Ways to Improve Learning

By: Anum Sidhu, MS Clinical Psychology

In formal school settings, digital video technologies offer a variety of functions for supporting collaborative learning in classrooms. According to Zahn, Krauskopf, Hesse and Pea (2012) research in the field of computer-supported collaborative learning has provided ample evidence on how technology affordances can support students’ learning in general and specifically for using digital video technologies to support a variety of socio-cognitive functions [1].

According to Commodari (2013), infant attachment security might be related to various aspects of cognitive and socio-emotional development. As early as the 1970s, it was found that 2- year-olds with secure attachments show greater persistence and efficacy on cognitive tasks. Other studies reported security-related differences in the areas of object/person permanence, language acquisition and symbolic play. Jacobsen, Edelstein, and Hofmann (1994) showed that children with secure attachment representations have more successful cognitive performance in childhood. Conversely, children with insecure-disorganized attachment representations perform poorly on deductive reasoning tasks and were likely to be strongly inhibited from engaging in cognitive transaction with their environment. Therefore, in order to improve collaborative learning skills, precocious assessment of children’s social skills must be done. These are necessary skills and stimulate achievement in school settings [2].

According to Guney and Al (2012), each of learning theories provides environment for effective learning in the following ways:

  • Behaviorist learning environment: Behaviorist’s schools are typically framed in single buildings with several stories. Classrooms are located at one end for new learners and moved through the other end for upper grade learners. Long corridor with two side classroom is suitable for behaviorist schools. This kind of arrangement provides desired responses of the teacher centered education.
  • Cognitivist learning environment: Cognitivist learning schools are usually single or two-story buildings connected by various walkways, which provided opportunities for the students to interact with the outdoors, supporting the explorative approach.
  • Constructivist learning environment: In schools based on environment for the constructivist theory; corridors are designed as a learning space and place for a social interaction instead of long corridors which serve only for circulation. And classrooms can be designed as articulated spaces where children can study by themselves or within a group, because students sometimes need places to be alone for intrapersonal intelligence, and sometimes for active social interaction for interpersonal intelligence.
  • Experiential learning environment: The experiential learning classroom environment described by Kolb (1984) should provide an opportunity for consciously reflecting on the thoughts, emotions and behavioral actions and transforming them. Accordingly, they can be designed for group learning to provide social learning and stimulate the social brain; turning break spaces into social area for conversation. Classroom design may have flexible properties and allow for multiple choices of instruction and learning. Experiential learning can take place inside in the classrooms and outdoors. Thus designer should relate the in- and outdoor learning.
  • Humanistic learning environment: Child can feel belonging to his class-school if he is allowed to personalize his environment. That is why classrooms must allow maximum amount of independence to realize this. Further, pupils also can work on different issues, in different groups at the same time, observe what others doing, learn from one another, and make interpersonal relationships. School environment should be equal for all students. For self-actualization, school environment must offer choices of spaces which can reveal student’s potential and help pupils to do what they aimed.
  • Social- situational learning environment: While designing school environment based on social-situational learning theory positive effect of observation, group workings and social interaction must be kept in mind.

School’s application for learning theory should reflect physical context of the school. When designing for suitable learning atmosphere, design activity should follow a holistic, systemic way; thus, all aspects should be taken in to account [3].

Adler has proposed following little ways for improving learning:

1)      Learn holistically: It is exact contrary to rote learning. It refers to learning concepts by relating them to things that are already known to one. This interconnected web of information facilitates retrieving information from memory as it creates different routes to information.

2)      Visualize it: Visualizing the learning material helps to make pictures of it in one’s head. If one is an auditory or kinesthetic (touch) learner, then she/he must translate concepts and ideas of learning material into those senses instead.

3)      Diagram it: If one is facing difficulty in translating ideas to senses, then she/he must roughly draw ideas and concepts. These little pictures help in remembering even really difficult concepts.

4)      Metaphor it: Using metaphors while learning helps to interlink ideas holistically and form mental pictures. Thus help in information retrieval.

5)      Test it: One must test his knowledge by asking himself questions and problems to solve. One of the best ways is to solve problems in different ways. Therefore, each attempt to solving will organize her/his knowledge a little more and improve creative problem solving skills.

6)      Teach it: Teaching knowledge to someone is the best way to understand and learn it. This is because teaching forces one to think holistically, and relate concepts and idea with different metaphors, examples and images [4].

References:

[1]. Zahn, C., Kraukopf, K., Hesse, F.W., and Pea, R. (2012). How to improve collaborative learning with video tools in the classroom? Social vs. cognitive guidance for student teams. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (2012) 7:259–284. doi 10.1007/s11412-012-9145-0

[2]. Commodari, E. (2013). Preschool teacher attachment, school readiness and risk of learning difficulties. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 28 (2013) 123– 133. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2012.03.004

[3]. Guney, A., and Al, S. (2012). Effective learning environments in relation to different learning theories. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 ( 2012 ) 2334 – 2338. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.480

[4]. Adler, M. 7 little known ways to drastically improve your learning. Ririan project. Website address: http://ririanproject.com/2007/04/15/7-little-known-ways-to-drastically-improve-your-learning/