The Basics Of Learning
The Basics Of Learning
Louis Pugliese (Lecturer in Educational Psychology, CSUN, Certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) gives expert video advice on: What conditions stimulate learning?; How can I help my child be more motivated in the classroom? and more...
How does our brain perceive events?
Our brain perceives events through the five senses--the sense of sight, the sense of smell, the sense of touch, etc. Once we recognize something as familiar or we can compare it to something else in our brain we begin to organize the information in some way, and that helps us to remember it and that helps us to attend to the stimulus. If something is so unique that we've never felt it or sensed it before, we also, that's another way that we organize information; we start to create new categories of events and perceptions that we've never had before.
How do educational psychologists define "stimulus"?
A stimulus is any information that comes to us through the five senses that could be the sense of touch, the sense of smell, the hearing, the sight and then the brain processes those stimuli in a way that organizes them either based on what we already know or based on the novelty, the new information, that we strive to reconcile with what we already know
How do educational psychologists define "practice"?
Educational psychologists define practice as the rehearsal, the repetition of information that we are trying to commit to memory, and we do that in many ways. The knowledge can be procedural knowledge; the way to do something, or the knowledge can be an association between two things. We put milk in our cereal, we learn that when we are very young. So by doing that over and over and practising, we finally learn that those two things go together. We associate them with a larger scheme that we call breakfast, and the brain organizes information in this way.
How do mental stimuli and practice fit into education?
Any stimulus becomes information in our brain and the point of classroom instruction is to help learners to memorize to commit things to long-term memory; whether those are procedures, the way that we do something or that could be what we call declarative knowledge, things that we know, things that we say "Abraham Lincoln was the President during the Civil War". So that mental stimulus becomes well-set in memory once we've repeated it, and practiced it and/or rehearsed it many times.
How do educational psychologists define "memory"?
Memory is the storage of information in the brain--or in the mind as some would say--that's there for retrieval later on. We can have memory that goes far back to something we haven't remembered in a long time; yet we rehearsed it, or it was so meaningful that it became a long-term memory for us and we were able to organize it and store it long-term.Also we can hold things in memory by practicing them. For example, if someone gives you a phone number and you're on your cell phone and maybe you're driving and all you can do is repeat it over and over to yourself. By repeating it over and over, you're rehearsing it and while you're rehearsing it, you're holding it in what we call short-term memory.
How is memory involved in the education process?
All learning will ultimately involve long-term memory. We want learners to store new information, useful information, in their long-term memory, which means it has little chance of fading away or being forgotten. To do that is really a long and complicated process for human beings and is really the reason we have school.
What conditions stimulate learning?
In the earlier part of the century it was thought that driving around and getting used to your enviroment would stimulate learning. When a person is satiated or not hungry, a person or organism tends to explore more. In all when a primary need is met or fulfilled, a person will search for others to explore.
How do educational psychologists define "boredom"?
Boredom is basically a term that people use, or learners use, to describe why they didn't stay interested in a particular task or a particular stimuli. But there are two sides of boredom. One is, we didn't want to stay with the task because it was too simple, it wasn't challenging, we had better things on our mind to do. The mind wants to be engaged, it wants to be active. If the task is not challenging, we report boredom. On the other hand, boredom can be from just the opposite. Boredom can be when the task is so challenging there is no chance of our success, and that the process, the novelty in the task, any of the new information is such a cognitive challenge we readily break it off because we don't believe we're going to meet with any success at all. So there are two sides to boredom, one is when a task is too easy, and one is when a task is too difficult.
How do educational psychologists define "motivation"?
Motivation is an internal drive. Often we look at motivation as the extrinsic things that somebody wants. We learn because we want to get a good job or we go to our job because we want money. But immediately, most of us get up and go to work because we're looking forward to going to work, and immediately most of us attend to a learning task because it has some intrinsic interest. Motivation is often described as the amount that we're invested or interested in the task, how much value it has to us, whether we want to learn to do it, try to do it, and it's also related to whether we think we can do it or not. I would love to be a teenage rock n roll guitar player, but I don't believe I'll be able to do that, so while my desire to do it is strong, my expectation that I'll be successful at it is very low, therefore my motivation is low.
How do educational psychologists define "attention span"?
Attention span, simply, is the ability to fixate or to focus on the features of a new stimulus; meaning: to continue to explore any novel parts of that stimulus, anything new. That stimulus can be something a teacher is talking about, presenting new information. It certainly can be information that is presented visually, in a media sense, or in the form of a picture. It could be also focusing on the steps in a task, that have been, hopefully, given direction clearly to a learner or a student. Who can then follow the directions for completing a cognitive task.
How does attention span factor into learning?
In school, much of what is presented to the children, is presented in terms of direct instruction. That often involves the teacher modeling some sort of behavior, or some sort of procedure for children, such as writing a friendly letter and the like. In order for children to learn, they then have to do this on their own. They have to try it themselves and they have to construct the knowledge piece by piece. They need to be able to focus on the presentation until the presentation is finished. They need to see it from the beginning to the end, or they need to participate in some way from the beginning to the end of the demonstration part or the lesson, so that they can then try doing the steps of the procedure or taking a test of some sort to show that they have mastered the material. So attention is very important -- that students are able to see all of the components of the task before they begin to try it themselves.