Learning Process

in Learning

More than fifty studies show that careful sequencing, monitoring and control of the learning process raise the learning rate. Pre-testing helps determine what should be studied; this allows the teacher to avoid assigning material that has already been mastered or for which the student does not yet have the pre-requisite skills. Ensuring that students achieve mastery of initial steps in the sequence helps ensure that they will make satisfactory progress in subsequent, more advanced steps. Frequent assessment of progress informs teachers and students when additional time and corrective remedies are needed. Mastery learning appears to work best when the subject-matter is well organized. Because of its emphasis on outcomes and careful monitoring of progress, mastery learning can save learners' time. It allows more time and remediation for students who need it. It also enables faster learners to skip material they already know. Since mastery learning suits instruction to the needs of each student, it can work better than giving the whole class the same lesson at the same time. Such whole-class teaching may be too hard for some learners and too easy for others. Mastery learning programmes require special planning, materials and procedures. Teachers must be prepared to identify the components of instruction, develop assessment strategies so that individual students are appropriately placed in the instructional continuum, and provide reinforcement and corrective feedback—while continuously engaging students in lessons.

Learning proceeds more effectively than usual when exchanges among teachers and learners are frequent and specifically directed towards students' problems and interests. In whole-class instruction, only one person can speak at a time, and shy or slow-learning students may be reluctant to speak at all. When students work in groups of two to four, however, each group member can participate extensively, individual problems are more likely to become clear and to be remedied, and learning can accelerate. With justification, co-operative learning has become widespread. Not only can it increase academic achievement, but also it has other virtues. By working in small groups, students learn teamwork, how to give and receive criticism, and how to plan, monitor and evaluate their individual and joint activities with others. It appears that modern workplaces increasingly require such partial delegation of authority, group management and co-operative skills. Like modern managers, teachers may need to become more like facilitators, consultants and evaluators, rather than supervisors. Nonetheless, researchers do not recommend that co-operative learning take up the whole college day; the use of a variety of procedures, rather than co-operative learning alone, is considered to be most productive. In addition, co-operative learning means more than merely assigning children to small groups. Teachers must also carefully design and prepare for the small-group setting. Students need instruction in skills necessary to operate successfully in small groups. Decisions must be made about the use of individual or group accountability. Care must be taken in establishing the mix of strengths and needs represented by students in the groups. Attention to these details will increase the likelihood that the co-operative groups will produce increased learning.

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Learning Process

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This article was published on 2012/03/07