LEARNING OR IMITATION?
According to several researchers, general and specific courses often still give students only passive knowledge that, while easily mastered for the purposes of testing, is rarely transferable to other contexts. This is due to the fact that learning is usually limited to the memorization and retrieval of information, the reproduction and imitation of techniques, or the use of “recipes”. In themselves, these three strategies are necessary, worthwhile forms of learning; in many circumstances, they constitute the essential foundations of more advanced learning outcomes. When they become the ultimate goal of education, however, the import of the knowledge gained is largely diminished. To ensure deeper learning that can be transferred to new situations, we must understand from the outset what distinguishes it from memorization or imitation, as well as the conditions that promote and hinder it. As any reflection of this type requires a choice of perspective, the author begins by discussing obstacles to deep learning in relation to the role of conceptualization in teaching—a vital avenue if educators are to avoid imitation and promote sustainable learning and transferable knowledge.
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