A powerful learning environment - Theories
“The human mind seeks meaning in context by searching for relationships that make sense and appear useful. Building upon this understanding, contextual learning theory focuses on the multiple aspects of any learning environment, whether a classroom, a laboratory, a computer lab, or a worksite. It encourages educators to choose and/or design learning environments that incorporate many different forms of experience in working toward the desired learning outcomes. In such an environment, learners discover meaningful relationships between abstract ideas and practical applications in the context of the real world; concepts are internalized through the process of discovering, reinforcing, and relating.”
Contextual learning methodology often works with real-life case studies or real project assignments. This could be the story of a person, a film or documentary, a short text with a description of a situation. This real-life case should describe a specific situation and the solution a person found for this specific situation.
Learners can link this situation – as in biographical learning – to their own experience. However, they are asked to take into account as many as possible “environmental” factors: Where did the situation happen? Who was part of it? What was the main problem or challenges? How was the solution found? Would I have done the same in the same situation?
Keillor and Littlefield (2012) have developed the following list of best practices for “promoting an adult’s readiness to learn.”
- Create a safe, welcoming learning environment
- Create a culture of empathy, respect, approachability, authenticity
- Collaborate on the diagnosis of learning needs
- Collaborate on developing learning objectives and in instructional planning
- Ensure the practicality of all learning activities
Key words: meaning (meanigful) relationships, discovering, reinforcing, real-life case studies
Associated Good practice: View n’ Act
 Quote from: http://cordonline.net/CTLtoolkit/downloads/What%20Is%20Contextual%20Learning.pdf (as of 10.01.2018)
Teaching in the frame of Appreciative Inquiry is more about the relationship between questions asking and learning, and the ways in which the art of the question can elevate the capacity to appreciate.
Key message: How to make “question thinking” a more active part of our research, our change practice, and everyday living
There are five conditions, Rodgers proposes, for such a question thinking approach (dialogue):
- questions that guide a search for the positive;
- whole system;
- relational space; and
- (e) reflection.
Associated Good practice: World Café