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Meaningful Learning

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The theory of meaningful learning was developed by David Ausubel ( 1918 - 2008 ), an American psychologist who made important contributions to constructivism. According to Ausubel, meaningful learning arises from the establishment of a relationship between the new knowledge acquired and those that already had, producing in the process a reconstruction of both.

This means that, when a person develops a significant learning process, he modifies the knowledge that he possessed from the acquisition of the new information while, simultaneously, this new information acquired also produces changes in previous knowledge.

The key to meaningful learning lies in the creation of links between the new concepts and the previous cognitive structure. For this to be possible, the foregoing knowledge must be solid as it'll be the basis of cognitive development. If the oldest data are understood by the subject and he can use them for reinterpretation, meaningful learning can be carried out.

In addition to all the above, it's necessary to know other data of interest about meaningful learning, among which we can highlight the following:

- In it, the concepts, representations and propositions play an essential role.

No less relevant are other of its keys that respond to the names of progressive differentiation or transfer.

It's established that for meaningful learning to fulfill its function properly, it requires the teacher to play a key role. Specifically, this should participate very actively in this regard. Exactly it's determined that its principles must be collaborative and critical reflection, integrative didactic knowledge, problem solving strategies, contemplation of content analysis...

It can be affirmed that meaningful learning requires that the person can apprehend the information, in the sense of "appropriating" it. Memorizing the new contents to repeat them isn't useful for meaningful learning, because the subject only incorporates the information without processing or interpreting it. In this way, you can't establish relationships between the new information and the data that were \part of your structure.

It must be taken into account, however, that repetition or memorization learning can be the starting point for the future development of meaningful learning: one modality doesn't necessarily cancel the other.

In order to achieve real and effective meaningful learning, it's considered that the teacher must opt ​​for actions such as these:

- Proceed to make the explanations through the use of examples.
- Propose and develop activities that have as a clear objective to be able to awaken the interest of their students.
- In the same way, propose actions through which students participate actively and give them the opportunity to argue, discuss, exchange positions and ideas...
- Among the most useful tools that the teacher has in this regard, they stand out from summaries to interleaved questions through graphics and illustrations. However, we must not forget other very useful ones such as maps, schemes, signs or what are the conceptual networks.

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