Developing Theories in the Field of Learning Psychology
Learning psychology offers additional theoretical frameworks that support the development of knowledge. As you discover ways to apply your knowledge in your personal and professional lives, it is important to consider the vast scope of evolving perspectives that can be applied to help explain and support more effective learning for yourself and others.
Individualized Construction of Knowledge
As puzzling as understanding the mind and how it influences learning is, the research associated with effective knowledge acquisition has also encouraged some researchers to look at variables other than information processing. Construction of individualized knowledge and its influence on effective learning is one of the areas explored by
According to constructivism, learning involves meaning, but meaning itself cannot be fully explained by what one knows or what one believes they have learned. For example, believing something to be true does not guarantee its validity. Constructivists seek to explain the association of meaning with learning by considering whether knowledge is truly knowledge if it has no meaning within one’s constructed reality (i.e., one’s culture). And if it is not knowledge, then how can one say it was learned? For example, if an American learns that Saka Dawa lasts for a month, is this even knowledge if the person does not know what Saka Dawa is or have any way to apply the fact that it lasts for a month? This piece of information has no meaning in the American’s cultural context. Does it become knowledge and gain meaning when that person learns that Saka Dawa is a period of time celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists?
The research lens for constructivism also asserts that learning includes numerous constructs, and these constructs affect everything from the simplest of tasks to the most complex of algorithms. It is important to understand that constructivist-based theories do not disprove cognitive or behaviorist theories. Instead, previous theories are used in conjunction with the foundational concept that learners should be the center of the process, organizing knowledge that is based on their own reality. Earlier in this chapter we considered how a child learning about how food is too hot to eat right out of the oven could be explained both by behaviorism and cognitivism. A constructivist would ask “what if the construct of ‘hot’ was not relevant to someone?”