THEORIES AND MODELS OF LEARNING

SHADRACK K KIMUTAI MOI UNIVERSITY, ELDORET TUESDAY, APRIL 03, 2012

INTRODUCTION

Learning style can be defined as reflection of concern with the application of individual mode of problem solving, thinking, perception and memory in a learning situation (Allport,1937),(Riding and Cheema,1991)

THEORIES OF LEARNING
A number of theories have been formulated by various researchers to try and explain how humans learn. The main ones are
 Adult

Learning Theory(ALT),  Experiential Learning Theory (ELT)  Multiple Intelligences Theory(MIT),  Emotional Intelligence Theory(EIT)  Social Development Theory (SDT).

ADULT LEARNING THEORY(ADRAGOGY)

Andragogy(adult learning) is a theory that attempts to deduce how adults learn. This theory emphasizes the value of the process of learning and was pioneered by Malcolm Knowles and Jane Vella in the 1970‟s and the 1980‟s. Andragogy as a study however originated from mainland Europe in the 1950‟s.

ADULT LEARNING THEORY(ADRAGOGY)

This theory states that

“…adults

learn best when they talk to others about their experiences and relate these experiences to the learning progress…” Knowles(1980 ,p;17).

Hence it can be said to employ a approach which emphasizes more equality between the learner and the teacher and the learning process is more of problem based and collaborative

ADULT LEARNING PRINCIPLES

After extensive research in this field, Malcolm Knowles put forward a number of principles which have come to be identified as adult learning principles. These are

Adult

learners need to be respected Immediacy Safety Engagement Relevance

RESPECT

Adult learners need to be the subject of their own learning including decisions of what to learn and play a role in planning for what they ought to learn.

For example, It has been proven that to engage pregnant mothers on matters of what they ought to know in post natal care its much more effective if they themselves spearhead the process of selection of what , where and how to learn.

IMMEDIACY

Adults are time conscious and would always want to know how what they are learning can be employed right away or in the very near future. Hence learners are always in need to deduce the practical application of what they are learning

For example, Adult learners will tend to request to be taught what they can apply to their work environments for instance an adult class on midwifery may disregard Human anatomy and reproduction and jump in to pre natal care.

SAFETY

Adults are wary of their surrounding and often will prefer secluded lecture rooms to open ones. Factors contributing to this include fear of being seen learning by younger people and the need for privacy fueled by their learning style which is learning by experience sharing which may not suit younger furthermore Adults despise being Judged and need to feel welcome and comfortable in the learning experience. If this is kept up, with time adults will learn to trust the tutor and the lesson will gain their acceptance

ENGAGEMENT

Adults need to be put at the center of their learning and this is achieved by active involvement amongst the adult students and their tutor. Tutors need to lower their roles in the learning environment to the level of a supervisor and let the Adult students play a leading role in the learning process. If this is kept up within a short time adults will yearn to attend each and every lesson.

RELEVANCE

Unlike children and youth who may not inquire what the relevance of a subject is all about, Adults keep tabs on each course they engage themselves in and it‟s not surprising to find them asking “why they ought to the course” or “why haven‟t they been taught something”. In medicine for instance, tutors should keep tabs on new advances in the field they are teaching to avoid situations where students brand the course irrelevant. For example in a lesson on tropical ailments and their management, tutors should update their sources to avoid a case of prescribing methods

HOW ALT INFLUENCES LEARNERS
Students attain a closer relationship between themselves and their tutors  Students gain wider expertise due to the periodical reference to the relevance of the skill they are acquiring and innovations made to date.  Students get to control their rate of learning hence determine how much they cover in the lesson.  Students respect to each other is maximized and distinctive barrier of bright students and the notso brigth students is diluted.

AREAS OF APPLICATION OF ADRAGOGY
Post Graduate studies  Training seminars focused on adults i.e. post natal care for Mothers  Adult Education

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING THEORY
Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) is a learning theory which uses experience to emphasize the central role the “experience” plays in this learning progress  This theory states that

“…knowledge is created through transformation of experience…”
Koeb(1984)

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING THEORY

A number of models of ELT exist the oldest being Lewinian model of action research and laboratory training and Dewey‟s model of learning which were formulated by the founding fathers of this theory, John Dewey and Kurt Lewis. However the best model is as described by Koeb(1984)

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING THEORY

According to Rosenberg(2003) Experiential Learning (EL) Theories can be classified into Reflection which approaches EL using a Constructivist perspective, Interference which approaches EL using Psychoanalytical perspective, Participation which approaches EL using Situated Cognition perspective, Resistance which approaches EL using Critical Cultural perspective and Co-Emergence Enactivist perspective

