Over FIFTY psychological explanations of learning – all in one place…..
I wonder if some kind of advanced form of theoretical systematic review could iron out all of the inevitable overlaps and maybe shake it all down to a manageable three or four key factors? – I wonder what they’d be? Would the ‘key’ theorists everybody has heard of play the biggest role? Or would some obscure approach that seldom emerges in lectures outside of a PhD course prove to have the most robust supporting evidence? – I often feel a lot of the classics we teach, in every field of psychology, can carry a weight or ‘historical resonance’ far beyond the quality of the actual research results….
My money would be on Vygotsky – not for any reason other than it feels right to me (You might get a mark for this very feeling in an exam if you call it ‘intuitive appeal’). For example, I like his idea of ‘scaffolding’ :
Instructional scaffolding is the provision of sufficient supports to promote learning when concepts and skills are being first introduced to students. These supports may include:
- A compelling task
- Templates and guides
- Guidance on the development of cognitive and social skills
These supports are gradually removed as students develop autonomous learning strategies, thus promoting their own cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning skills and knowledge. Teachers help the students master a task or a concept by providing support. The support can take many forms such as outlines, recommended documents, storyboards, or key questions.
- building a tower of knowledge together with a nudge and a prod – shoring up this bit, talking up that bit onto a firmer footing. It’s a pleasingly rugged, masculine model of teaching- Like the guys who scaffolded our place: Roll up in a van whistling a cheery tune, throw up a rough structure for students to build their knowledge skywards, knock off mid-afternoon, never come back to take it down again….