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The Nature of Learning

Using Research to Inspire Practice

image of The Nature of Learning

What do we know about how people learn? How do young people’s motivations and emotions influence their learning? What does research show to be the benefits of group work, formative assessments, technology applications, or project-based learning and when are they most effective?  How is learning affected by family background? These are among the questions addressed for the OECD by leading researchers from North America and Europe. This book brings together the lessons of research on both the nature of learning and different educational applications, and it summarises these as seven key concluding principles.  

Among the contributors are Brigid Barron, Monique Boekaerts, Erik de Corte, Linda Darling-Hammond, Kurt Fischer, Andrew Furco, Richard Mayer, Lauren Resnick, Barbara Schneider, Robert Slavin, James Spillane, Elsbeth Stern and Dylan Wiliam.

The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice is essential reading for all those interested in knowing what research has to say about how to optimise learning in classrooms, schools and other settings. It aims, first and foremost, to inform practice and educational reform. It will be of particular interest to teachers, education leaders, teacher educators, advisors and decision makers, as well as the research community

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Historical developments in the understanding of learning

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Erik de Corte describes a progression in which earlier behaviourism gave way increasingly to cognitive psychology with learning understood as information processing rather than as responding to stimuli. More active concepts of learning took hold (“constructivism”), and with “social constructivism” the terrain is not restricted to what takes place within individual minds but as the interaction between learners and their contextual situation. There has been a parallel move for research to shift from artificial exercises/ situations to real-life learning in classrooms and hence to become much more relevant for education. The current understanding of learning, aimed at promoting 21st century or “adaptive” competence, is characterised as “CSSC learning”: “constructive” as learners actively construct their knowledge and skills; “self-regulated” with people actively using strategies to learn; “situated” and best understood in context rather than abstracted from environment; and “collaborative” not a solo activity.

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