REFLECTION : KOEB‟S MODEL
However the most commonly accepted class is Reflection within which notable authors such as Koeb(1984), Mezirow(1990) and Boud and Miller (1996) have made headway.  Focusing on Koeb(1984) theory, from which the later two where based, Koeb sees experiential knowledge as being made up of two stages with two mid deviations which are polar opposites

KOEB‟S MODEL
Concrete Experience

Experimentation

Reflective Observation

Active

Accommodating Converging

Diversity Assimilating

Abstract Conceptualization

KOEB‟S MODEL

According to Koeb, all Experiential Learning starts with Concrete Experience stage and ends with Abstract Conceptualization stage. But Koeb highlights two paths to the ends namely active experimentation, and Reflective Observation

KOEB‟S MODEL
Concrete experience stage is when the student is facing the experience an example being a Nurse trainee witnessing child birth process first hand  Abstract Conceptualization stage takes place after the two refining processes and involves drawing new conclusion(knowledge) based on refined knowledge gathered during the experience(s)

KOEB‟S MODEL IN DETAIL

After a student as witnessed an experience four modes of refinement may take place, these modes are
Accommodation  Assimilation  Convergence  Divergence

ACCOMMODATION
The main focus is accommodating the experience to understand a why it works.  This group prefers undertaking experiment rather than thinking.  the groups keyword is „what if' and 'why not' to support their action-first approach.  They do not like routine and will take creative medical risks to see what happens.

ASSIMILATION
Their main focus is assimilating experience to get an in-depth understanding.  This group‟s question tag is 'what is there I can know?‟  They like organized knowledge sources rather than disorganized ones hence Lectures suit them perfectly

CONVERGENCE
Their main focus is converging other ideas through active experiments to see if they hold.  The chief question tag is „how?’.  Students following this approach will constantly make refinements until they are satisfied.  They prefer to work by themselves, thinking carefully and acting independently.  They learn through Experiments and Simulations is more effective with them than other methods

DIVERGENCE
Their main focus is diverging the experience to include others which come up as a result of deep understanding of the experience.  This group‟s question tag is „why?‟,  Students following this approach will constantly seek for ideas regarding the experience and thus they are generally influenced by other people and like to receive constructive feedback.  They learn best via logical instruction

HOW ELT AFFECTS LEARNERS

Nurture Experience- this learning theory allows students to have experience in the tasks that they will later work on after learning, Risk taking- this method encourages learners to learn how to handle situations which are prone to risks Kinesthetic imprint- Experiential learning is an anchor for cognitive material. Participants have a kinesthetic imprint or whole body learning of cognitive principles because the learning is graphic as it involves physical, mental and behavioral dimensions Equality - Experiential Learning theory allows an equitable learning rate for all kind of students

AREAS OF APPLICATION
     

Nursing Medicine Engineering Science Art Example includes allowing trainees Nurses undertake fairly risky tasks such as midwifery which allows them to learn and later be more proficient in tackling complex pregnancies and weighting the risks that they can manage before a higher specialized practitioner takes charge

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES THEORY(MIT)

According to the founder of this theory Howard Gardner, this theory tries to explain, differentiates and separates intelligence into various specific modalities than taking it as dominated by one general ability. There are wide ranges of the cognitive abilities which have weak relationships between themselves Gardner(1983).

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES THEORY

Gardner(1984) further argues that Traditionally schools developed a logical and linguistic intelligence mainly by reading and writing.

For instance most Exams are given to scholars to test them, in logical and linguistic intelligence once a student has past chances of joining a prestigious work environment or further studies.

Most scholars function well in this environment, but there are others who don‟t

INTELLIGENCES COVERED IN MIT
     


 

Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence Visual spatial intelligence Bodily Kinesthetics Intelligence Mathematical-Logical Intelligence Musical Intelligence Interpersonal intelligence Intrapersonal intelligence Naturalist Intelligence* Existential intelligence*
*These two are yet to be fully accepted

VERBAL- LINGUISTIC INTELLIGENCE
According to Gardner, H. (1983), Students who have strong linguistic-verbal intelligence are able to use words well, both when writing and speaking.  These individuals are typically very good at writing narratives, memorizing/cramming information and reading.  Features of such students include ones who can with ease use humor and are extremely creative in explaining what they have learnt

VISUAL – SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE
According to Gardner, H. (1983), Students who have strong visual-spatial intelligence are good a visualizing things.  They are often good with directions as well as graphics, charts, videos and pictures, and usually find it easy to fit puzzles

MUSICAL INTELLIGENCE
Gardner, (1983), states that Students who have strong musical intelligence are good and thinking in patterns, rhythms and sounds.  They have a strong appreciation for music and are often good at musical composition and performance.  They also have the capability of isolating music into its individual constituents for instance they can “feel” how one guitar player on a rock band is playing the guitar irrespective of there being multiple guitar players on the set.

