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Friday, 31 May 2013

Effective learning involves active interactions

As traditional teaching for examinations often encourages rote learning, which is passive, superficial and unsustainable (Stobart and Gipps, 1997), by learning I understand the kind of learning that develops understanding and involves active participation.  It is the kind of learning that is referred to as ‘deep learning’ by Harlen and James (1997) who elaborate:

The term ‘real’ learning extends the notion of learning with understanding to suggest that it involves interaction with people, ideas, things and events in the real world. (…) When something is learned with understanding (deep learning, ‘real’ learning) it is actively understood and internalized by the learner (ibid. pp. 367-8).

In this sense, learning is seen as a process in advancing meaning and understanding, rather than just an exercise in memorising facts, and how it is assessed as part of the teaching and learning processes can shape not only the assessment culture in the school, but can also influence the use of particular teaching methodologies.

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