What Makes Learning Significant?

As trainers, we want our learners to be motivated and to have a lasting interest in learning. We also want what that everything learned will help the learners cope better in their personal, social and professional lives in the future. To achieve this, learning must be more than short-term knowledge - learning must be significant.

Learning is significant, if it brings some kind of a lasting change that is important in the learner's life even after the course or school. This has been pointed out in research by L. Dee Fink, who has created a taxonomy of significant learning. He explored the ways in which students were most affected by learning. Six categories emerged, which are reflected in his taxonomy of significant learning.

Foundational Knowledge. Learners learn facts, concepts, theories, etc., which are important to understand and remember after the course.

Application. Learners will gain experience in using basic knowledge. These include, for example, critical thinking, solving complex tasks, finding solutions to problems and using the equipment.

Integration. Learners understand the connections between different things. For example, they make connections between ideas, learning experiences, people and different walks of life.

Human Dimension. Learners learn something new and important about themselves and others, such as what is behind the behaviour of others.

Caring. Learners start to care about something in a new and important way when they become interested in certain topics or when something makes them rethink existing values.

Learning How to Learn. Learners learn how to learn both during and after the course. This creates the prerequisites for them to continue learning throughout their lives.

The more categories the learning involves, the more exciting and significant the course for the learners and the greater the joy of teaching for the trainer.



Fink, L. Dee 2016. Designing Courses for More Significant Learning.
Fink, L. Dee 2013. Creating Significant Learning Experiences. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fink, L. Dee 2007. The Power of Course Design to Increase Student Engagement and Learning. Peer Review. 9.




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