Learning, thinking and doing
Learning, thinking and doing

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Learning, thinking and doing

3.4 Conclusion

The headings alongside each of the activities in this article were there to remind you of the three different types of learning to which you were introduced in Section 2: memorising, understanding and doing. The three models of the learning process that were discussed in the reading – acquisitive, constructivist and experiential – have strengths particularly for each of these three kinds of learning.

Some learning goals require that we know information accurately and can recall it when necessary. An acquisitive approach can be helpful as a way of achieving that, though in many circumstances it will still be easier to remember if we also understand the wider structure within which such information has a meaning and purpose.

The constructivist model is about encouraging activities by the learner which promote understanding. It stresses the kind of learning process required for coming to understand mediated knowledge about the world.

The experiential model is about the process required for the integration of abstract understanding and knowledge with personal experience and action. It suggests the idea of a cyclical relationship between four distinct types of learning activity, each of which has an essential role to play for full integration to be achieved.


Boring, E. G. (1930) 'A new ambiguous figure', American Journal of Psychology, vol. 42, p. 444.

Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1989) 'Trials and Tribulations', The Guardian, 19 December.

Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1992) The Manual of Learning Styles, 3rd edn, Peter Honey, Maidenhead.

Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey. Laurillard, D. (1993) Rethinking University Teaching, Routledge, London.

Ramsden, P. (1988) Learning to Teach in Higher Education, Routledge, London.

Stanton, N. (1996) Mastering Communication, 3rd edn, Macmillan, London.

Thorpe, M.S. (1996) What is learning? The Open University, Milton Keynes.


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