A Lot of Varied Theories of How People Learn.

Predictably, the traditional teacher-centered model in which knowledge is “transmitted” from teacher to learner is rapidly being replaced by alternative models of instruction (e.g., learner-centered, constructivist, and sociocultural ideas) in which the emphasis is on guiding and supporting students as they learn to construct their understanding of the culture and communities of which they are a part (A. L. Brown et al., 1993. J. S. Brown, Collins, &

Duguid, 1989. Cobb, 1994b. Collins, 1990. Duffy & Cunningham, 1996. Pea, 1993). In the process of shifting our attention to the constructive activity of the learner, we recognize the need to anchor learning in real-world or authentic contexts that make learning meaningful and purposeful. “ (Bonk & Cunningham, 1998, p.27)

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Constructivist theory is gaining more attention, recognition, and acceptance in many educational institutions. Its premises on the belief that learners “construct” their own learning, and in effect, have better retention of it. “In the Constructivist theory, the emphasis is placed on the learner or the student rather than the teacher or the instructor. &nbsp.It is the learner who interacts with objects and events and thereby gains an understanding of the features held by such objects or events. &nbsp.The learner, therefore, constructs his/her own conceptualizations and solutions to problems. &nbsp.Learner autonomy and initiative is accepted and encouraged.” (Van Ryneveld, n.d., n.p.).

As early as the sixteenth century, there were already individuals advocating for more experience-based learning. John Comenius (1592-1670), known as the “Father of Modern Education” recommended a holistic, integrated, hands-on curriculum and was the first to use pictures in textbooks. This introduction to an innovative approach, at that time, has caught on with other educators.

In the seventeenth century, Jean-Jacques Rosseau ( 1712-1778) began to focus on the learner’s nature instead of the subject matter to be learned. He theorized that learning by discovery is much more effective than being merely “spoon-fed” information.&nbsp. He also empowered the learner by advising that the more a learner is able to control the environment, the more effective the education.

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