Which Learning Processes Facilitate Construction of Knowledge?

This article is related to educational psychology.

A well-accepted fact among educational psychologists is the idea that knowledge is not absorbed but rather constructed through a person’s experiences with his or her environment. This knowledge may be constructed individually or collaboratively.

Image: Pixabay.

The different learning processes which facilitate construction of knowledge are briefly discussed below:

Experiencing Learning and Reflection: Broadly, experiential learning is any learning that supports students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems or situations where the instructor directs and facilitates learning.

In experiential learning, individuals deepen their knowledge through repeatedly acting and then reflecting on this action and develop skills through practice and reflection.

Social Mediation: According to Vygotsky, learning is fundamentally a socially mediated and constructed activity.

Human beings interact with their environment primarily through mediational means; and these mediational means such as the use of cultural artefacts, tools and symbols, including language, play crucial roles in the formation of human intellectual capacities. According to him, knowledge is constructed through mediation.

Cognitive Negotiability: A learner constructs meanings on the basis of his/her experiences and level of cognitive negotiability. Students tend to learn and understand things faster if they see it the practical way, rather than learn it from textbooks and listen to what the teacher teaches. Cognitive negotiability is about providing authentic, real world experiences to the individuals.

Situated Learning and Cognitive Apprenticeship: Situated learning “takes as its focus the relationship between learning and the social situation in which it occurs”. At its simplest, situated learning is learning that takes place in the same context in which it is applied. Learning should not be viewed as simply the transmission of knowledge from one individual to another, but a social process whereby knowledge is co-constructed; such learning is situated in a specific context and embedded within a particular social and physical environment.

Cognitive apprenticeship is a theory that honours the situated nature of knowledge. Cognitive scientists maintain that the context in which learning takes place is critical. So, in cognitive apprenticeships, the activity being taught is modelled in real-world situations. Situations might be said to co-produce knowledge through activity.

Meta-cognition: Metacognition is “cognition about cognition”, or “thinking about thinking”. In other words, it is a deeper level of thinking that includes our ability to think about our thinking; how we understand, adapt, change, control, and use our thought processes. It comes from the root word “meta”, meaning beyond. It can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or for problem solving. There are generally two components of metacognition: knowledge about cognition, and regulation of cognition.

Metacognition also involves thinking about one’s own thinking process such as study skills, memory capabilities, and the ability to monitor learning. This concept needs to be explicitly taught along with content instruction. Metacognitive knowledge is about our own cognitive processes and our understanding of how to regulate those processes to maximise learning.

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