GROUP 6: Angel Li, MJ Munho Park, Tracy Pham, Zahra Rehamani, Jennifer Salgado, Lisa Wang



Definition: Understanding an idea based on past knowledge and socio-cultural experiences, and being able to apply the learning to any situations. Furthermore learning is also understanding the stages of cognitive development. Through the influences and reinforcements of those stages, understanding is achieved. But learning does not equal understanding, internalization must occur internally and adaptation externally for real learning to take place.

“When you truly get an idea, understand a concept, perceive things in a new light or anything that fascinates your mind and sparks flies from your mind as things fall in line and connect and you are physically and mentally amazed.” I drew this picture with the mindset of when an idea is understood and mastered, an individual can understand this concept from multiple points of view. I drew this in order to illustrate what it may feel like when an individual has learned something. With the addition to schemes, the individual now has more tools to understand a broader range of upcoming situations.” — Lisa Wang
“In order to learn and fully understand a concept, many times you are required to obtain certain skills and tools. I believe real learning is being able to incorporate all the skills and methods in an environment to be able to learn and teach something. All children and adults learn differently, some individuals are visual learners while others are hands on. It takes thought and comprehension to grasp on to ideas which is why the incorporate of a light bulb is in place to symbolize different methods of learning.” — Jennifer Salgado
“In my definition of real learning, I placed the learner in the center of the photo. I believed that real learning came from a variety of places, such as from the world, from people/others, society and social norms, from sleep (since it consolidates your memory), from your self and self reflection, from writing, reading, and from asking questions. I believed that these components are where real learning is derived from.” — Tracy Pham
“My definition of real learning at the beginning of this quarter is, as shown in my visual representation, a process that involves listening, reflecting, and teaching. I believed that real learning required not just one, but a group of people, so that knowledge can be and received, understood, and transferred to one another.” — MJ Munho Park
“For my definition of real learning from the first day of class, I drew a pool with kids diving into it to represent the world (sea) of knowledge. The act of diving into the pool physically demonstrates where learning is taking place. As the kids dive into the pool (learning), they are being affected by different components such as environment, language, family, politics and etc. The endless variety of components shapes learning and thus develops the definition of learning.” — Angel Li



E r l w a n g e r : U n d e r s t a n d i n g

ERLWANGER focuses on two concepts — mastery and understanding. Mastery is one’s ability to replicate a process without actually understanding the process and concepts behind it. It is like getting the right answer without knowing how you got there. Understanding is when you get the right answer and you know how you got there. To understand, one recognizes the concepts and processes behind what they learned. They would be able to apply what they learned to other situations.

“Benny’s case indicates that “mastery of content and skill” does not imply understanding.” Erlwanger, pg. 12

IN OUR REPRESENTATION, the person on the left made a loop of paper by cutting it and not using tape. However, the person on the right does not know the technique to do this so they cut pieces of paper and taped them together to make a similar shape. This learner(right) learned how to make the shape, but did not understand how to make it by just using scissors and no tape.

THIS RELATES TO OUR DEFINITION of real learning because… we believe that in order to learn, it is necessary to understand what you are learning and be able to apply it to other situations. From this, it shows that you can apply this learning in other contexts, which shows that you know how and why the concept works. Understanding is the true indication that someone has learned. We believe that this understanding is achieved when the stages of cognitive development are reinforced and learned.


S k i n n e r : B e h a v i o r i s m

Reinforcements, Conditioning, Pavlov

Behavioral learning theories, such as SKINNER’S focus on the ways in which pleasurable or unpleasant consequences change individuals behavior over time and space. Individuals behaviors are conditioned based on these reinforcements-responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative.

  • Positive Reinforcement strengthens a behavior by providing consequences an individual finds rewarding.
  • Negative Reinforcement: The removal of an unpleasant reinforcer can also strengthen the behavior because it stops or removes an unpleasant experience.

“Another way to strengthen a behavior is to have the behavior’s consequence be an escape from an unpleasant situation or a way of preventing something unpleasant from occurring.” Slavin, pg. 133

“This term is often misinterpreted to mean punishment, as in “i negatively reinforced him for being late by having him stay in during recess.” “Reinforcement strengthens behavior, whereas punishment is designed to weaken behavior.” Slavin, pg. 133

Before conditioning
During conditioning

IN OUR REPRESENTATION, we used clay to re-create one of Pavlov’s most famous example of classical conditioning-his studies with dogs. It is important to note that classical conditioning occurs when a conditioned stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus.

Operant conditioning is the strengthening or weakening of a behavior, therefore it differs from classical conditioning.

THIS RELATES TO OUR DEFINITION of real learning because… we are all constantly learning new behaviors and how to modify our existing behavior. Knowledge of success is also important as it motivates future learning. However it is important to vary the type of reinforcement given, so that the behavior is maintained.

After conditioning


P i a g e t : C o g n i t i o n

Schemas, Adaptation Processes, Stages of Development

A progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience. Children construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. Three Basic Components :

→ Schemas

→ Adaptation Processes that enable the transition from one stage to another — Equilibrium, Assimilation, Accommodation.