BODILY-KINESTHETICS INTELLIGENCE
According to Gardner, (1983), Students who have strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are good at activities which require body movement and physical control.  They tend to have excellent hand-eye coordination and dexterity and often enjoy involving physical interaction with their tasks.  Gardner also points out that they are extremely good in learning from physical activities and often say they know what they were to do by touching

INTERPERSONAL INTELLIGENCE
According to Gardner, H. (1983), Students who have a strong interpersonal intelligence are good in understanding and interacting with other people.  They are skilled at assessing the emotions, motivations, desires and intentions of those around them and often may have friends who normally wont stand the presence of the other friend(s).  Students with Such intelligence may be employed in times of quarrels or misunderstanding.

INTRAPERSONAL INTELLIGENCE
According to Gardner, (1983), students who have a strong intrapersonal intelligence are good at being aware of their own emotional states, feelings and motivations.  They tend to enjoy self-reflection and analysis, including day-dreaming, exploring relationships with others and assessing their personal strengths

MATHEMATICAL LOGICAL INTELLIGENCE
Gardner,(1983), states that these students who have strong logical-mathematical intelligence are able to deduce complex patterns, recognizing patterns and logically analyzing problems.  These students tend to think conceptually about numbers, relationships amongst entities and patterns.  They often like experimenting and often ask themselves the question “what will happen if this is altered” by so doing they are perceived to prefer to solve problems in terms of abstract

EXISTENTIAL INTELLIGENCE
This intelligence was added Gardner, in 1999, and states that Students who have a strong Existential intelligence are often religious or fanatic belief of why things are the way they are  they have a deeper understanding of the meaning of life, death and universe .  This group of students will often show resistance to effort made to tame them

NATURALIST INTELLIGENCE
This is another new dimension to the MIT. According to Gardner, (1999), Students having strong naturalist intelligence feel much at peace while in nature and are often interested in nurturing, exploring the environment and learning about other species.  They are said to be highly aware of even subtle changes to their environments.  They like camping and undertaking excursion to the wild parts of the country

INFLUENCE OF MIT TO LEARNERS
MIT shows that humans are diverse in nature hence examinations can be made fair if it were to be through the various intelligences  MIT incorporates entities which normally would be disregarded by tutors for instance why some students performance so good in class while in the lab they perform poorly and vice versa.

USE OF MIT AND EXAMPLE
MIT can be applied in refining skills of children and youth and to some extend adults to find the most appropriate placement.  In medicine, MIT can be used in segregation of mentally ill patients.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE THEORY(EIT)

This theory focuses on two aspects emotion and intelligence.
Emotion can be defined as a state of feeling that conveys information about social interaction.  Intelligence on the other hand can be simply defined as capability internal reasoning to get an indepth understanding of information.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE THEORY
Emotional intelligence can be defined as an  “…ability to validly reason with emotions and to use emotions to enhance thought…”.  A more refined definition of this theory refers to Emotional intelligence as being the  “…ability to recognize the meanings of emotion and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them…”, (Mayer and Salovey,1999, p;267)

FOUR BRANCH MODEL OF EI

Perceive Emotions

Manage Emotions

Emotional Intelligence

Understand Emotions

Use emotions to Facilitate Thinking

Source: Mayer and Salovey(1997)

PERCEIVE EMOTIONS

This demands that the learner should be able to perceive emotions in self and others. i.e
Besides this the learner should be able to undertake self-awareness. i.e. be aware of own feelings as they are occurring.  learner s ability to learn on identify and label specific feelings in yourself and others and the ability to clearly and directly communicate and discuss these emotions

USE EMOTIONS TO FACILITATE THINKING

This demands that the learner should be able to use his/her feelings constructively by
Letting his/her feelings be guidance to what is important to think about  using his/her feelings to help one in decisions which are appropriate for both the learner and others

UNDERSTAND EMOTIONS

This demands that the learner should be able to understand his/her emotions and its dynamics i.e. how they change over time. Furthermore the learner should understand:The role of emotions play in his/her life  The relationships between emotions including how and why they can change from one state to another  The emotions which lead to the behavioral change in one and on others  The relationship between thoughts and feelings

