Meaningful Reception Learning Theory


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- Refers to the concept that the learned knowledge (let say a fact) is fully understood by the individual and that the individual knows how that specific fact relates to other stored facts (stored in your brain that is).
- Proposed by David P. Ausubel. It is concerned with how students learn large amounts of meaningful material from verbal/textual presentations in a school setting.
- Meaningful learning results when new information is acquired by linking the new information in the learner’s own cognitive structure.
- A primary process in learning is subsumption in which new material is related to relevant ideas in the existing cognitive structure on a non-verbatim basis(previous knowledge).
- Meaningful learning results when new information is acquired by linking the new information in the learner’s own cognitive structure.

Process of meaningful learning
-Derivative subsumption- describes the situation in which the new information pupils learn is an instance or example of a concept that pupils have already learned.
-Correlative subsumption- more valuable learning than that of derivative subsumption, since it enriches the higher-level concept.
-Superordinate learning- in this case, the pupil already knew a lot of examples of the concept, but he/she did not know the concept itself until it was taught to them.
-Combinatorial learning- students could think of this as learning by analogy.

These processes occur during the reception of information.

A major instructional mechanism proposed by Ausubel is the use of advance organizers. Ausubel emphasizes that advance organizers are different from overviews and summaries which simply emphasize key ideas and are presented at the same level of abstraction and generality as the rest to the material. Organizers help to link new learning material with existing related ideas.
Ausubel indicates that his theory applies only to reception (expository) learning in school settings, he distinguishes reception learning from rote and discovery learning.

Rote Learning-is the lowest form of learning. The knowledge or information is stored in an isolated compartment and is not integrated into the person’s larger cognitive structure. Because rote learning is not anchored to existing concepts, it is more easily forgotten. Rote learning does not involve subsumption.
Ausubel believed that children have a natural tendency to organize information into a meaningful whole. Children should first learn a general concept and then move toward specifics.
Principles of Ausubel’s meaningful reception learning theory within a classroom setting include:
  1. The most general ideas of a subject should be presented first and then progressively differentiated in terms of detail and specificity.
  2. Instructional materials should attempt to integrate new material with previously presented information through comparisons and cross-referencing of new and old ideas.
  3. Instructors should incorporate advance organizers when teaching a new concept.
  4. Instructors should use a number of examples and focus on both similarities and differences.
  5. Classroom application of Ausubel’s theory should discourage rote learning of materials that can be learned more meaningfully.
  6. The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows.