Session 5: How People Learn


This session builds on the learners’ beliefs about how people learn by presenting ideas from the research and asking them to consider how they apply to their own practice. The session then delves more deeply into the role of prior knowledge in learning. This session encourages participants to examine why it’s necessary to access, activate, and connect to learners’ prior knowledge in their practice. An adult learning experience is used as a means for the participants to invoke their own prior knowledge in order to observe and experience the role it plays in learning. Participants are often both helped and hindered by their prior knowledge, as they work to understand the phenomenon in this investigation. Research on prior knowledge and conceptual change is discussed, to consider what can be learned from listening closely to learners’ explanations and how these ideas can be applied in the classroom. 


Activity Description 
Argumentation – Build awareness of how argumentation supports conceptual change
Learning and Teaching – Identify personal beliefs on learning
– Deepen understanding of five foundational ideas on learning
– Discuss the role of prior knowledge in learning
– Engage in a learning experience and reflect on how prior knowledge influenced that experience
– Discuss the major research perspectives regarding misconceptions

Leader Guide and Slides