Meaningful learning: making sense of our progress

There are many ways we can learn, but the form that more fully encompasses the emotional, motivational and cognitive dimension is called Meaningful learning.

When this type of learning is given, the way in which to combine prior skills and knowledge and so that new information can be incorporated is cut off by the source of motivation and the meaning attributed to what is learned. This is important in view of the fact that the key that marks the difference between the different forms of learning is in the process of building knowledge.

An approach to the idea of ​​meaningful learning

Meaningful learning is a process in which a person collects information, selects it, organizes it, and establishes relationships with knowledge that it already possesses. Thus, this learning occurs when new content is linked to our lived experiences and other acquired knowledge over time, have personal motivation and beliefs about what is important to learn a highly relevant role. It involves giving the new knowledge a unique meaning for each person, as we each have our own life story.

When meaningful learning occurs, the mental models created through time and experience determine how we see information and how we deal with it. To put it another way, our way of internalizing what is learned and making sense of it gives us an idea of ​​the “glasses” with which we see reality, and vice versa.

The emotional dimension of learning

The process of attributing personal meaning to what we learn involves a more affective and emotional dimension than that which we usually relate to “technical” learning of a subject, in which it is simply repeated, practiced and memorized.

It’s not just a matter of keeping information in memory for a while and then deleting it as it might be in a response to an exam: the goal is to give personal meaning to knowledge, To be able to explain it in your own words, and even, once meaningful learning has been done, create new knowledge through it.

Thus, the difference between meaningful learning and repetitive learning refers to the relationship, or not, of the material to be learned with prior knowledge. Significant and non-arbitrary relationships, that is, if it is possible to relate to prior knowledge, it will be possible to attribute certain meanings, one of which is knowledge mind map. Thus, it is possible to change the cognitive structure, which would not make repetitive learning, as it can only be maintained for a short period of time.

Two factors to consider

For learning to be meaningful, two conditions must be met. The content must be potentially meaningful from the point of view of these aspects:

1. Logical significance

At the level of the internal structure of knowledge, it must be relevant and with a clear organization.

2. Psychological significance

The ability to assimilate it, relevant and related elements must exist within the cognitive structure with the learning materials. So there must be a favorable disposition to learn the new material and relate it to what you already know in advance.

Complete memorization

It is obvious that for learning to be successful, not only the material must exist, but also the motivational and emotional components are essential to a good disposition to learning and to the relation between the concepts. Not only the capacity of the individual to acquire knowledge is at stake, in terms of maturation O cognitive competence.

In order to consolidate this new knowledge through meaningful learning, you need full memorization. Building new meanings involves modifying the previous ones and adding new elements to form relationships. Memorization is complete because the constructed meanings modify, add, and enrich cognitive patterns.

In addition, the modification of cognitive patterns produced by the achievement of meaningful learning is directly related to the functionality of the learning achieved, that is, the possibility of using what has been learned to cope. to new situations.

When what is learned makes sense, it is not only more enjoyable to expand knowledge: moreover, these stay well in the Memory and can lead to better solutions.

Bibliographical references:

  • Coll, C., Palacios. J, Marchesi, A. (2004). Psychological development and education, (2). Madrid: Alliance

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