Theories of Learning

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Theories of Learning

Our classrooms are filled with a variety of learning styles and abilities. Some students grasp concepts easily, while others struggle to keep up with a fast paced environment filled with detailed curriculum outcomes. To help develop our students into expert learners, we must understand the integration between metacognitive knowledge, regulator control processes, and reflective thinking. This paper will outline and observe metacognition, self-regulation, behaviorism, constructivism, and reflect how these theories are utilized in my educational program. The methodologies that were once followed to develop our students have drastically changed. The ways in which education is viewed today and the approaches taken have evolved from an instructor centered idea to one of collaboration, cognition, and reflection. Helping students to plan, evaluate, and reflect on ones learning has proven to be beneficial to the overall development and achievement of students today. Metacognition is a term used to describe the ability to self evaluate your own levels of cognition. As described by Pennequin, Sorel, Nanty, & Fontaine (2010), “metacognition”, or “thinking about thinking”, refers to different capacities that enable one to think about one’s own cognition processes” (p.198). Pennequin et al, (2010) argue that there are two central components: metacognitive knowledge, and metacognitive skills. Metacognitive knowledge is based on declarative knowledge involving learning strategies about oneself as a problem solver, while metacognitive skills involve the awareness of one’s own cognitive system. It is understood that children can achieve at a higher level if they participate in metacognitive training. “Metacognitive processes allow people to select and invent strategies explicitly, by thinking about their understanding of the task demand, their available cognitive resources, and their own experience in solving similar problems” (Pennequin et al. pg. 201) Students begin to develop their own strategies based on the successes and failures of previous experience. According to Schraw’s (1998) training model, he proposed and instructional aid known as the Strategy Evaluation Matrix (SEM). This model contains information on strategy selection and when and how to use specific strategies. Much of the focus comes back to planning, monitoring, and evaluating. Schraw and Moshman (1995) describe knowledge of cognition as having three levels of metacognitive awareness: declarative, procedural, and conditional. “Declarative knowledge refers to knowing “about” things. Procedural knowledge refers to knowing “how” to do things. Conditional knowledge refers to knowing the “why” and “when” aspects of cognition” (Schraw & Moshman, 1995, pg. 352). People that can self-evaluate their own abilities will become better learners by applying the necessary strategies to do so. Self-Regulation is the process of developing an ability to learn on your own while recognizing the needs for strategies to overcome challenges. Zimmerman (2002) states that “self-regulation is not a mental ability or an academic performance skill; rather it is the self-directive process by which learners transform their mental abilities into academic skills” (p.65). Students become aware of their learning and develop goals internally to progress ones development. As cited by Matthews, Morrison and Ponitz (2009), “strong behavioral regulation early in the school trajectory sets the stage for academic success by predicting increased school engagement and motivation and children’s adoption of positive learning strategies” (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004; Zimmerman & Schunk, 2001). These learner types are proactive in their efforts because they are aware of their limitations and therefore develop strategies to overcome these challenges. Learners whom become self-regulated become lifelong learners; a very sought after skill. Having the capability to...
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