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Learning Approaches

Page history last edited by Dan Gilbert 10 years, 7 months ago

Learning Approaches Table


This table is a snapshot of our collective intelligence and experience. We are NOT going to do additional reading about learning as a class. Instead, we are going to use our collected experiences as a starting point to ground our designs in learning theory. The final product will be a resource for our entire class and for others as they think about the intersection of learning, design, and space.


Please add an idea about learning from your experience so far at Stanford that will support our work this quarter. One way to start is to answer, "What is the most interesting article or idea about learning you have come across in your time at Stanford?"


Advocate/ Author and citation when possible

Description about Learning

Ideas/implications for Space

Name and Date

"Zone of Proximal Development"

Lev Vygotsky;

Vygotsky, L.V. Mind in Society: the development of higher psychological processes. edited by Michael Cole, et. al. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1978

- zone between what learners are capable of independently and where they can get to with scaffolding >

- design spaces that encourage/force collaboration among learners at different levels

- create opportunities for personalized scaffolding to be a part of the environment (take advantage of mobile phones and GPS?)

Dan Gilbert; Feb. 3 2008
"When Smart Groups Fail"

Brigid Barron;


-the success of group problem solving depends more on the ways in which members respond to eachother's ideas than on individuals' prior acheivement or suggestion of correct ideas-

learning spaces should allow collaborators to to share attention on a particular task (round tables vs facing forward?)

- encourage building on eachothers ideas.

Rolf Steier

April 4th 2008

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Jung, C. G. (1971). Psychological types (Collected works of C. G. Jung, volume 6). (3rd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Georgia State University; GSU Master Teacher Program: On Learning Styles. Retrieved December 20, 2004.

Provides a framework for understanding various individual learning styles Useful as a tool to brainstorm learning approaches that will appeal to different MBTI learning styles and which may inherently differ from your own Annie Adams, April 4th, 2008
Backwards Design

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding By Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. pp. 7-19,





Effective curriculum design starts with the end in mind: first establish Enduring Understandings ("take aways" from a course), then craft assessments to measure EUs, and finally design learning activities to lead up to assessments. When designing learning spaces, begin with the end in mind: first consider what ultimate learning or "take away" is desired. Then consider how to build a space that will support that learning goal. Carrie Cai, April 4th, 2008
"Auto education" Montessori, M. (1914). Spontaneous Activity in Education. New York: Schocken Books. -Children expand their innate interest and construct their own knowledge in the process of self-learning

-An effective learning space offers children freedom to explore


-Create a learning environment where children are given choices of appropriate objects and stimuli in a properly organized milieu

Lynn Powers, April 5th, 2008
"Intent participation" Rogoff, B., et al. (2003). Firsthand Learning Through Intent Participation. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 175-203. Children learn effectively through collaborative participation and easily gain motivation when they understand the purpose of the activity.

Learning space should 1)encourage learners to participate in shared activities and interact with other people

2) be a hub to connect learners' knowledge to their real life settings.

Lin Hur, April 7th, 2008
Recipe for creative design Otto, K. and Wood, K., Product Design: Techniques in Reverse Engineering and New Product Development. New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 2001. Anyone can be a creative designer by following these guidelines. Suggests things to think about to trigger creativity in designing spaces. Also includes a set of guidelines that help determine the success of one space design over another. Sarah; April 7, 2008
Reciprocal Teaching

Brown,A.L., (1994). The Advancement of Learning. Educational Researcher, Vol.23, No.8. (Nov.,1994), pp.4-12.

One of the instructional activities that is conducted by between teacher and studnets

or among students by using the process of summarizing, question generating,

claryfying, predicting.

Learning space should encourage reciprocal collaboration among students. Learning space should be the environment which learners actively involve themselves.

