Tag Archives: Understanding

Blog of the Week: 27th March 2020 – Making meaning

Making meaning is the core principle in learning, on which all other principles build. Consequently, a lot has been said in education about how meaning making looks like in the classroom, what is meaningful learning, deep processing, transferable knowledge and how to achieve them. And yet it is also an elusive concept: the operational definition of ‘meaning’ is nontrivial and occasionally the importance of meaning is shadowed by other (also important) concepts in learning.

I wish to share here my operational conceptualization of ‘meaning making’, then highlight two instances where meaning is sometimes shadowed: when discussing Cognitive Load and Retrieval Practice, and altogether make the case for why we should consider meaning first.

What is ‘Meaning Making’?

Processing information meaningfully is known as the key factor to remembering learned information for the long-term, as was formulated by Craik and Lockhart (1972) in the …


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Blog of the Week: 15 June 2018 – Is it more important to understand than to know?

Clio et cetera

I read an interesting post by Debra Kidd today about how, in history and other subjects, we should aim not just to know, but also to understand. I have written before about knowledge and understanding, and reading the post made me reflect further on some of the problems associated with trying to make this distinction between what it means ‘to know’ something and ‘to understand’ something. I am going to use this post to explore this a little further, and set out some further thoughts on the matter.

In Debra’s post, she at one point writes about ‘naming’ and ‘understanding’. The following is a quotation:

That they can’t just name rivers and mountains, but that they understand how mankind is at the mercy of our natural environment as much as we are able to control aspects of it. 

Here, ‘naming’ is being used to indicate something basic and simplistic…

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