Meaningful learning: understand more about this concept and how to apply it!

6 minutes to read

One of the biggest challenges in teaching is making students learn new content. After all, in addition to holding their attention, it is also necessary to make them understand the relevance of knowledge. For this, the concept of meaningful learning has been widely used as a solution to the process.

In this post, you will discover what this type of learning is and how it is applied at school, as well as understanding why to adopt it in everyday education. Good reading!

What you will find in this article:

After all, what is meaningful learning?

The concept of meaningful learning was created by educational psychologist David Paul Ausubel and proposed in the book Psychology of Meaningful Verbal Learning: An Introduction to School Learning, 1963.

In general, he addresses that, for the student to learn, it is necessary that the proposed knowledge makes sense. For this, the information cannot be strange, that is, it must be taught relating to concepts that the student already knows.

Thus, in the process of discovering new teachings, there is a mental connection between what he already knows and what he is learning. In this way, new information is better received and old information can be renewed with new points of view and reinforced in the student’s mind.

But for this to happen successfully, it is essential to have both the student’s willingness and a didactic material designed for learning.

What are your goals?

The goal of meaningful learning is to escape the automatic process, in which knowledge is related to the brain’s cognitive structure only for a certain period, in which the student has memorized the knowledge but then forgets about it.

Through it, the student himself gives meaning to the information within an already known context. Thus, it is possible to make subjective mental connections, which fix knowledge and make it relevant.

How does meaningful learning take place at school?

As meaningful learning takes place subjectively for the student, it is necessary to apply it with practices that involve teachers and the school. Below are some ways to implement this learning in the classroom.

Concept maps

Concept maps are visual representations of concepts to arrive at meaning. That is, students can, from the combination of different ideas, make their own subjective interpretation, facilitating the absorption of content and encouraging memorization.

Active methodologies

In the application of active methodologies, the objective is to combine theoretical knowledge with practical applications, which can leave the school environment and expand to other spheres of society.

As dynamic methods that rely on investment in technology, it is possible to explore new areas of knowledge, establish richer connections between different concepts and promote easier, more interesting and interdisciplinary learning. Therefore, the school can apply different techniques such as:

  • problem-solving learning;
  • gamification;
  • design thinking;
  • creative learning.

inverted room

In the inverted classroom concept, the objective is to propose a subject in the classroom to be investigated by each student in their own way, following the knowledge applied by the teacher. Thus, each student develops their own interpretation of the content and can expand it by exchanging their findings with peers.

To apply this concept, it is necessary to engage the student in advance to research the subject and bring it to class. Thus, arriving with the knowledge studied, there is space and time to approach it in a more practical way, through activities and debates.

Why Embrace Meaningful Learning?

In a world with more technological resources and different exchanges between students and society, the way of learning also changes and needs to focus on the effective construction of knowledge, and not just on its memorization. Thus, the student can really develop skills and assimilate learning as part of their life.

Furthermore, meaningful learning also offers advantages for students, school, teachers and parents, re-signifying their roles in the teaching process. See some of them below!

Appreciation of all knowledge

In this learning model, no prior knowledge is discarded or devalued. With this, students can feel more comfortable to improve what they already know.

training beyond theory

In the significant model, the teaching spectrum is broader, with the formation of knowledge related to different contents. Interdisciplinarity and the relationship with society are also encouraged.

Updated teaching

Encouraging the practice of meaningful learning is also a way to keep the school up to date. After all, in addition to the proposal to bring new content and propose connections with prior knowledge, there is relevance between teaching and the bridges it can form with the student’s daily life.

most complete student

When the student sees meaning in what they learn, they can feel more motivated in the process. With this, it not only absorbs knowledge, but also makes room for the development of more social, technical and creative skills. Thus, when leaving school, he will have a more complete background to act on different fronts of society.

better relationships

Between student and teacher, meaningful learning proposes a partnership interaction, not one-sided teaching. With this, problems such as lack of interest in the class can be overcome, as young people are also responsible for learning and feel their role through the proposed activities.

Another important point is that, with this independence, other relationships can be redefined in the search for knowledge. For example, between students and their parents.

healthy environment

An indirect consequence of meaningful learning is the creation of a healthier learning environment. As all prior knowledge is valued, students and teachers will respect each person’s different opinions, points of view and personal backgrounds.

Despite having emerged in the 1960s, the concept of meaningful learning could not be more current. In a fast society, with many technological resources available and in which interest in learning can be compromised, it is important that students see meaning in what they learn.

Because it is through meaningful learning that young people will be able to value their cultural background and connect it with new information, in order to receive a more complete and dynamic training.

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