David Paul Ausubel was an American psychologist whose most significant contribution to the fields of educational psychology, cognitive science, and science education. Ausubel believed that understanding concepts, principles, and ideas are achieved through deductive reasoning. Similarly, he believed in the idea of meaningful learning as opposed to rote memorization. The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. This led Ausubel to develop an interesting theory of meaningful learning and advance organizers.

Learning Theory

Ausubel's believes that learning of new knowledge relies on what is already known. That is, construction of knowledge begins with our observation and recognition of events and objects through concepts we already have. We learn by constructing a network of concepts and adding to them.

Ausubel's  Theory of Meaningful learning, Ausubel Learning Model, Concept mapping for meaningful learning, CTET 2015 Exam Notes, KVS, DSSSB Study Material, CTET, NET PDF NOTES DOWNLOAD.
Ausubel also stresses the importance of reception rather than discovery learning, and meaningful rather than rote learning. He declares that his theory applies only to reception learning in school settings. He didn’t say, however, that discovery learning doesn’t work; but rather that it was not efficient. In other words, Ausubel believed that understanding concepts, principles, and ideas are achieved through deductive reasoning. Ausubel was influenced by the teachings of Jean Piaget. Similar to Piaget’s ideas of conceptual schemes, Ausubel related this to his explanation of how people acquire knowledge.

Meaningful learning

Ausebel’s theory also focuses on meaningful learning. According to his theory, to learn meaningfully, individuals must relate new knowledge to relevant concepts they already know. New knowledge must interact with the learner’s knowledge structure.

Meaningful learning can be contrasted with rote learning. he believed in the idea of meaningful learning as opposed to rote memorization. The latter can also incorporate new information into the pre-existing knowledge structure but without interaction. Rote memory is used to recall sequences of objects, such as phone numbers. However, it is of no use to the learner in understanding the relationships between the objects. 

Because meaningful learning involves a recognition of the links between concepts, it has the privilege of being transferred to long-term memory. The most crucial element in meaningful learning is how the new information is integrated into the old knowledge structure. Accordingly, Ausubel believes that knowledge is hierarchically organized; that new information is meaningful to the extent that it can be related (attached, anchored) to what is already known.

The rote-meaningful learning continium showing the requirements of meaningful learning

Advance Organizers
Ausubel advocates the use of advance organizers as a mechanism to help to link new learning material with existing related ideas. Advance organizers are helpful in the way that they help the process of learning when difficult and complex material are introduced. This is satisfied through two conditions:

1. The student must process and understand the information presented in the organizer-- this increases the effectiveness of the organizer itself. 3

2. The organizer must indicate the relations among the basic concepts and terms that will be used
Ausubel’s theory of advance organizers fall into two categories: comparative and expository

Comparative Organizers
The main goal of comparative organizers is to activate existing schemas and is used as reminders to bring into the working memory of what you may not realize is relevant. A comparative Organizer is also used both to integrate as well as discriminate. It “integrates new ideas with basically similar concepts in cognitive structure, as well as increase discriminability between new and existing ideas which are essentially different but confusably similar”

Expository Organizers
“In contrast, expository organizers provide new knowledge that students will need to understand the upcoming information”. Expository organizers are often used when the new learning material is unfamiliar to the learner. They often relate what the learner already knows with the new and unfamiliar material—this in turn is aimed to make the unfamiliar material more plausible to the learner.

Ausubel Learning Model

Ausubel believed that learning proceeds in a top-down or deductive manner. Ausubel's theory consists of of three phases. The main elements of ausubel teaching method are shown below in the table

Ausubel’s Model of Meaningful Learning

Phase One
Advance Organizer
Phase Two Presentation of Learning task or Material
Phase Three Strengthening Cognitive Organization
Clarify aim of the lesson
Make the organization of  the new material explicit
Relate new information to advance organizer
Present the lesson
Make logical order of learning material explicit
Promote active reception learning.
Relate organizer to students’ prior knowledge
Present material in terms  of basic similarities and differences by using examples, and engage students in meaningful learning activities

Concept mapping for meaningful learning :

Novak and Gowan (1984) have developed a theory of instruction that is based on Ausubel's meaningful learning principles that incorporates "concept maps" to represent meaningful relationships between concepts and propositions. A cognitive map is a "kind of visual road map showing some of the pathways we may take to connect meanings of concepts." According to Novak and Gowan concept maps should be hierarchical; the more general, more inclusive concepts should be at the top of the map, and the more specific, less inclusive concepts at the bottom of the map. An an example of this hierarchical principle of concept maps is shown in the concept map of the food chain.

The concept map of the food chain is done in Inspiration I suspect, and I don't have time to go hunt for that program, so can't copy it. We'll construct a concept map in statistics in the Fall. See if you can locate it at Hassard's site. jeanne

The concept map is a tool that science teachers can use to determine the nature of students' existing ideas The map can be used to make evident the key concepts to be learned and suggest linkages between the new information to be learned and what the student already knows. Concept maps can precede instruction, and be used by the teacher to generate a meaningful discussion of student ideas. Following the initial construction and discussion of concept maps, instructional activities can be designed to explore alternative frameworks, resulting in cognitive accommodation.

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