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Alternative learning theories

Core readings provided in the module pack
Selected pages from Rogers (1994), an article by Northedge (2003) and a chapter by Mezirow (2009).

  • Person-centred learning
    Rogers' (1994) person-centred learning approach is summarised (sometimes also called the student-centred or humanistic approach). His key concepts are outlined: citizen and tourist classrooms; and teaching versus the facilitation of learning. He emphasises the need for realness; trust; empathic understanding and the freedom to learn.

  • Enabling participation
    Northedge (2003) explores critically the student-centred versus teacher-led debate arguing that students require the teacher to engage in three areas: participation in meaning; well-planned design; and participation in academic discourse. He draws particularly from the experience of working with older students.

  • Transformative learning
    Mezirow (2009) provides a summary of the main features of transformative learning theory. Key concepts include: frames of reference; meaning perspectives; critical reflection and participation. He responds to criticisms that have been made of the approach and describes ways in which transformative learning can be linked with other perspectives including constructivist developmental psychology and Jungian psychology.

Integrating theory and practice
Consider the Rogers vs Northedge debate and design a training session in response to this.

Optional extension activities
1/ Read Fry et al. (2003) for a general overview of learning theories.
2/ For other examples of specific approaches, read King (2001) on problem-based learning or Schon (1995) on reflective practice.