Perspective Education

Decoding a different kind of learning

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The conceptual learning model is a fresh approach that focuses on understanding concepts rather than just organising and distributing data. It is centred on ‘why’ and ‘how’; a much-needed change in the traditional educational system. Remember the saying “practice makes a person perfect”? That is the foundation of conceptual learning.

One great way to achieve this is through an audio-visual tool. Although a standalone audio-video approach is not the solution on its own, it can be a powerful tool in the hands of the teacher. They can use it to explain various concepts effectively. As students move on to pursue higher education, they must be capable of applying the knowledge they have gained. Conceptual learning enables them to draw from what they have learned and use it to grasp new topics. It helps students and teachers alike to develop a deep understanding of how the concepts inter-relate with each other and build an exemplar that will empower them throughout their education and career.

When conceptual learning is applied to Maths, students take descriptions and conditions into consideration, while working in a cooperative setting to generate and solve mathematical problems. Teachers encourage students to practice flexible thinking and perceive connections between mathematics and other areas of education. This is different from using procedural mathematical skills. The exercises are incorporated into learning tables, formulas, algorithms, and so on.

In Science, it is easy for misconceptions to develop and get carried through the higher education or the career journey. Therefore, it is vital to identify these misconceptions early to develop a conceptual understanding of Science.

Importance

Conceptual learning encourages future learning. It is built on a strong foundation that nurtures an understanding between various ideas. So, a student has to ‘remember’ less. For instance, a student who possesses a conceptual understanding of fractions can work easily on percentages, decimals, ratios, and so on. He/she might see these as varied representations of the same subject. On the other hand, students who only possess procedural knowledge will find it difficult to cope as they have to recall various procedures.

Second, it promotes active engagement. Conceptual understanding requires learners to be actively engaged in the process while procedural learning requires the teacher to explain facts and demonstrate the procedure. The student is then required to pay attention and practice the procedures without clarity about the underlying dynamics. However, with conceptual understanding, both teacher and student play a major role and the teacher offers tasks or challenges that encourages the students to thoroughly build a concept.

The bottom line is that, in today’s competitive world, students need to be equipped with knowledge that they can use in their lives constantly.

The writer is CEO and Co-Founder at DUX Education

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 12:54:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/why-conceptual-learning-is-important-in-higher-education/article33920469.ece

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