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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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Prospects and challenges for inquiry-based approaches to learning

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Brigid Barron and Linda Darling-Hammond summarise three, often overlapping, families of inquiry-based learning: “project-based”, “problem-based” and “learning through design”. A first key conclusion of their review of research evidence is that students learn more deeply when they can apply classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems; inquiry-based approaches are important ways to nurture communication, collaboration, creativity and deep thinking. Second, inquiry-based learning depends on the application of well-designed assessments, both to define the learning tasks and to evaluate what has been learned. Third, however, the success of inquiry approaches tends to be highly dependent on the knowledge and skills of those implementing them. If these approaches are poorly understood and mistaken for being unstructured, their benefits are substantially reduced compared with when they are implemented by those appreciating the need for extensive scaffolding and constant assessment to inform their direction.

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