In this activity we were asked to read and make notes on Students’ Approaches to Learning and Teachers’ Approaches to Teaching in Higher Education ( Richardson, 2005).
In this review of approaches to teaching and learning, the following six definitions of learning were identified;
- Learning as the increase of knowledge
- Learning as memorising
- Learning as the acquisition of facts or procedures
- Learning as the abstraction of meaning
- Learning as an interpretative process aimed at the understanding of reality.
- A conscious process, fuelled by personal interests and directed at obtaining harmony and happiness or changing society
The review also identified the following approaches to teaching;
- Teaching as imparting information
- Teaching as transmitting structured knowledge
- Teaching as an interaction between the teacher and the student
- Teaching as facilitating understanding on the part of the student
- Teaching as bringing about conceptual change and intellectual development in the student.
Do you think the innovations described in Weeks 8 and 9 as ‘learning design’ would induce more desirable approaches to studying on the part of the students?
I work predominantly in the Further Education sector, and my initial response to this question is that the widespread adoption of learning design innovations could encourage a more student focused approach at an earlier age which would prepare students for the type of learning they are expected to engage in at Higher Education. There are some major problems with this approach though. In order for students to get into Higher education they usually have to get good grades at A-levels, and, from my observations, the colleges that get the highest A-level results appear quite proud of their teacher centred approach. I have even had a member of staff from a sixth form tell me “We don’t want to develop independent learning skills, it doesn’t work”, meaning it doesn’t lead to the same high grades. Paradoxically, FE students who take more vocational courses are more likely to develop the independent learning skills they would require for the workplace.
It might be easy to read my observations and criticize the colleges for using teacher centred approaches with A-Level students, but for the colleges, teachers and students, it is generally more important to get the grades, than to develop learning styles which may be useful in the longer term.
Do the concepts, theories and evidence described in my paper fit your own experience as a learner?
Which of Säljö’s five conceptions of learning best fits your own definition?
In week 4 I provided my definition of learning as “The process developing skills, knowledge and wisdom.” which fits closer to the first of the definitions “Learning as the increase of knowledge”, however of the definitions given, I am most comfortable with “Learning as an interpretative process aimed at the understanding of reality.” I think it is difficult to generalise as there can be different situations where learning mean different things. When I first learn the names of people I am working with, that falls under the category of memorising or the acquisition of facts or procedures. One thing I notice about the list of definitions is that they are all aimed at academic learning. I could not fit experiences such as learning to drive or learning to build a wall into any of these definitions.
You may find the similarity between the models in Figure 1 and Figure 2 beguiling, but are the models really justified?
I found the figures too simplistic to be of much value. I think I needed more detail about phrases such as demographic characteristics and situational factors.