chapter  3
18 Pages

Meaningful Learning for Empowerment

Meaningful learning results when the learner chooses to relate new information to ideas the learner already knows. Its quality is also dependent upon the conceptual richness of the new material to be learned and the quantity and quality of the organization of the relevant knowledge held by the learner. Rote learning occurs when the learner memorizes new information without relating it to prior knowledge or when learning material that has no relationship to prior knowledge. As will be discussed in the next chapter, creativity is seen as resulting from very high levels of meaningful learning. There is a continuum in learning from “pure” rote to highly meaningful, and Figure 3.1 represents this continuum. Meaningful learning has three requirements:

1. Relevant prior knowledge: That is, the learner must know some information that relates to the new information to be learned in some non-trivial way;

2. Meaningful material: That is, the knowledge to be learned must be relevant to other knowledge and must contain significant concepts and propositions;

3. The learner must choose to learn meaningfully: That is, the learner must consciously and deliberately choose to relate new knowledge to relevant knowledge the learner already knows in some non-trivial way.