2 Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this workshop, participants should be able to :-Outline some key theories on how students learn and discuss how these influence how we should teach.Describe some teaching methods that encourage active learning.
3 Some Theories on Learning Approaches to learningConceptions of learningExperiential learningLearning styles
4 Conceptions of Learning Saljo (1979) identified five conceptions of learning. Learning asa quantitative increase in knowledge.memorising.acquiring facts, skills and methods (for later use)making sense or abstracting meaning.interpreting and understanding reality.It has been argued that 1, 2 and 3 are views which underpin surface learning strategies, while 4 and 5 relate to deep learning (Atherton, 2005)Increase in knowledgeLearning is acquiring information or “knowing a lot” Memorising.Learning is storing information that can be reproduced.Acquiring facts, skills and methods that can be retained and used as necessary.Making sense or abstracting meaning.Learning involves relating parts of the subject matter to each other and to the real world.interpreting and understanding reality in a different way.Learning involves comprehending the world by re-interpreting knowledge.
5 Approaches to Learning Student’s approach to a task (intention) determines the extent to which they engage with their subject. (Martin and Saljo, 1976)Deep approach: transformingSurface approach: reproducingStrategic approach: organisingFollowing slides from Entwistle (1997)
6 Deep Approach Intention – to understand ideas for yourself by Relating 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
7 Surface Approach Intention – to cope with course requirements by Studying without reflection on either purpose or strategyTreating the course as unrelated bits of knowledgeMemorising factors and procedures routinelyFinding difficulty in making sense of new ideas presentedFeeling undue pressure and worry about work
8 Strategic ApproachIntention – to achieve the highest possible grades byPutting 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 preference of lecturers
9 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle Concrete experience‘doing’Reflective observation‘reflecting’AbstractConceptualisation ‘theorising’Active experimentationAction planningCE – learners become involved in new experiencesRO – learners reflect on the new experience, from their own perspective and through feedback from othersAC – learners form and process their ideas into logical theories, forming an understandingAE – learners use their new-formed/developed theories to assist with problem-solving, and test them in new situations or experiences, thus starting the process again at the concrete experience and continuing the cycle.
10 Learning StylesThis theory suggests that learners have particular preferences for stages of the learning cycle.Learning styles are generally considered to be preferences not fixed traits.Kolb (1984) argues that learners need to be able to do all four aspects.There are various categorisations of learning styles.
11 Honey and Mumford (1982)ActivistReflectorTheoristPragmatist
12 Activists Strengths Flexible and open-minded Happy to have a go Enjoy new situationsOptimistic about changeWeaknessesMay take action without thinkingTake unnecessary risksDo too much and hog limelightGet bored with implementation
13 Reflectors Strengths Careful, don't jump to conclusions Thorough and methodicalThoughtfulGood at listening to otherWeaknessesMay hold back from participationSlow to make up their mindToo cautiousNot assertive or forthcoming
14 Theorists Strengths Logical 'vertical' thinkers Rational and objective Good at asking probing questionsDisciplined approachWeaknessesRestricted in lateral thinkingUnhappy with uncertainty & ambiguityIntolerant of subjectivity and intuitionFull of "should" and "must's"
15 Pragmatists Strengths Keen to test things out in practice Practical down to earth, realisticBusinesslike - gets to the pointTechnique orientedWeaknessesReject things that lack applicationNot interested in basic principlesMay seize the first expedient solutionTask rather than people oriented
16 CautionA recent study (Coffield et al., 2004) has cast some questions over the use of learning styles and approaches. In particular:validity and reliability of the inventories useddifferent claims about the degree of stability of learning styles.
17 Summary Learners approach their learning in different ways. Teachers need to consider the needs of the learners when planning sessions.Active learning techniques can help encourage a deep approach to learning.