What is learning?


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Introduction to Learning and Learning Theory used on Oxford Brookes University's First Steps in Teaching and Learning Course http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsld/staffcourses/newlecturers/first-steps.html

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  • How do your definitions link to these?
  • Intention to understand ideas for oneselfRelating ideas to previous knowledge and experienceLooking for patterns and underlying principlesChecking evidence and relating it to conclusionsExamining logic and argument cautiously and criticallyBecoming actively interested in the course content
  • Intention to cope minimally with course requirementsStudying without reflecting on purpose or strategyTreating the course as unrelated bits of knowledgeMemorising facts and procedures routinelyFinding difficulty in making sense of new ideasFeeling undue pressure and worry about work
  • Intention to achieve the highest possible gradesPutting consistent effort into studyingFinding the right conditions and materials for studyingManaging time and effort effectivelyBeing alert to assessment requirements and criteriaGearing work to the perceived preferences of lecturers
  • What is learning?

    1. 1. First Steps into Teaching andLearning in Higher Education What is Learning?
    2. 2. Introductions
    3. 3. Programme• What is Learning?• Core Concepts for Teaching in HE• Planning & Running Sessions• Next Steps
    4. 4. Aims• Introduce the group to one another• Provide basic guidance on  Learning theories  Objective-led teaching• Practice a small piece of “microteaching”• Address some of your practical challenges of teaching
    5. 5. Your Objectives• With partner, pairs or a three• What do you hope to be able to DO better as a result of this course
    6. 6. Your ObjectivesFeedback
    7. 7. Objective led• Objectives define students knowledge, understanding, intellectual and subject specific skills at each level.• Objectives clarify the purpose of the course – for you and your students• Objectives help you decide and prioritise which topics to teach, and in what depth• Objectives help define appropriate teaching and learning strategies• Thinking about how students demonstrate their learning leads naturally to purposeful assessment tasks
    8. 8. ObjectivesWhat do I hope you will be able to do better as a result of this morning‟s sessions?• Describe some approaches to learning• Write [effective] learning outcomes• Elaborate/develop [some] “effectiveness criteria” for teaching
    9. 9. Learning“I want to talk about learning. But not the lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff that is crammed in to the mind of the poor helpless individual tied into his seat by ironclad bonds of conformity! I am talking about LEARNING - the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his cruiser. I am talking about the student who says, "I am discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part of me." I am talking about any learning in which the experience of the learner progresses along this line: "No, no, thats not what I want"; "Wait! This is closer to what I am interested in, what I need"; "Ah, here it is! Now Im grasping and comprehending what I need and what I want to know!” Carl RogersRogers, C. and Freiberg, H. J. (1993) Freedom to Learn (3rd edn.)
    10. 10. My Learning and view of students learningWith a partner, discuss and produce a joint „poster‟ on the following:• How do you learn best?• How [have / will] your own learning experiences influence(d) how you teach?• What strategies and techniques [do you / would you] employ to help students learn?
    11. 11. Some models / theories of learning• Learning Cycles• Approaches to Learning• Process / product• Deep / Surface• Social Learning
    12. 12. What is Learning?Write down, in one sentence, your definition of learning.
    13. 13. Conceptions of Learning1. Learning as a quantitative increase in knowledge. Learning is acquiring information or „knowing a lot‟.2. Learning as memorising. Learning is storing information that can be reproduced.3. Learning as acquiring facts, skills, and methods that can be retained and used as necessary.4. Learning as making sense or abstracting meaning. Learning involves relating parts of the subject matter to each other and to the real world.5. Learning as interpreting and understanding reality in a different way. Learning involves comprehending the world by reinterpreting knowledge.How do your definitions fit with these?
    14. 14. Deep and surface• Surface learning – Rote learning or memorisation• Deep learning – Learning with understanding• 2 examples follow: – How would you characterise these? – Discuss with your neighbour(s)• MARTON F and SÄLJÖ (1976) "On Qualitative Differences in Learning — 1: Outcome and Process" Brit. J. Educ. Psych. 46, 4-11
    15. 15. The first time I read it I really came away with thefeeling I hadn’t actually got anything from it ... A few ofthe things I would just skim through it and gotcompletely the wrong meaning, just because I assumedit would be a different meaning ... I thought ... I must bereading it wrong or something. So I just read through ita second time very slowly. Sometimes I would read italoud, that kind of helped ... It was very much easier tounderstand ... I think actually this time I understoodwhat they were talking about rather than just made upwhat they were talking about by making little referencesback to it …
    16. 16. There’ll be a topic in the book which the questioncomes under, and then you hunt through thatsection to see if they’ve got any... Hopefully, they’llhave the exact question and you can copy itstraight down without doing any work at all ...Usually you have to hunt out the various relatedequations, then you just apply these to theproblem. That’s all really.
    17. 17. Strategic learning• Well-organised form of Surface approach; the motivation is to get good marks.• Learning construed as a game: acquisition of technique improves performance.• Insofar as learning is not a game, it breaks down.• Atherton J S (2011) Learning and Teaching; Deep and Surface learning [On-line: UK] retrieved 19 September 2011 from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/deepsurf.htm
    18. 18. The lecturer told us his marking scheme, and 16 of the possible 20 marks went for the design, building andperformance of the bridge. It was a model bridge, andonly 4 marks, 20% of the marks, were available for thereport. So obviously I didn’t put much effort into that at all ... I’m well aware that I’m here to get a degree you know, you don’t write what you think, you write what the tutor wants you to think. And in engineering in general there’s not much room for that. I think there would be a lot more room for it in subjective things, and I would do it even more then, presumably.
    19. 19. Kolb‟s experiential learning cycle In practice and also in the „microteaching‟ What we hope you do when you teach Concrete Experience Active Reflective Experimentatio Observation n Abstract Conceptualis- “Theories” – ation This is what we want your own and to encourage others‟Reproduced with acknowledgement to James Atherton (2009)
    20. 20. Product and Process• Learning as Process• Learning as Product or outcome• Learning and teaching as a subject of inquiry, a field or discipline in its own right – pedagogy, andragogy
    21. 21. Social LearningQ: Is learning purely a possession of the individualthat can be found inside their heads?• Learning is in the relationship between people• We educate for learners to become part of a community of practice, e.g. a disciplinary community. (See Lave & Wenger)• There is a connection between knowledge and activity
    22. 22. Summary• Deep, surface & strategic• Learning Cycles• Process and product• Social and individual
    23. 23. Summary: good practice• encourage student-tutor contact• encourage student-student co-operation• encourage active learning• give prompt feedback• emphasise time on task• have and communicate high expectations• respect diverse talents and ways of learning (Chickering & Gamson, 1987)independent of the mode of engagement