Walter Geerts & René van Kralingen - The Teachers' Handbook

1.2  What is learning?

ing the learning process, the greater the manoeuvrability of the learning result (manoeuvrability refers to learning results being applicable under different circumstances). This definition doesn’t cover the intention of learning. Learning can be uninten- tional as well (Boekaerts & Simons, 2012), in which case we would refer to inci- dental learning. Children who are growing up will learn from their surroundings in an unintentional way. At school, both intentional and incidental learning takes place. But in both instances, the student needs to apply himself: he must pro- cess information and engage in learning activities. These learning activities can be subdivided into four categories, as we will see in section 1.2.1. Section 1.2.2 will go into the four levels of mastery of learning content.



Student Learning Activities

We use Bolhuis’ (2009) classification to judge whether any learning activities took place. Bol- huis describes how learning takes place through hands-on experience, social interaction, reflec- tion and/or the processing of theory. Learning through direct experience   This type of learning takes place by going through a direct experience or by gaining direct experience through one’s own action. A good example of the first type would be Jeske’s expe-

Has Jeske learned anything during Mrs Ekkers’ lesson this morning? To answer that question, we need to review wheth- er Jeske has been engaged in any activ- ities relevant to her learning process. Learning is a student activity, after all. Which takes us to the question of which learning activities Jeske has undertaken in this case.

rience when Mrs Ekkers sweeps all of her items onto the floor. The second type could be described as trial and error . Mrs Ekkers had been trying to explain the concept of Dadaism without much success until she accidentally knocked over her table and noticed that that did the trick: her students immediately grasped the concept. Learning through social interaction  This type of learning involves the exchange of information with others. At home, Jeske tells her family about the lesson. When her brother, sister and mother fire questions at her, she tries to answer them as best she can. Without intending to, she is at that moment learning through interaction. This type of activity could easily be incorporated into the lesson on purpose, for example, by letting stu- dents work on different but related assignments together. Learning through thinking or learning through reflection ‘Jeske couldn’t stop thinking about the lesson because it had been so interesting,’ we read in the case study. We can conclude that Jeske has been consciously drawn


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