Hiroshi Sasaki, April 8, 2008
Learning from experiences Dewey, J. (1963). Experience and Education. New York: Collier. The primary responsibility of teachers is that they not only be aware of the general principle of actual experience by environing conditions, but also recognize what surroundings are conducive to having experiences that lead to growth. Learning spaces should help teachers recognize what surroundings can encourage students to share their experiences with others and create the opportunities for students to build experiences. Tuan-Ni (Annie) Lien, April 8, 2008
The Different Realms of Human Experience and Multiple Intelligences Nair, Prakash and Randall Fielding (2007). The Language of School Design. India: Designshare.com. Looking at the four realms of human experience (spatial, psychological, physiological and behvioral), as well as multiple intelligences helps shed light on the complexity of how people learn.

Designing learning spaces that address the four realms of human experience and multiple intelligences may have the ability to improve learning for all students.

See attached for a book critique.

Book Critique.doc

Whitney Birdwell, April 9, 2008
Linguistic diversity in multicultural classrooms&

Affirming diversity: implication for teachers

Nieto, S. (2003). Affirming diversity:

The sociopolitical context of multicultural education. NY:


discusses the idea of many students from different

backgrounds/ideologies finding and expressing their distinct voices in

the classroom and learning from others' voices

Designing learning spaces with attention to the

importance of individual expression, validation of that expression,

and learning opportunities that arise from that expression. Also,

recognition that learning takes place more readily if the

concepts/spaces are more relevant to students' experiences

Tirzah, April 10
The association of ideas William James ;Talks to teachers on psychology and to students on some of life’s ideas; Dover Publications ,INC. Mineola, NY. 1962 Any object not interesting in itself may become interesting through becoming associated with an object in which an interest already exists. When people learn a concept in classes, they might hardly find it is interesting because of dry curricula and teaching methods. But informal learning spaces such as museums, theatres, and so forth can usually create much more fun and excitement than traditional classroom settings resulting from their relaxed learning atmosphere and diverse teaching methods. Designers should take good advantage of them and have students gain enthusiasm in their studies by helping them associate interesting objects, memories of learning taken place in informal learning spaces, whenever they need. Evelyn Kung, April 9th2008
Teaching for Understanding & Performances of Understanding

David Perkins & Howard Gardner

Blythe, T., & Associates. (1998). The teaching for understanding guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

The goal of educators should be students understanding rather than learning subject matter.

Assessments should be performances that demonstrate understanding.

Consider the questions: What understanding do we want students to develop in a space? How does the space encourage understanding rather than learning? How does the space allow for performances of understanding--doing rather than telling. Andrew Davis (4/10)
Teaching toward different learning intelilgences Gardner, Howard E. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books. New York: 1983. Learners have individual combinations of intelligences and the challenges to education is taking advantage of these (linguistic; logical-mathematical; musical; bodily-kinesthetic; spacial; interpersonal; intrapersonal) The learning space holds the power to utilize learners' intelligences not only by creating a comfortable visual and spatial presentation conducive to learning, but also by strategically forcing learners to use more than I learning capacity Barnard Palmer, 10 april 2008
Socio-Cultural Learning

Vygotsky, L S. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Harvard University Press; Cambridge, MA: 1978.

Sociocultural learning emphasizes that cognitive development depends on social interaction with other people and cultural tools like language.

- design spaces that promote social interaction with peers and more knowledgeable people

- design spaces that entail social, cultural, contextual understanding


Hannah Cho, 10 Aapril 08
Subtractive schooling vs. Addative schooling Valenzuela, Angela. (1999) Subtractive Schooling, U.S.- Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring. State University of New York Press. Albany, NY. The book focuses on subtractive schooling but the last chapter focuses on addative schooling - where culture and past experiences are respected and built on rather than pushed to the side

This book brings our attention to the nature of how students are treated in different areas. And calls our attention to utilizing youth experience in how we design space. Is it conducive to the population we are trying to affect?

Paitra 4/10/08
Emotional Design Norman, Donald A. (2004) Emotional Design: Why we love or hate everyday things. Basic Books. New York, NY. This book focuses on the important emotional aspects of things designed--both products and spaces--and the powerful impact that emotions have on the actual performance of the product or space This is a good reminder as we embark on an exploration of designing learning spaces to consider the emotional responses elicited by a space as well.

