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Psychologists such as Lindsay and Norman ( 1972 ) have described how conceptual hierarchies are developed. Their models present the memory as involving logically ordered sets of 8 THE EXPERIENCE OF LEARNING concepts, stored in terms of increasing generality. But this emphasis on i the logical properties of concepts applied mainly to everyday objects whose defining features are readily deduced.
Abstract concepts, or those which have no agreed formal definitions, cannot be stored in this way. Abstract concepts are built up from a set of experiences which are only partially shared with others. Learning thus becomes a matter of constructing meaning. New informa- tion has to be interpreted in terms of prior knowledge and concepts which contain shared, and unique, shades of meaning. What a student learns can therefore be exactly what is taught only in relation to facts or formally defined concepts. Otherwise the student will necessarily acquire, and subsequently seek to communicate, an interpretation of knowledge which contains a personal aura of meaning in addition to the ideas the teacher was intending to present.
Ausubel considers the distinction between rote learning (memoriza- tion) and meaningful learning to be important in education. Even where meaningful learning is required by teachers or lecturers, I pupils (and students) may often use rote learning instead. Another reason is that because of a generally high level of anxiety or because of chronic failure experience in a given subject. He has come to essay correction service mba essay review service believe that significant learning is possible only when the individual has self-confidence in his ability to learn and feels that the experience of learning will be personally rewarding and meaningful. In his influential book Freedom to Learn, he is strongly critical of traditional approaches to teaching which foster competition and provide experiences of failure for many children. He condemns didactic or expository methods, unless they form part of an entirely different approach to education. And above ill he wants to essay correction service set the learner free from the type of experiences which Crush both curiosity and self-confidence. We frequently fail to recognize that much of the material presented to students in the classroom has, for the student, the same perplexing, meaningless quality that the list of nonsense syllables has for us.
This is especially true for the under-privileged child whose back-ground please help me write my essay provides no context for the material with which he is confronted. But nearly every student finds that large portions of his curriculum are for him, meaningless. Thus education becomes the futile attempt to learn material which has no personal meaning. No, the facilitation of lignificant learning rests upon certain attitudinal qualities which exist in the personal relationship between the facilitator and the learner. This view of learning has a richness, and immediacy of impact, which is lacking from the mainstream psychological research in learning. Both views of learning are strongly felt and vigorously defended. Educational Research on Student Learning With the exception of the work reported in the last section, psychological research on learning has been carried out in a laboratory setting or has made use of artificial or over-simple learning materials. Attempts at applying the theories derived from this research directly to classroom situations have not been particularly successful. Otherwise there can be little confidence placed in the utility of the theory. Educational research workers have also approached student learning using contrasting perspectives and methodologies. In moving from one focus to the other there is also an important shift in research paradigm which is of particular significance in understanding the studies reported in subsequent chapters.
These results do, however, imply that it is possible to generalize about effective study methods. Yet in several studies systematic study methods (of whatever system) have been shown to be related to academic success. Their comments suggested a transfer of blame for their poor perform- ance.
They tended to be critical of facilities, mentioning too much chatter, over-crowding, or scarcity of books. Presumably better-organized students modify their study strategies to overcome any defects in the academic environment and so maintain a more positive attitude to their studies. It has provided a rationale for providing advice college entrance essay writing service for students on effective study skills, but the plethora of handbooks on the subject has had little, if any, effect. Why has this substantial body of research made such little impact on practice? Perhaps the most striking deficiency is that it failed in its main intention. Its purpose was essay correction service to explain academic performance in terms of factors related to success and failure. Explanation was based on prediction, explored mainly through correlational analyses.
It asked which characteristics of students were consistently related to high levels of academic performance. Some consistent correlations were reported successful students were found to be intellectually more able, more highly motivated, and better organized. But such findings, while seeming obvious, paradoxically were supported by unconvincingly low levels of correlation. Not only are such findings too general to be useful and too obvious to provide new insights, but they also remain firmly rooted in an external view of the student — the perspective of educational psycholog- ists. These researchers continued — as the lecturers had — implicitly or explicitly to blame the students for low levels of academic attainment. Thus failure is explained away as the result of low ability or lack of organization or application. They took little cognizance of the existence of individual differences in the processes of studying, nor of the complex educational and social context within which learning takes place.
More recent quantitative research has examined the processes of learning, but as this research has made use of concepts derived from the qualitative studies reported in Chapter 3 of this book, further discussion of this work will be introduced at a much later stage (Chapter 9). The traditional research paradigm involves explaining student behaviour from the outside, as a detached, objective observer.