→ Stages of Development — Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, Formal Operational

If data cannot be made to fit an existing schemes, then more appropriate structures must be developed. We adjust our thinking to fit the new information, instead of adjusting the information to fit our thinking. children demonstrate accommodation when they add the scheme for recognizing raccoons to their other systems for identifying animals.” Woolfolk pg. 46

IN OUR REPRESENTATION we helped connect Organization, Adaptation, Assimilation, Accommodation, Equilibrium, and disequilibrium. The first image portrays the idea of disequilibrium, meaning a lack of balance in the idea of learning and trying to move into equilibrium. The second image we presented focuses more on the idea of organization and adaptation in order to bring together this idea or concept of learning in a way to can work towards assimilation and accommodation in order to progress through this idea of learning. This allows us to understand that thinking is greatly influenced by experiences that help us adjust into new information.

Here. equilibrium is achieved

THIS RELATES TO OUR DEFINITION of real learning because… understanding the different stages that come along with learning is important when trying to fully understand the concept of learning from Piaget’s lens. Children understand certain ideas from schemes and experiences gained from their environment. Even more children adapt to differences to fit new information rather than the way we are thinking. This representation presented focuses on another component related to real learning which is adaptation. Adaptation processes enable the transition from one stage to another. The stages presented here are equilibrium, assimilation, accommodation- all important because they break down one of the main process of learning for children based on the environment they are exposed to and the new information given to them.


V y g o t s k y : S o c i o c u l t u r a l

According to VYGOTSKY, ways of learning and teaching are based on and are specific to one’s culture. In certain situations, the dominant culture of that area can hinder other cultures from expressing their ways of learning. But by examining and learning about those differences, we can understand the things that are obstructing certain groups from performing at the same level as others. This therefore promotes learning all around. In order for instructors to provide the best teaching style possible, understanding all the differences that separate everyone is key. Components that supported the theory :

Culture (Gutierrez-Rogoff) The variations between different groups of people. Often, the dominant groups tends to hinder deeper examination and understanding of the minority groups, thus, preventing one single method of learning and teaching.

Cultural Ways of Learning (Gutierrez-Rogoff) Ways of learning and teaching based on cultural variations. This is based on the situation that minority groups can often be overpowered by the dominant cultural ways of teaching and learning.

Repertoires of Practice (Gutierrez-Rogoff) Different styles of learning based on socio-cultural differences that requires the comprehending of the distinction between process understanding and locating characteristics. By examining the cultural variations, different steps can be taken in different circumstances to help promote learning.

Internalization (VYGOSTKY) The process of understanding and incorporating social norms of different cultures to utilize in learning. The overall process of actually applying in the everyday life.

Zone of Proximal Development (VYGOTSKY) Two levels form the Zone of Proximal Development:

  • Lower level: Child’s independent performance, what the child knows and can do alone.
  • Higher level: the most that the child can reach with help. Also known as the assisted performance.
  • Between the maximally assisted performance and independent performance lies varying degrees of partially assisted performances.

“…properly organized learning results in mental development and sets in motion a variety of development processes that would be impossible apart from learning. Thus, learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human, psychological functions.” Vygotsky, p.90

Unknown artist, Art Building, Design Floor

FOR OUR REPRESENTATION, we chose a photo that demonstrates Vygotsky’s theory that learning and teaching is based on cultures. This photo represents the different parenting styles that are unique to their cultures. The capture of the little girl being carried by a man in the front versus the statue of a woman carrying a child on her back portrays the different perspective of the parenting culture. The child is learning merely through the comparison. This image also shows the gender roles that shapes teaching as well, for example, this image could be saying that some cultures value maternal parenting over paternal parenting and vice versa. Depending on the culture, this image could also be representing the influences that parents want for their children. Some might believe that a child should never have to see the world from behind the parent because it hinders growth of their own, while others might believe that a child should always see the world from up front, facing the same direction as the parent. This is shown through the position that the child is being held by the parent. Overall, this clearly demonstrates that cultural growth, environment, and the experiences they encounter have a lot of impact on how the child learns and will continue to pass on to the next generation.

THIS RELATES TO OUR DEFINITION of real learning because… real learning is based on past knowledge and socio-cultural experiences. Vygotsky points out the differences in culture teaching that limits the way that learning is accepted into a child’s mind. And being able to understand those differences promotes the child’s development and will be able to be flexible and adjust to any situation being set in front of them. This image clearly shows those differences that we need to understand. Even more, it reminds the audience that sometimes the small things parents do, such as the way they carry a child, and the person that is carrying the child, they all have an impact on the way knowledge is absorbed. And being able to internalize the differences will promote the flexibility of a child’s mind.





Final Thoughts

At the beginning of this quarter, we each walked into the classroom with our own definition of learning structured by a various levels of exposure to existing learning theories. As the quarter progressed and we were exposed to various learning theories, their respective theorists and the multiple concepts that came with each theory, we acquired new schemas that can be used at our disposal. These schemes served as tools that allowed us to adapt and assimilate our definitions of learning. Towards the end of the quarter, each of us had solidified our definition of learning, however at this point the definitions were still from an individual point of view. For the purposes of this group portfolio, we came together and discussed our own definitions in attempts to come up with an overarching definition. We extracted ideas from each of our description of learning and compiled them together.

Our final definition of learning is presented at the beginning of our portfolio to showcase what we had achieved through the duration of this course. We then presented what we each thought was the definition of learning, followed by a demonstration of what exposure to various theories did to our definition. Afterwards we discuss each aspect of the theories to show the progression of how we ended up with the definition we have.

Thank you for taking the time to read!