Dave Haynie



Design Schön, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books. This work talks about design and how designers often are disconnected from the audience they are designing for. In designing a space, it is critical to think of the target audience and how the space fits the audience and available resources.

Neha Kumar



Scaffolding Bruner, J. (1975). From communication to language: A psychological perspective. Cognition, 3(255-289). Proposal that with scaffolding, the learner can give a masterful performance that they would be unable to deliver independently. To design effective learning spaces, one should keep in mind what kinds of scaffolding learners need in order to be able to give masterful performances. Dana Nelson, 4/11/08
Legitimate Peripherial Participation Lave, J. Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press One idea in LLP: Learning (and how learning is measured) is inherently a social process. Participation is structured by power relations. Inclusion of perviously unheard voices can destabilize these structures. The design of learning spaces allows for certain types of participation and excludes others. If you want to design learning spaces that upset power relations, you must reinvent what the the architecture of the classroom says about expected modes of participation.

Jim Ratcliffe


"Math-Talk" Learning Communities Hufferd-Ackles, D., Fuson, K.C., & Sherin, M.G. (2004). Describing Levels and Components of a Math-Talk Learning Comminity. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 35(2), 81-116. The authors describe a "math-talk" learning community as, "a classroom community in which the teacher and students use discourse to support the mathematical learning of all participants. I have some videos of this, and even under the best circumstances, it's easier said than done. For example, something as simple as where students are sitting can effect the way in which they participate.

Scott Ullman


Learning through exploration/discovery Montessori, M. (1914). Spontaneous Activity in Education. New York, Schocken Books. Montessori investigates the natural tendency of children to explore and discover the world around them. She was amazed at how children's attention could become so transfixed on this exploration. She thus proposed that "the secret of free development of the child consists, therefore, in organizing for him the means necessary for his internal nourishment, means corresponding to a primitive impulse of the child..." (70). Effective learning spaces are thus those that are designed to promote exploratory and individualized learning. Instead of focusing on reordering the child, the learning space organization is key to education for Montessori. Claudia Jimenez, 4/11/08
Social Identity Theory

Padilla, A. M. (2008). Social cognition, ethnic identity, and ethnic specific strategies for coping with threat due to prejudice and discrimination. In C. Willis-Esqueda (Ed.), Motivational aspects of prejudice and racism (pp. 7- 42). New York: Springer.

Addresses the notion of social cognition, "how ordinary people think about people and how they think they think about people." Key idea is that societal structures (ex groups, organziations, cultures) significantly guide cognitive structures and processes Schools and other learning spaces are diverse environments and should take into consideration cultural/ethnic differences in order to provide linguistic and visual symbols that reach a wide variety of learners Jessie Arora, 4.11.08
The SIOP Model Echevarria, J., Vogt, M, & Short, D., (2003). Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP Model, (2nd edition). Boston: Pearson. Pp. 21-33. -This article talks about strategies teachers can use to support the language development of English learners in their classrooms (i.e. visuals, multimedia, demonstrations, adapted text, etc.). Advice is grouped under the following topics: content objectives, language objectives, content concepts, supplementary materials, adaptation of content, and meaningful activities. Learning spacess should adopt many of the principles in this article so that they may reach out more effectively to both native English speakers and English learners.

Ashley Baker



Understanding everyday objects Schön, D. , Bamberger, J. (1983). Learning as Reflective Conversation with Materials: Notes from Work in Progress, Art Education, Vol. 36, No. 2, Art and the Mind (Mar., 1983), pp. 68-73 This paper talks about how through experimentation people can gain insight into their own tacit assumptions that they had previously taken to be given in the materials around them. Schon and Bamberger give the example of discovering the composition of a doorbell by freely exploring with different notes and gaining insight to something that is seen but not thought about in everyday life. In designing space, it is really important to find ways to make people look at everyday objects in a different way and help them gain insight into things they see in their everyday life but never stop and think about.

Nesra Yannier







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