Learning with Understanding

The aim of many research and implementation efforts in scientific and mathematical education happens to be to promote learning with understanding – moving from an old philosophy of learning to new.

Learning with understanding is enabled when existing, and new knowledge gets structured around the main concepts and principles of the discipline. Textbooks are filled with facts requiring the student to memorize and most of tests’ access students’ ability to remember these facts. For example, when learning about human lungs, student are expected to remember that lungs are the primary organs for respiration, and there are two lungs located near the backbone on either side of the heart.

According to the new science, these facts are important to problem solving and important for thinking but with an emphasis of understanding the facts. Research expertise in areas such as mathematics, history, and science demonstrate that experts’ ability to solve and think depends strongly on a rich body of knowledge about the subject matter (Chi, Feltovich. & Glaser, 1981). According to Garner, & Glaser (1989), learning is facilitated through the use of metacognitive strategies that identify, regulate, and monitor cognitive processes.