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Learning Theories

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_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1.Marbach-Ad,G. and P.G.Sokolove. 2000. Can Undergraduate Biology Students Learn to Ask higher Level Questions? Journal of Research in Science teaching. 37: 854-870.

I find this paper interesting because I encourage my students to ask questions. I have found that the students pay more attention and are more enthusiastic about learning when they know that they get a chance to participate and the questions are welcomed by the instructor. This study compares the active learning class with the traditional class and has found that the active learning class was better at coming up with “insightful, thoughtful, content related questions”. The students’ questions help us to learn how much they understand and how their thought process works. The student questions also stimulate our thought process on a particular topic. As the student ask questions, they learn and remember the content of the test and the lecture. I also liked the classification of student questions into eight different categories. Learning the facts from the textbook and the lectures is important, but learning to think is even more valuable for analyzing and solving problems. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________

2. Prince, M. and R. Felder. The Many Faces of Inductive Teaching and Learning. 2007. Journal of College Science Teaching. 36: 14-20.

 

I am always looking for ways to improve students’ critical thinking and analytical skills in addition to enhancing the students’ motivation and enthusiasm to learn. This paper reviews the various inductive teaching methods to heighten the motivation and intellectual development. The paper points out the inductive methods include discovery learning, inquiry based learning, problem-based learning, case based learning and just-in-time teaching. The common thread among these inductive teaching methods is that the students are given a challenge and the students then learn what they need to know to deal with that challenge. I n inquiry based learning, the students might be given a hypothesis to be tested and they learn during the process of testing the hypothesis. The studies have shown that often this type of learning improve thinking, problem solving and lab skills. In problem-based learning, the students work in teams to figure out and define a problem. Then, they think about what they know and what they need to know to solve the problem. Instructor gives guidance to the students to get the information themselves. Project based learning is similar to problem based learning, but here “the solution process is more important than the final product”. In all these methods, the students play an active role in acquiring knowledge. There are discussions and interaction with the instructor and the team members as in the case of problem-based and project based learning. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. Hoy, A.W., H. A. Davis and E. M. Anderman. 2013. Theories of Learning and Teaching in TIP. Theory into Practice. 52: 9-21.

 

This review paper helped me to become more familiar with learning theories. Behavior theories focus on “change in behaviors, skills and habits”. Cognitive theories of learning emphasize “thinking, decision making, remembering, creating and problem-solving”. Constructive theories of learning stress that the knowledge is constructed and created by people. Inquiry and problem based learning are part of the constructive theories, which also highlight that the students’ efforts play a major role in the learning process. Sociocultural theories of learning include social and cultural aspects into the learning process. These theories are like “four pillars of teaching”. The students first understand the concept (constructive theory). Then keep that knowledge in their memory (cognitive process). The knowledge then changes their behavior and apply the skills they have learned (behavior theory). The student is a specific social cultural environment and therefore, those factors influence the learning process to a certain extent. It seems that I try to apply constructivist learning strategies in my class room by giving my students a project and asking them to work in groups to complete the project. I can see as they work on the project they are constantly discussing various aspect with me and their team mates. That, in turn, helps them to acquire knowledge and remember what they have learned.

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