Learning is a Process

 

is a Process, not a Product

Many of the theories developed during the early part of the twentieth century tended to conceptualize learning as an end product or outcome, rather than a process. 

Even today, our system conditions us to view as a product.  The goal of education is often thought to be the final results.  Most of the emphasis is placed on the final answer or the grade (the product).  However, the reality is that we only get to see a small portion of the learning in the final product.  The actual learning occurs during the process.

involves individuals having to make sense and develop an understanding of the world in which they live.  Learning takes place when an individual is able to make connections and relate various parts of a subject matter to each other, and then infer what may come next or also be connected.  From this perspective, learning can be seen as a continuous process, rather than an isolated instance of an acquisition of a specific piece of knowledge.  This also supports the belief that learning is a lifelong endeavor. 

 

Defining Process and Product

A process is a series of steps designed to lead to a particular outcome or goal. 

A product is the outcome or goal of a process.  In learning, the product could be test results, essays, presentations, visual displays, or physical models.

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as a Process versus a Product

If you support the belief of as a product, you tend only to focus on the final outcome.  However, if you support the notion that learning is a process, you tend to see the steps leading to the outcome and see those steps as an opportunity to adjust or build on. 

Example: An individual completes a math problem that is several steps.  In order to accurately assess learning, you would need to look at the individual steps and not just the final answer.  The individual may have missed a simple step, and therefore ended with the wrong answer.  On the other hand, they could have incorrectly came to the correct answer, while missing important steps.

Additionally, if they were able to get the correct answer following the correct steps, you can use that as a building block for a more complicated problem.  Hence, the process continues. 

 

as a Process versus a Product

If you support the belief of as a product, you tend only to focus on the final outcome.  However, if you support the notion that learning is a process, you tend to see the steps leading to the outcome and see those steps as an opportunity to adjust or build on. 

Example: An individual completes a math problem that is several steps.  In order to accurately assess learning, you would need to look at the individual steps and not just the final answer.  The individual may have missed a simple step, and therefore ended with the wrong answer.  On the other hand, they could have incorrectly came to the correct answer, while missing important steps.

Additionally, if they were able to get the correct answer following the correct steps, you can use that as a building block for a more complicated problem.  Hence, the learning process continues. 

Links

The Brain and Learning

How We Learn

Obtaining Information

The Learning Cycle

 

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