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Definition of Meaningful Learning
Richard E. Mayer defines learning using three different approaches that are guided by student’s abilities to grasp and understand new ideas. This scholar believes that the process of learning cannot be complete without knowledge retention and transfer. Knowledge retention refers to the ability of students to understand and remember various concepts taught in class (Mayer 226). For instance, if students are taught the importance of democracy, they should remember concepts like justice and equality that are important in explaining democratic systems.
He defines no learning as a process where students are taught different concepts, but can neither remember nor apply them in real life to solve problems. According to Mayer, no learning occurs when students do not remember the key concepts of a subject and how to use them in real life. The student does not possess any knowledge about a topic and thus cannot use its concepts to answer questions (Mayer 228).
There is neither knowledge retention nor transfer, and this means that, in this case, no learning takes place. Sharon Alayne Widmayer’s Schema Theory explains that the process of interpreting various messages relies on the experience and understanding of an individual (Widmayer 1). The theory explains that meaningful learning should occur in a familiar context to ensure students understand the meaning and application of concepts. Secondly, he defines rote learning as a process where students read and grasp key concepts regarding various subjects, but they cannot explain or use them to answer questions.
In this case, Mayer explains that students can remember and even list the concepts taught in class. However, they cannot use them to answer questions that require the application of these concepts to solve problems. In this case, students retain knowledge, but cannot transfer and use it to solve problems. For instance, students can understand laws and even list them according to their categories.
However, they cannot transfer their knowledge of these laws and apply them in explaining real life issues. Lastly, he defines meaningful learning as the process where students grasp concepts and retain them. They can use them to answer questions and solve problems that require the application of concepts and explaining their relevance in different scenarios. Widmayer’s Schema Theory fits into this last definition of learning and explains the importance of using familiar concepts in teaching (Widmayer 6).
Applying and Implementing Meaningful Learning
Mayer explains that an understanding of meaningful learning enables teachers to identify and use familiar concepts and illustrations to enhance knowledge retention and transfer. For instance, Mayer explains that meaningful learning occurs when students grasp concepts and use them to answer questions and solve problems. Teachers should use familiar concepts and simple approaches that students understand to enhance learning (Driscoll 87).
This will ensure they retain knowledge and understand the meaning of various concepts related to various disciplines. In addition, they will facilitate the transfer of knowledge and enable students to answer questions and solve problems using the information taught in class. Meaningful learning is applicable to the workplace and enables employees to understand company policies and use them to improve performance. Experienced employees help new ones to understand the structure and functions of different departments in organizations by defining the roles and expectations of all stakeholders.
My experience and application of meaningful learning is evident in the daily activities that involve the use of modern technological devices. For instance, cell phones have become essential gadgets in today’s world. I use my Smartphone not only for communication but also learning and entertainment. However, before I must identify and understand the uses of various applications before enjoying the benefits of this technology.
I identified features like application stores and how they enhance my lifestyle by adding value and providing satisfaction in life. In addition, I learned the uses of the features on my android phone and applied the knowledge to operate and access its applications. Therefore, meaningful learning enables me to use and enjoy the benefits of most of the features available on my cell phone.
Driscoll, Marcy. Meaningful Learning and Schema Theory. In Psychology of Learning for Instruction. Boston: Pearson, 2005. Print.
Mayer, Richard E. “Rote versus Meaningful Learning.” Theory into Practice 14.4 (2002): 226-232. Print.
Widmayer, Sharon Alayne 2012, Schema Theory: An Introduction. George Mason University, WV. Web.