Principles of Learning

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Theories and Principles for Planning and Enabling Learning

Assignment Task 1
“The single most characteristic about human beings is that they learn” (Bruner, 1960:113). This may be true, but to what extent do they learn? Lockitt (1997) suggests that both good and bad learning experience can affect learning. By the time learners’ reach adult or further education they would have already met with a range of learning experiences, good or bad. “Many learners wrongly believe that learning comes with age and the older you get the more you know. We can help them overcome this and achieve more from their learning by ensuring they are aware of successful learning techniques right at the start of the learning process”. (Lockitt 1997: 15).

Hartley (1994) argues that individual differences can also affect learning. For example when we teach, though everyone is different, the lecturer must proceed as though everyone is the same, although we may make the occasional reference to individual differences in the class. “However, the opposite stance that no two people are the same, brings with it different constraints on the teacher”. (Hartley, 1994: 47). Hartley goes further and maintains that individuals can only really be catered for in a one-to-one instruction. Yet in some situations, classrooms for instance, teachers can explore and exploit in individual differences in ways that may help all the participants learn.

In the context of the above quote, Bieheler and Snowman (2000) put forward that motivation can influence learning and its impact on learner achievement. For instance, motivation can play an intrinsic part on behaviour and human needs.

Maslow ‘s (1970) theory identified five hierarchy’s of human needs such as physiological needs, which are at the hierarchy followed in ascending order by safety, belongingness and love, esteem and self-actualisation needs. If, according to Maslow, this order mirrors variations in the relative force of each need. Similarly, George et al (2007), lends weight to Marlow’s (1970) idea of motivation for example making sure that all the lower needs of students are satisfied before moving on. Motivation then, is a key factor within adult education and most remain at the fore front of teacher’s planning and enabling learning

In addition to motivation, we should use these theories to shed light on why some students in a given particular learning situation are more likely to learn than others? These theoretical concepts go some way to explain why individuals are motivated to complete certain tasks. Moreover, these concepts if not properly incorporated may impede learning and task completion (Taylor et al, 2007)

Kolb (1984) originally based his original learning styles inventory on experiential learning theory, of which classified four learning modes were identified. These were concrete experience, e.g., an emphasis on doing: action feeling; reflective observation, e.g., reflecting upon the experience and trying to understand the meaning of the experience; abstract conceptualisation, e.g., forming new ideas, concepts and construct new theories planning novel way of doings things and finally active experimentation, e.g., trailing the new concept, foster change or theory improving upon previous experience. In fact Kolb suggests that the model should be used to manage the learning proves that fosters a foundation for both educational and personal development. Reece and Walker (2007) simplified these terms respectively into; do, review, devise rules or procedure and testing.

Honey and Mumford (1992) discovered that even though individuals may hold preferred ways of learning, most were unaware of any preference or of the existence of learning styles. In addition they also asserted that the learning experience could be improved if the learner was more aware of learning styles. As a consequence they developed the Kolb learning cycle (Kolb, 1984) and applied his four of learning...
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