General theories of learning

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Theories of learning have been heavily influenced by the Enlightenment which makes it seem like mostly a product of rational thought. However, this may be unrealistic for two reasons:

(1) human learning is probably not the only possible kind of learning,

(2) human learning is not really so individual, it takes place in a cultural context where large numbers of people are experimenting and suggesting solutions or theories, or just randomly trying out different permutations.


This Russian language video introducing "instructional design" gives three categories of general theory of learning:

The Project Zero research programme of the Harvard Graduate School of Education generally understands learning as a result of thinking. Their "visible thinking" concept suggests a number of "thinking routines" https://pz.harvard.edu/thinking-routines


The OUP suggests the following routines as particularly suited to the language learning classroom:

  • Headlines (synthesizing and organising ideas)
  • Chalk Talk (introducing and exploring ideas)
  • Name - Describe - Act (introducing and exploring ideas)
  • Looking 10 x 2 (with art or objects)
  • Think - Pair - share (core thinking routines)
  • Connect - extend - challenge (core thinking routines)