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How do we learn as adults? A peek into various theories

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Learning is a process of constructing meaning- Internal cognitive activity ... Seven principles of cognitive learning ... Content cannot be separated from context ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How do we learn as adults? A peek into various theories


1
How do we learn as adults? A peek into various
theories
  • Latha Chandran MD, MPH
  • Interim Chair of Pediatrics
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • SUNY at Stony Brook

2
The paradox
  • We are not going to teach you anything today
  • You are going to learn a lot today

3
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
  • No disclosures of conflict of interest relevant
    to this discussion

4
Thinking exercise
  • John Dewey, Chicago school,
  • What is the condition of the center of earth?
  • igneous fusion

5
Five Key Theories of Learning
  • Behaviorist
  • Cognitivist
  • Humanist
  • Social Learning
  • Constructivist

6
What is learning?
  • Learning is a process by which behavior changes
    as a result of experiences ( Maples and Webster
    1980)
  • transformation of perspective?

7
Behaviorist orientation
  • Encompasses a number of theories
  • Three assumptions
  • Observable behavior rather than internal thought
    process is the focus
  • Environment shapes behavior
  • Principles of contiguity and reinforcement are
    central to explain the learning process

8
Behaviorist Orientation
  • Thorndikes connectionism or SR theory of
    learning
  • Through repeated trial and error learning,
    certain connections between sensory impressions
    or stimuli (S) and subsequent behavior or
    responses (R) are strengthened or weakened by the
    consequences of behavior

9
Thorndikes three laws
  • Law of effect Learner will acquire and remember
    responses that lead to satisfying after effects
  • Law of Exercise Repetition of a meaningful
    connection results in substantial learning
  • Law of Readiness If the organism is ready for
    the connection, learning is enhanced

10
Cognitive Orientation
  • Perception, insight and meaning are key
    contributions to cognitivism
  • Human mind is not a passive exchange terminal for
    S to cause R
  • The learner thinks about the ingredients nec to
    solve the problem and puts them together
    cognitively one way or another till solved
  • Locus of control?

11
Cognitive orientation
  • Meaningful vs rote learning
  • Bruners theory- three simultaneous acts-
    acquisition of new info, manipulating knowledge
    to fit new tasks, and evaluating whether it
    worked
  • Subconcepts of learner needs, learning styles

12
Humanist orientation
  • Dont accept that behavior is predetermined by
    environment or ones own subconscious
  • Perceptions are centered in experience as well as
    the freedom to become what one is capable of
    becoming
  • Stresses self directedness, value of experience

13
Humanist orientation
  • Carl Rogers Freedom to learn for the 80s
  • Student centered learning
  • Personal involvement- affective cognitive
  • Self initiated- sense of discovery from within
  • Pervasive- affects behavior
  • Learner evaluated
  • Essence is meaning

14
Social Learning Orientation
  • Combines elements of behaviorism and cognitivism
  • People learn by observing others and imitating
    them and being reinforced
  • Vicarious learning
  • Four processes- attention, retention, behavioral
    rehearsal and motivation
  • Locus of control?

15
Constructivism
  • Learning is a process of constructing meaning-
    Internal cognitive activity
  • Personal constructivism (Piaget) vs social
    constructivism (feminist theorists)- Continuum?
  • Notion of self direction and the role of
    experience in adult learning

16
Aspect Behaviorist Cognitivist
Learning theorists Guthrie, Hull, Pavlov, Skinner, Thorndike, Watson Ausubel, Bruner, Gagne, Koffka, Kohler, Lewin, Piaget
Learning process Change in behavior Internal mental process (including insight, information processing, memory, perception)
Locus of learning Stimuli in external environment Internal cognitive structuring
Purpose of education Produce behavioral change in desired direction Develop capacity and skills to learn better
Teachers role Arranges environment to elicit desired response Structures content of learning activity
Manifestation in adult learning Behavioral objectives Competency-based education Skill development and training Cognitive development Intelligence, learning, and memory as function of age Learning how to learn
17
Humanist Social Learning Constructivist
Maslow, Rogers Bandura, Rotter Candy, Dewey, Lave, Piaget, Rogoff, vonGlaserfeld, Vygotsky
A personal act to fulfill potential Interaction with and observation of others in a social context Construction of meaning from experience
Affective and cognitive needs Interaction of person, behavior,and environment Internal construction of reality by individual
Become self-actualized, autonomous Model new roles and behavior Construct knowledge
Facilitates development of whole person Models and guides new roles and behavior Facilitates and negotiates meaning with learner.
Andragogy Self-directed learning Socialization Social roles Mentoring Locus of control Experiential learning Self-directed learning Perspective transformation Reflective practice
18
Concept of dog
19
Knowledge
  • Understanding comes from the internal
    representation of concepts
  • Refining this understanding happens from repeated
    acts of constructing and construing

