Using researched based learning and instructional design Based on research from the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience, Ewell* suggests that there are 30 behaviours which when adopted lead to effective learning. For those of us responsible for workplace learning and development activity, we should consider these behaviours and build our development strategies towards harnessing them in our learning and instructional design. Whether we use the outdated 70:20:10 or the 3-33, there behaviours can accelerate learning and its subsequent transfer to the workplace. Originally based on those in higher education, many of these behaviours are also appropriate for the world of work and can provide us with a practical framework in which to design.
These behaviours are within 8 principles: Active Involvement, Patterns and Connections, Informal Learning, Direct Experience, Reflection, Compelling Situation, Frequent Feedback, Enjoyable Setting.
Exploring each of these:
Definition People learn best when the process is active not passive.
Observable Behaviours of active involvement
- Participatory behaviour: The learner is active and responsive, and engages in activities.
- Creative thinking: The learner comes up with his/her own solutions/suggestions, brings new insights to the topic, and becomes able to relate what has been previously learned to new contexts.
- Engaged learning: The learner is able to apply a learning strategy for a given learning situation.
- Construction of knowledge: Instead of passively receiving the information, the learner is given tasks meant to lead him/her to understanding and learning.
Patterns & Connections
Definition Research in neuroscience shows us that building and making connections is a central activity for learning. We build links to what we know already.
Observable Behaviours of patterns & connections
- Flexible thinking: The learner is able to adapt to new learning contexts and tasks by connecting, organizing, and working previous skills and knowledge into new structures.
- Critical thinking: The learner approaches a task comparing, refining, and selecting from what he or she knows to find the best solution to the problem.
- Transfer: In backward-reaching transfer, the learner makes connections to prior knowledge; in forward-reaching transfer the learner makes connections to how the information will be used in the future. 4. Sense-making: Given a specific learning context, the learner is able to use familiar patterns that are re-organized and extrapolated so that they become meaningful in a new situation.
Definition Every person learns all the time, both with us and despite us. Often learning is implicit and at any point in time, learning goes beyond what is explicitly being ‘taught’.
Observable Behaviours of informal learning
- Implicit learning: Learning can occur in any life situation; opportunities to learn often are not school-based. They may occur in addition to the content being taught. The learner has the ability to recognize and to make sense out of a learning situation that is not necessarily conducted within a classroom.
- Field trips: The learner interacts with the environment with the purpose of exploring and learning.
- Learning centres: At centres created within the community, learners can apply and practice theoretical knowledge.
- Apprenticeship: The learner learns from exposure to and the supervision of a mentor, for example, in job shadowing and school-to-work programs.
Definition Our map of the world is our reality. It may not be accurate or universal, but it is based on our personal experiences, recent and historical.
Observable Behaviours of direct experience
1. Learning in context: The learner experiences an environment that provides an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills by directly observing the object or phenomenon to be studied.
2. Creating a mental model: The learner experiences repeatedly similar situations, thus making associations between causes and effects, through which humans make sense out of new situations.
3. Changing a mental model: The learner re-uses existing brain connections for new purposes and constructs new associations based on the previous patterns of expectations.
Definition Without reflection, learning ends “well short of the re-organization of thinking that ‘deep’ learning requires”. Effective learning situations require time for thinking. That thinking may happen in the time of the event of after. It is our application of “If THIS then THAT”, a causal view of what happened
Observable Behaviours of reflective practice
- Metacognition: This is the internal dialogue that individuals develop on their own, helps to build the skills of predicting learning outcomes and monitoring comprehension.
- Transfer of knowledge: Learners extend what they have learned in one context to a new context.
- Analogical reasoning: learners compare and contrast what is known and familiar in order to find meanings and solutions applicable to the particular context.
Definition It is said that maximum learning often occurs when people are confronted with specific, identifiable problems that they want to solve and that are within their capacity to do so. A compelling WIIFM (What’s In It for Me)
Observable Behaviours of having compelling situations
- Challenging problem: The situation is complex and motivating and yields emotion, attention, and effort in finding a solution.
- Real situation: The context is connected to the outside world and not simulated.
- Real consequences: The results of an actual problem have practical applicability to everyday life.
Definition Feedback is said to be the feedback of champions. The science backs this. Because the brain wants to deal with the most pressing matters, it is necessary to practice those things that we wish to retain and to receive feedback that includes “explicit cues about how to do better, such as that provided deliberately (or unconsciously)” by a trainer, manager or peer.
Observable Behaviours of frequent feedback
- Practice: Learners exercise with the purpose of enhancing knowledge and skills.
- Teacher feedback: The trainer, instructor or facilitator gives learners verbal or written input.
- Peer feedback: Peers provide verbal or written input.
- Cues about how to improve: The learner gets information back that includes suggestions on how to do better.
- Corrective feedback: This input is meant to help improve performance.
- Supportive feedback: A mentor or peer provides encouragement.
Definition This is not about sun and sea, but the emotional environment in which we operate. Trust and respect is critical. An enjoyable learning setting is a cultural and interpersonal context that provides interactions, considerable levels of individual personal support, and creates learning opportunities. Most learning of this kind is group-oriented and oral, and latterly via social media and collaboration tools.
- Personal interaction: This situation favours enjoyable communication among individuals.
- Social effects on learning: Learning takes place through activities that involve harmonious interaction and trust, such as play.
- Personal support for manageable risk-taking: The encouragement and support shown through interactions within an enjoyable learning context act as an incentive for learners, especially those who feel challenged, to take risks and manage them.
Reference P.T. Ewell’s Organizing for Learning: A Point of Entry 1997
Based on cognitive and neuroscience the article summarises the 30 behaviours needed for effective accelerated learning