The Natural Process of Learning

This essay synthesizes research from the area of self directed learning and developments in digital learning technology to define underlying principles of learning that can help students maximize the natural learning process by transcending or maximizing their available contexts and opportunities.

The Purpose of Formal Education

I want to discover the purpose of formal education. Transformative theorists argue that changing the individual is the purpose of education. Others argue that learning transfer is the goal of education. Behavioral and cognitive theorists demonstrate how learning takes place relative to biology and psychology. Critical and social theories explore the relational environment in which learning takes place. Yet, despite all of these developments, the function of education has remained focused on the transfer of information. Subjects are presented in a context defined by the teacher and the school so that they are accessible to the widest possible range of students. Some will succeed at learning the subject with this context by using the available resources they have in hand. Others will fail at this attempt due to the very same factors.

I believe that I can synthesize several recent studies and developments to show that the function of education is to help students overcome or maximize any context of learning. This is done not by a focus on learning in the classroom, but by changing the classroom into a place where students learn how to learn.

Blooms taxonomy identifies the levels of learning but it does not challenge the overall design of the education system that effectively keeps most students occupied with competing at the lower levels. What strategic plan can we create to systematically move students beyond this to the highest levels of learning? What aspects of the classroom environment can be uniquely developed and designed to equip students to maximize the natural process of learning?

I assume that these last questions are somewhat beyond the scope of this project and leave them open. Several aspects of the answer to this question have been outlined in my research with suggestion for further experimentation. Thus I am building quantitative study [add link] for that will correlate certain factors of the learning experience with academic or career success.

My Search Strategy

My search strategy so far has centered on discovering existing ideas of the function of educational systems relative to individual potential for self directed learning. From these various examples (Self-directed Learning, Massive Open Online Learning, and various other research examples) I have begun to extract common learning tools and resources that should be encountered in the environment of a formal in-person learner-teacher relationship. These are useful to my quantitative study. However, the context in which they are presented has made an effective argument for restructuring the functional experience of formal education.

So far, I have run searches through the following resources

  • Google Scholar
  • ERIC
  • Journal for Technology in Education

Keywords and phrases

knowledge society, information age, knowledge diffusion, digital, electronic technology,

learning competen*, lifelong learn*, learning theor*, learning to learn, digital literacy, academic proficiency, academic achievement*, academic performance*, college achieve*

college students, lifelong learners

determin*, factor, caus*, correlat*, predictor*

Link to my Research Folder

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