EMOTIONS MANAGEMENT

This demands that the learner should be able to manage his/her emotions for personal and social growth. This can be achieved through:taking responsibility for one's own feelings  the ability to turn negative emotions into positive learning opportunities  the ability to help others identify and benefit from their emotions

ELT AND ITS INFLUENCE TO LEARNERS
It incorporates emotion which is an aspect rarely accommodated in learning models. This allows the learner and teacher capable of adapting to events which are socially sensitive.  It enables the learner looked up to by others get hold of His/her emotions even in situations which normally that will be hard to.  This theory requires the learner to be immense in a emotio-challenging area

EXAMPLES OF AREAS OF APPLICATION
  

Nursing Teaching Social Work
Example: ELT is Critical in medicine since nurses and doctors are looked up by the patients and their families as being in charge and an emotional breakdown of any of nurses or doctors sends a wrong picture to them. Another example of how ELT plays out is in nursing and involves empathizing with the patient and patient‟s family if the patient dies.

 

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY(SDT)
This theory was brought forward by Leo Vygotsky(1978) and it tries to explains how socialization affects learning process of an individual.  It deals with consciousness as a result of socialization normally after an interaction with other people we tend to internalize what we uttered

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY(SDT)
This theory argues that  “social interaction always precedes development. With that respect, consciousness and cognition products of socialization and social behavior” (Vygotsky, 1978).

CONCEPTS OF SDT

There are three main concepts which play a central role in this theory as identified by Vygotsky(1978) these concepts are:
Role of social interaction in cognitive development  More learned/knowledgeable other(MKO)  Zone of proximal development (ZPD)

ROLE OF SOCIAL INTERACTION IN COGNITIVE
DEVELOPMENT

Vygotsky(1978), posits that social learning precedes development and the conflicts of cognitive concentrations found in the society are the more powerful factor of cognitive development than those found in an individual level. The coordination of actions between individuals promotes the acquisition of cognitive development. In this respect, Wegerif et,al.(1999) consider that Interaction between the student and the teacher determines the efficiency of learning process; as opposed to old days modern learning involve sharing of ideas between the teacher and the student. ideas (Wegerif, Mercer and Dawes, 1999).

MORE LEARNED/ KNOWLEDGEABLE OTHER (MKO)
This notion involves a case where one participant is more knowledgeable(MKO) in the subject area than his/her Learners and thus acting as a tutor to his/ her peers.  In most cases the MKO are tutors or older individuals in a learning environment but occasionally an MKO can be younger than the individuals in this environment.

ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT
This concept is the difference in what a learner can do and what he cant do without external help usually from the tutors or MKO‟s.  Hence appropriately defined by Leo Vygotsky(1978) as being “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky,1978 ; p,86 )

IMPACTS OF ZDT ON A LEARNER
Allows tutors know the best channel to use in the learning environment hence the learner is put at the center of the learning process  The level of interaction between the learner and the tutor is increased hence livening the lesson and adding clarity to the concepts being learnt  Encourage flow of skill from MKO‟s in the learners environment by laying foundations for social awareness of the areas of expertise amongst the individuals in a learning environment.

EXAMPLES OF SDT IN LEARNING

Most commonly employed in Subject Oriented learning in both formal (school based) and informal (apprentice based) centers of learning

THE END

REFERENCE

Boud, D. and Miller, N. (eds.) (1996), Working with Experience: Animating Learning. London: Routledge Gardner, Howard. (1999) "Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century." New York: Basic Books. Gardner, H. (1983) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books. Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall/Cambridge Mayer, J. D. & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. Sluyter (Eds). Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Educators (pp. 3-31). New York: Basic Books

REFERENCE

Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D., & Salovey, P. (1999). Emotional intelligence meets traditional standards for an intelligence. Intelligence,Vol 27, 267-298. Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: a comprehensive guide. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Vella, J. (1995). Training Through Dialogue. Promoting Effective Learning and Change with Adults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

REFERENCE

Wegerif, R, Mercer, N, Littleton, R and Dawes, L. (2004) Widening Access to Educational Opportunities through Teaching Children how to Reason Together. Final report to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Allport, G. W. (1937) Personality: A psychological interpretation. The American Journal of Psychology, 50, pp. 141-156. Riding, R. and I. Cheema (1991). "Cognitive styles - an overview and integration." Educational Psychology 11(3-4): 193-215.