20
Concepts of an idea
21
Seven principles of cognitive learning
  • Prior knowledge is key
  • Prior knowledge must be activated
  • The links are more important than the elements
  • Making more and stronger links require time
  • Context provides important cues for storing and
    retrieving info

22
Seven principles of cognitive learning
  • Intrinsic motivation is associated with deep
    approaches to learning, extrinsic motivation with
    surface approaches
  • Teaching should be geared towards development of
    learner autonomy as well as intellect

23
Paragraph 1
24
Prior knowledge is key to learning
  • Start with the learner
  • Understand the learners conceptions and
    misconceptions
  • It is the teachers responsibility to adjust the
    content to the learners prior understanding
  • If content is unfamiliar less is more

25
Paragraph 2
26
Prior knowledge must beActivated
  • Free water load story
  • Plant important concepts by reactivating them
    from the learners memories
  • Dont assume, let them tell you their prior
    knowledge and thus activate it
  • Use common sense example, move from concrete to
    abstract and vice versa

27
The links are more important than the elements
  • Learners must be actively involved in
    constructing meaning( understanding)
  • Understanding happens when new elements are
    acquired and linked to existing patterns of
    association
  • Learning has to do with knowing differently
    than knowing more

28
Bridging knowledge
  • Content expert vs expert teacher

29
Good teachers and learners
  • Create good bridges
  • Create multiple and strong links to a piece of
    knowledge
  • Teach less materials with more links
  • Links elaborate knowledge base
  • The higher the number of links, the easier it is
    to retrieve/access

30
Making more and stronger links requires time
  • Anatomy flash card story

31
Context provides important cues
  • Content cannot be separated from context
  • Learners should be taught in the context from
    which they will eventually use their knowledge
  • Teach from several contexts to create links
    across contexts

32
Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation
  • Vicarious motivation
  • Biggest influence on student learning?
  • Atmosphere of trust and respect
  • Learner self esteem should be nurtured for
    intrinsic motivation to develop (safe place)

33
Learner autonomy
  • Opportunities to exert control over ones
    learning
  • Provide the necessary support and direction

34
Seven principles of cognitive learning
  • Prior knowledge is key
  • Prior knowledge must be activated
  • The links are more important than the elements
  • Making more and stronger links require time
  • Context provides important cues for storing and
    retrieving info

35
Seven principles of cognitive learning
  • Intrinsic motivation is associated with deep
    approaches to learning, extrinsic motivation with
    surface approaches
  • Teaching should be geared towards development of
    learner autonomy as well as intellect

36
The memorable teacher
  • Curriculum as planned versus curriculum as lived
  • Interpreting the curriculum into meaningful
    experiences from the students point of view
  • Teacher is an interpreter/ translator
  • Content expertise, process expertise and bridging
    expertise

37
So what should I do?
  • Adapt material to suit learner
  • speak the same language
  • use examples to provide insight
  • aha experience
  • balance between big picture and the elements
  • there are multiple layers to learning
  • reflect on your teaching encounters

38
Reflection
  • What was the process today?

39
  • Example is not the main thing in influencing
    others, it is the only thing
  • Albert Schweitzer

40
References
  • Ric Arseneau/Dirk Rodenburg The Developmental
    perspective Cultivating ways of thinking Five
    perspectives on Teaching in Adult and Higher
    Education Daniel Pratt, Malabar, FL Kreiger Pub,
    1998
  • Learning in Adulthood. A Comprehensive Guide.
    Sharan B Merriam and Rosemary S Caffarella.
    Jossey Bass Inc. California 1999
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