Perspectives on Thinking, Learning, and Cognitive Styles

By Robert J. Sternberg; Li-Fang Zhang | Go to book overview

2—
Abilities, Interests, and Styles as Aptitudes for Learning: A Person-Situation Interaction Perspective
Joseph S. Renzulli
University of Connecticut
David Yun Dai
Central Missouri State University

Active learning or construction of knowledge entails information processing beyond passive responses to stimuli or encoding verbatim of whatever input has been provided. It also means that individuals differentially and selectively attend to and process learning materials based on their prior knowledge, understanding, values, attitudes, styles, and resultant motivation. Thus, active learning is most likely when instructional programming and design take into account developmental and individual characteristics that have a direct bearing on how students learn and how well they learn under a specific learning condition.

Our main argument is that schools will fare much better if they place the act of learning at the center of the education process (Renzulli, 1992). An act of learning takes place when three major components of instructional settings interact with one another in such a way as to produce the intellectual or artistic equivalent of spontaneous combustion. These three components are a learner, a teacher, and the material to be learned (i.e., curriculum).

Each of these three major components, shown in Fig. 2.1, has its own important subcomponents. Thus, for example, when considering the learner, we must look at his or her abilities and present appropriate levels of

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