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Attention to learning processes: How students learn

Learning was defined by Unesco as a “process that brings together personal and environmental experiences and influences for acquiring, enriching or modifying one’s knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, behaviour and world views”.

As students develop their own strategies to engage in the teaching-learning process, the way students learn it’s an important thing for the instructor to consider. The quality of students’ learning is what will determine the likelihood of success of any teaching scheme. Chiefly, all learning theories aims to assist students in becoming self-directed learners and provide an explanation of such learning principles, and for this reason, it’s important for the instructor to have familiarity with learning theories.

On the basis of findings in cognitive psychology and pedagogy, learning theories have been developed over the past decade. There are eight essential learning theories examined that seem to have held sway in education.

“The major concepts and theories of learning include behaviourist theories, cognitive psychology, constructivism, social constructivism, experiential learning, multiple intelligence, and situated learning theory and community of practice (Unesco, 2022). Furthermore, “several modern teaching methodologies address real-world tasks as part of the learning experience. Some authors have already noted how “such tasks are typically associated with a very high cognitive load, which makes it more important than ever to take the limited human-processing capacity into account.” (Roda, 2005).

According to (Saunders & Wong, 2020) learning theories describe the processes through which learning occurs, providing teachers with a basis to develop their methods that lead to better learning. Furthermore, these theories explain the processes that students engage in as they make sense of information, and how they integrate that information into their mental models so that it becomes new knowledge. In Addition, learning theories also examine what motivates people to learn, and what circumstances enable or hinder learning.

On the other hand, learning theories are applicable at several educational levels, across different populations and settings, it provides guidelines to develop exercises, assignments, and lesson plans that align with how students learn perfectly.

However, students believe in their own ability to learn best. That is, once students understand their learning process, they can change their thinking style to acquire information and knowledge and make logical paths between new information and their existing knowledge. on the other hand, all students do not learn in the same way, nor do all of them learn at the same time, each classroom contains a range of students who have a predictable set of needs.

To understand students learning needs, learning theories might help align instruction with student readiness. Obviously, adult learners have needs that differ from younger learners.

To conclude, all theories attempt to describe the factors that enable the learning process. Considering the importance of learning theories, these theories are guidelines, not rules should instructors have to strictly adhere to one of them, but they might combine these theories in a dynamic framework that resonates with their teaching styles, develop instruction sessions that lead to better learning, create lessons, and activities that enhance the understanding of students.

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