Why does learning by doing work or not work?
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Situated cognition or learning is the one that happens through practice. Basically, the learners are put into “real-life” situations where they are required to apply certain skills (Learning Theories Study Book 75). This is clearly demonstrated in the video called “Sam Learns about Situated Cognition” where Sam realizes that in order to learn how to play soccer one must engage in direct practice, go to the field and play with actual players (Achristoper). Situated cognition works successfully because it involves all senses and all kinds of memory – visual, auditory, muscular. Direct interaction with the subject of learning makes the students understand it better than if they were only provided theoretical information about the subject.
An example, ideally from my own experience, of learning by doing.
As a teacher of the Arabic language, I get to employ situated cognition during the writing activities. The students can look at words and letters, hear them, memorize them, but that would not help them to succeed at writing in Arabic as the practice of writing with a pencil and a piece of paper. Situated learning of writing includes repetitive writing of single letters, letter combinations, and separate words. To provide the best-situated cognition of writing the students should be asked to write messages to one another asking questions and describing events, and then get to answer questions other learners addressed to them.
What should the role of the teacher (professor, instructor) be?
During situated cognition, the role of the teacher is to create authentic experiences and situations close to those of real-life in order to facilitate learning through doing. If possible, the teacher is to bring the learners to the places right for the situated cognition as it was done by Sam in the video (Achristoper). The environments should correspond with the lessons. This way, in order to teach a child how to cook one, will need an actual kitchen.
What should the role of the learner be?
The role of the learner is to be open to practice and participate in the activities offered by the teacher. When writing is taught, the learner is to pick up a pen and start copying symbols from the book, compile words, phrases, and sentences. Refusing to do, the student refuses to learn.
How sessions should be structured in a blended learning course at this University?
The sessions of this University should be built in a way that encourages the learners to connect their personal experience to what is being taught during the self-passed part. The students should be asked to practice the new knowledge or relate it to the experiences from their past.
Achristoper. Sam Learns about Situated Cognition. n. d. Web.
Learning Theories Study Book. 2009.