Education, study and knowledge

Discovery learning: what it is and how it develops

Each and every one of us undergoes a large number of learnings throughout our lives. And throughout history, institutions such as schools have been generated, which allow part of these knowledge are transmitted to new generations and provide them with tools to develop in the world current.

But the same methodologies have not always been used: there are different ways of learning and teach, some of which are more advantageous than others to achieve and develop the knowledge. One of them is discovery learning, which we are going to talk about throughout this article.

  • Related article: "The 13 types of learning: what are they?"

Learning by discovery

Discovery learning can be understood as a way to obtain knowledge which is characterized by the fact that the acquisition of knowledge is produced by the subject himself. Thus, the information does not come from outside, but it is limited to providing means through which the user himself gets to acquire it.

Thus, part of the establishment of starting hypotheses from which the subject reaches its own conclusions, from self-regulated way and enhancing the investigation itself by being based on the identification of problems to be solved in a active.

It is one of the main ways in which new content can be presented in the structure psychic, allowing it to be the subject himself who generates the learning, assimilates it and shapes it himself same.

This type of learning is much more frequent and useful in the field of science, in which the understanding of knowledge part of discoveries made by the individual himself instead of coming directly from the repetition of information.

His foundations in constructivism

Learning by discovery, advocated by Bruner, part of constructivism, which states that learning depends on the construction of knowledge by learners or students: it is a active and not passive process, in which through processes of assimilation and accommodation of new knowledge the subject acquires the to know.

It is relevant that the knowledge must be significant, that is, that the new information must be able to be linked with previous knowledge and schemes in order to be able to understand them and provide them with a sense. He also pays great attention to the intrapsychic and contextual factors of the educational process, highlighting among the first the intellectual capacities and especially the motivation to learn.

However, although it may seem that discovery learning is necessarily linked to meaningful learning, the truth is that This modality or route only does not imply per se that the learning is significant, in such a way that a correspondence.

And it is possible that significant learning occurs by reception, as long as the information from outside allows the construction of knowledge from the previous schemes through assimilation and accommodation.

  • You may be interested: "What is Constructivism in Psychology?"

The apprentice: an active subject

One of the most relevant elements of discovery learning is that allows the student or apprentice to be an active subject in the construction of knowledge itself, so that you can more easily give meaning to new material and organize it according to your interests and prior knowledge.

It also allows the subject himself to develop the ability to think for himself and critically with him. existing material, in addition to being able to enhance lateral thinking and increase the feeling of self-efficacy to long term. It is also linked to high levels of interest and motivation on the part of the student to learn.

The role of the teacher

Unlike in a more traditional and mechanistic teaching, in which the teacher is a transmitter or source of the knowledge that students receive and from which to acquire information, in discovery learning the role of teacher changes.

In discovery learning, the teacher or teacher acts as a guide that provides the instruments for the subject to develop knowledge himself, instead of acting as a source of knowledge that transmits it to passive recipients.

In this sense, a scaffolding is generated, in such a way that the apprentice builds based on the aids that the professional is providing in a tight way but without ceasing to build knowledge on its own same.

Points in favor of this type of learning

Discovery learning has a number of great advantages over other types of learning. For starters, it's about a type of learning that encourages creativity, as well as the fact of taking advantage of and promoting intrinsic motivation towards learning in such a way that the learner seeks to learn not because of possible external motivators but for the pleasure of learning itself.

It also encourages the student to learn to learn, favoring metacognition and the ability to search for information, synthesize it and be critical of it. It also favors the acquisition of problem solving skills and hypothesis verification search, as well as accepting and learning from mistakes.

In addition, it should be taken into account that this type of learning can be adapted more easily to tastes, desires and capacities of the students, by not focusing so much on one type of knowledge but on those that the subject wishes to explore.

In addition, it makes it easier for the subject to feel more capable and have a more active and creative role in their day-to-day life. It also empowers the subject by making him the protagonist of his learning process, contributing to his greater independence.

Possible downsides

Considering the previous points, it may seem that discovery learning is something always positive and advantageous for development. knowledge, but it also presents a series of disadvantages that make some authors have criticized this type of procedures.

In this sense, it has been suggested that the learning obtained can be positive and useful, but it can be ineffective due to the high difficulty of transferring this type of learning to classrooms with large number of subjects.

On the other hand, the fact of relying on the motivation of the subject can make the discoveries made leave aside material or elements that although they are not palatable to the subject can be useful in the day to day day. It can also make managing frustration with having to do undesirable or interesting tasks more difficult.

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