Tag Archives: Learning Theory

Thinking About Thinking and Learning

3 Jun

TFI has sent a few documents to read as part of pre-institute preparation and now since my exams are over and I am finally at home just 11 days away from joining the institute I am trying to devote some time to prepare myself for the challenge.

I started with LEARNING THEORY. It’s an introduction to ‘How to Teach’. Though its just a 30 pages document I can say its concise and intense.

Simply put teaching is a form of communication. It’s very similar to what I have been reading for the past few semesters. Of course I read it in Communication systems which mostly dealt in the language of bits and transmitters and protocols. But the content I shall say is similar. There is a sender(Teacher), There is a reciever(student) and there is a message sent over a medium. The message here is the subject matter which the teacher wants to convey to the student. Now what if the transmitter can send msgs to the receiver at a rate which supersedes the capacity of the reciever. True, the receiver just can’t comprehend the msg and all that it receives is plain noise. So what do we do? we try to model the mechanism and the rate of transmission based on the receiving capacity of the receiver. Well this is precisely a ‘learner-driven’ model. The text explains four different concepts that fall under the umbrella of ‘learning theory’.

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain: It explains six different levels of Cognitive understanding i.e. Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. Knowledge is generally evaluated by questions like write, list, label, name, state or define, Comprehension by explain, summarize, paraphrase, describe or illustrate which checks the interpreting and translating concepts and ideas from someone else’s definitions to your own. Application is evaluated by use, compute, solve, demonstrate, apply or construct. While the higher levels of understanding i.e. analysis, synthesis and evaluation are evaluated by questions asking to categorize, compare, contrast, design, develop, recommend or critique.
  • Multiple Intelligence Theory: In the 1980’s Harvard Researcher Howard Gardner made permanent impression on pedagogical theory by asserting that the concept of ‘intelligence’ is actually a conglomeration of a number of intellectual aptitudes such as linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal. This countered the traditional measures of intelligence(IQ tests etc. )that focused primarily on linguistic and logical modes of thought and processing.
  • Learning Modalities: A learning modality is one of three senses through which students readily input information i.e. visual, auditory and tactile modality.
  • Memory Theory: It emphasizes on ‘short term’ and ‘long term’ memory concepts and how through practice, building connection to prior knowledge and organization of materials concepts can be transferred to a student’s long term memory.

The concepts are pretty simple and something that we use in our everyday lives too like when you talk to different people you try to direct the conversation towards contexts that interest them, they can link to and find intersting, so when you talk to students try and talk to them in their language based on there comprehension and try to simplify things, connect them, organize them and its good to use a lot of elaboration.