenda Dervin Sense-Making is based on the concept that humans generally seek information when they encounter an obstacle, or gap, of some kind that they see as a block in their life path. To bridge that gap, the individual seeks or revises information, methods, and new approaches that they find helpful. Sense-Making approaches this theoretic of the gap by circling attention among key points: the situation involved, the gap encountered, the bridge constructed to traverse the gap, and the helps/utilities that resulted in bridging the gap. Sense-Making Methodology
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 9 What does Dervin’s theory mean? We solve problems by finding help On the road of life, we encounter something that stops us In order to continue,we must find something that helps us bridge the gap, remove or getover the obstacle, to make sense of thesituation
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 10 Carol Kuhlthau on Constructivism Constructivism builds understanding Constructivist theory focuses on the process of thinking that builds understanding by engaging students in stimulating encounters with information and ideas. Students learn by constructing their own understandings of these experiences and by building on what they already know to form a personal perspective of the world. The process of construction is an active ongoing process of learning that continues throughout life. Rethinking libraries for the information age school: Vital roles in inquiry learning Keynote AddressInternational Association of School Librarianship Conference & International Research Forum on Research in School LibrarianshipJuly 9, 2001 Auckland, New Zealand
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 11 Kuhlthau on constructivism and schools “. . . a particularly useful theoretical foundation for reforming schools” Primary concepts: Children learn by being actively engaged and reflecting on that experience. (Dewey) Children learn by building on what they already know. (Dewey) Children develop higher-order thinking through guidance at critical points in the learning process. (Vygotsky) Children's development occurs in a sequence of stages. (Piaget) Children have different ways of learning. (Gardner) Children learn through social interaction with others. Rethinking libraries for the information age school: Vital roles in inquiry learning
August 17, 2011 What is learning? 12 All right, what is learning? It is a process A change in behavior resulting from some interaction with the environment A progressive change from inability to competence Active involvement with the environment, incorporating new information into the existing knowledge structure A way of making sense of experience A way of bridging the gaps we experience on life’s way A way of constructing an understanding of reality
So what?What’s that got to do with us as teachers and librarians?