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This book offers an introduction to how the brain learns, both physiologically and cognitively. Knowledge from neuroscience and cognitive psychology is tied in with the theoretical foundation of education today, namely constructivism, to expand on this theory. Arguments are put forth that knowledge of the brain strongly supports the basic tenet of constructivism, namely that each individual constructs his or her own knowledge. Details of the construction process are discussed, including the challenges of dealing with our severely limited capacity to consciously process information and the importance of the quality of how, not just that, knowledge is permanently stored. Armed with theory, the direct instruction vs. discovery learning debate is used as an example to illustrate the value of combining knowledge from such disparate fields to gain deeper insight. In short, it is argued that the chasm between the two camps is not as wide as it may appear.
The book also contains a brief discussion of knowledge itself: the what, as opposed to the how, of learning. This sets the scene for a concluding critical reflection on the field of Physics Education Research, as a specific example of one area of Education Research, in light of the issues discussed.
Content Level »Research
Keywords »cognitive psychology - constructivism - direct instruction - discovery learning - knowledge construction - neuroscience
1 Delving into a complex system. 2 Knowledge. 2.1 Epistemology. 2.2 Types of knowledge – Bloom’s revised taxonomy. 2.3 Knowledge in physics. 3 Neuroscience. 3.1 Definitions. 3.2 Implicit memory. 3.3 Explicit memory. 3.3.1 Sensory input and attention. 3.3.2 Encoding. 3.3.3 Memory consolidation. 3.3.4 Memory storage. 3.3.5 Recall 3.4 Neuroscientific teaching. 4 Cognitive psychology. 4.1 Attention. 4.2 Working memory. 4.2.1 Cognitive load theory. 4.3 Long-term memory. 4.3.1 Concepts. 4.3.2 Schema theory. 4.3.3 Sweller’s cognitive architecture. 5 Constructivism. 5.1 The transmission myth. 5.2 Different perspectives within constructivism. 5.3 Personal constructivism. 5.3.1 Piagetian constructivism. 5.3.2 Radical constructivism. 5.4 Social constructivism. 5.4.1 Social constructivism in science. 5.4.2 Sociocultural constructivism. 5.4.3 Postmodern constructivism. 5.5 Compare and align: Do they really disagree? 6 Theory into practice. 6.1 Direct instruction vs. discovery learning – the great debate. 6.2 The individual 6.2.1 Novices vs. experts. 6.2.2 The journey from novice to expert. 6.2.3 The Model of Domain Learning. 6.2.4 Instructional design. 6.3 The social 7 A reflection on the fields of Physics and Education.