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Learning Styles, Strategies and Critical Thinking

1. What is the learning process?
2. How are concepts learned?
3. What is the nature of critical thinking?
4. Provide one strategy that can be used to improve thinking.

Solution Preview

Interesting questions! Let's take a closer look at how different theories and theorists define these concepts differently. I also attached a chart of the learning approaches and key players of each.


1. What is the learning process?

Different theories and models of learning explain the learning process in different ways. For example:

a. the behaviourist orientation to learning views the learning process as a behavior change. Learning occurs through a stimulus response connection so the focus is on the stimuli in external environment. http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-behavourist.htm

b. the cognitive orientation to learning views the learning process in terms of internal mental process (including insight, information processing, memory, perception. Learning is focused on changing Internal cognitive structuring. http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-cognitive.htm

c. the humanistic orientation to learning views the learning process in terms of a personal act to fulfill potential with the focus of learning on affective and cognitive needs. http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-humanistic.htm

d. the social/situational orientation to learning views the learning process is terms of the interaction /observation in social contexts. Learning is the movement from the periphery to the centre of a community of practice. http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-social.htm

The four above orientations can be summed up in the figure attached (after Merriam and Caffarella 1991: 138)

2. How are concepts learned?

In terms of learning concepts from a behaviorist view, according to James Hartley (1998) four key principles are involved:

? Activity is important. Learning is better when the learner is active rather than passive. ('Learning by doing' is to be applauded).
? Repetition, generalization and discrimination are important notions. Frequent practice - and practice in varied contexts - is necessary for learning to take place. Skills are not acquired without frequent practice.
? Reinforcement is the cardinal ...

Solution Summary

This solution defines the learning process and how concepts are learned. It also explains the nature of critical thinking and provides an example of one strategy used to improve memory. Supplemented with one highly informative article on theoretical perspectives on learning.