CONCLUSION: Five themes but no grand theories
What conclusions can be drawn from these studies of various aspects of learning? Nothing like a theory about how learning takes place has appeared, for there is nothing in the studies to suggest that we are anywhere near, or could be anywhere near, such a theory. Grand empirical theory-building, as is attempted by cognitivism and developmentalism, rests upon sandy foundations which, as we saw in Chapters 6 and 7, cannot carry any theoretical or empirical weight. So one theme that has emerged is the uselessness of grand theories of learning, especially when they are underpinned, as they invariably are, by faulty epistemological premises. This is not to say that local theories may not emerge about particular aspects of learning that are based on evidence and that are sensitive to the cultural context in which learning takes place.