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Four Stages Of Learning Essay

4420 words - 18 pages



There is a wealth of information, both on the shelves of libraries and on the Internet, which addresses the different learning theories that have been suggested over the past three or four decades. Those most often quoted are Kolb and Gardner. While most theorists disagree, or come from a different approach about learning styles, it is generally accepted that there are basically four stages of learning.

Exposure Stage-The first time a concept (such as long division) is new to us.

Guided Learning Stage-When we still can't do the problems without help. This is where most people get stuck.

Independent Stage-With review, guidance, and hard work, we reach stage 3.

Mastery Stage-Comes with more practice, final goal of education.

Regardless of how a student learns, the stages remain the same. It is up to the instructor and the curriculum content developer to assist a student in getting past the guided learning stage to become an independent learner, thus building on newly gained learning concepts or skills.

It has also been shown through repeated studies that students learn in different ways, or through a combination of different ways, thus supporting Smith and Kolb's learning cycle concept.

Students learn:

10% of what they read

20% of what they hear

30% of what they see

50% of what they see and hear

70% of what they say

90% of what they say and do

Based on what we have learned, we conclude that students need:

a variety of teaching strategies.

a variety of learning paths.

activities that they can read, visualize, hear, say, and do.

instructional guidance leading to independence.

the ability to work on their own with appropriate assessment methods.

appropriate tools and technology for independent and guided study.


As we have already discussed, there is a wealth of information about different learning styles and theories. While many of these theories are methodologies instead of styles, it is difficult to relate one to the other at times. Therefore, I have created a chart that shows the relationships a little more clearly, thus appealing to the visual learner.







use of a video clip, diagram, image or map

identification on maps, diagrams, required drawings or sketches, read and response

mind mapping of concepts (webbing) diagramming, construction of PowerPoint Presentations, readings

reference maps, diagrams, pictures, articles

use of electronic white board, electronic conferencing, chat


lecture, audio clips

sound identification or verbally administered test

projects with audio components, interviews, seminars, giving of reports and speeches, PowerPoint w/ audio component

video or audio clips from a media collection

phone, audio...

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