Copy - Learning Theories Part 1
Created on February 6, 2024
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Adult Learning Theory
Vygotsky is known as the major theorist associated with sociocultural theory. He believed that humans are social creatures and that they were wired to learn through social interactions with others. Vygotsky emphasized the importance of language aquisition in young children. He saw language as a tool to grow the brain socially and individually (Mercer & Howe, 2012).
How learning occurs
In the sociocultural theory, learning occurs through social interaction with others and the culture around them. Collaboration in the classroom promotes sociocultural learning theory because it gets students to listen to others' ideas and interact with one another in order to learn (Mercer & Howe, 2012)
Sociocultural theory connects to memory in both a positive and negative way. Through collaboration, students are able to build stronger neural pathways to the knowledge due to hearing someone else's perspective or having to teach a partner. They also however, could learn information wrong if the person they're collaborating with is misinforming them due to a misconception. It is vital that the teacher catch these misconceptions early on so that when students go to collaborate, they are solid on the information and can work together to strengthen each others' skills (Abel & Baumel, 2020).
How Learning Occurs
George Siemens and Stephen Downes are the two theorists who first introduced the idea of connectivism. Siemens focuses on the social side of connectivism whereas Downes specializes more on the mechanical side of learning through machines and appliances (Western Governors University,2021).
Learning occurs when multiple sources of information are combined. The information that is drawn from can include multiple people's perspectives, theories and research. This information can be collected through group collaboration and virtual mediums such as the news, social media and online sources. This learning theory highlights how technology has increased students' ability to access new information and therefore find connections between many different sources when learning(Western Governors University, 2021).
The long-term memory is strengthened when there are multiple information receptors making neural connections to content. Therefore, when the brain accesses information in different ways such as through a conversation, on social media and through an online database, it is providing the brain with multiple ways to access the same knowledge. When this occurs, information is strengthened in the brain due to the neural pathways being formed (Western Governors University, 2020)(Dubuc, 2024).
Adult Learning Theory
Malcom Knowles was the founder of Adult Learning Theory. In his theory, he believes that adult learners are self-motivated and that as they continue to mature they develop a wealth of life experience to draw from when learning. Adult learners have an increased readiness to learn compared to young children. He also believes that adult learners are problem solving oriented and their motivation to learn continues to grow with maturity (Pappas, 2013).
How Learning Occurs
In the Adult Learning Theory, learning occurs under four principles. The first principle is that adults learn when they are involved in the planning and success criteria of the lesson. Learning also occurs through giving them real experience through relevant assignments and problem solving tasks rather than disconnected and content-heavy coursework (Pappas, 2013).
Adult learning theory focuses on making meaningful connections to the individual. When information is meaningful, it triggers the brain and is more likely to make it into the long-term memory. In order to really learn content thoroughly, it must make it into the long-term memory through a strong connection to the individual (Dubuc, 2023) (Pappas, 2013).
CollaborativeDiscussion BasedHigher-order thinkingThink-Pair-ShareEstablish social-normsMixed-abilitiesStudent-led learning (Mercer & Howe, 2012)
Gamification-this learning type encourages learning through games. Connectivism takes technology and brings that into gamification by creating interactive and collaborative games for students to learn new skills from. Collaborative Learning- this style of learning is by learning through working with others and hearing other's ideas and connecting them to one's own thoughts to build knowledge. Connectivism does this by having students make connections from discussions, online collaborative platforms and group-based problem solving (Western Governors University, 2021)
Self-motivatedMeaningful objectives and success criteriaApplicableProblem-solving orientedReal-world experienceRelevant contentHigher maturity leads to higher success(Pappas, 2013)
Classroom Discussions- in sociocultural theory, the use of class discussions is often implemented. These discussions are seen as not just as way for the teacher to check their comprehension, but as a platform for students to help each other better comprehend the passage or reach a conclusion through discourse. Discussions promote higher-order thinking and reasoning in the classroom (Mercer & Howe, 2012).Collaborative Learning- sociocultural theory just like connectivism, promotes collaborative learning. It does so by starting with teaching students how to collaborate with one another through modeling discussion. Collaborative learning supports socioculturalism because it encourages students to share and combine ideas (Mercer & Howe, 2012).
Task Oriented Learning- Task oriented learning connects to the Adult Learning Theory because it supports problem solving and relevance which are both highly valued in adults when learning new content. This could look like someone posing a real-life problem and developing a project to solve the problem.Self-Directed Learning- This is where learners take ownership of their learning. The learner gets out of the course what they put into it. They do not have as much guidance as more teacher-led learning styles. This style of learning provides opportunities for more discovery learning through experience (Pappas, 2013).
Connecting multiple thoughts, theories and informationModern learning theoryIncorporates technologyMultiple perspectivesCollaborationSocially connected(Western Governors Univeristy, 2021)
Classroom Discussions- in socioculturalism, the use of class discussions is often implemented. These discussions are seen as not just as way for the teacher to check their comprehension, but as a platform for students to help each other better comprehend the passage or reach a conclusion through discourse. Discussions promote higher-order thinking and reasoning in the classroom (Mercer & Howe, 2012).