Meaning of Significant Learning

The significant learning theory was developed by David Ausubel (1918 – 2008), an American psychologist who made important contributions to constructivism. According to Ausubel, meaningful learning arises from the establishment of a relationship between the new knowledge acquired and that which is already available, and a reconstruction of both occurs in the process.

According to DigoPaul, this means that, when a person develops a significant learning process, he modifies the knowledge he had from the acquisition of new information, while simultaneously, this new acquired information also produces changes in previous knowledge.

The key to meaningful learning lies in creating links between new concepts and the previous cognitive structure. For this to be possible, the preceding knowledge must be solid as it will be the basis of cognitive development. If the older data is understood by the subject and can be used by the subject for reinterpretation, meaningful learning can be carried out.

In addition to all that has been exposed so far, it is necessary to know other interesting data about meaningful learning, among which we can highlight the following:
-In it, concepts, representations and propositions play an essential role.
No less relevant are other of its keys that respond to the names of progressive or transfer differentiation.
It is established that for meaningful learning to fulfill its function properly, it requires the teacher to play a key role. Specifically, it must participate very actively in this regard. Exactly it is determined that its principles should be collaborative and critical reflection, integrative didactic knowledge, strategies for solving problems, contemplating content analysis…

It can be affirmed that significant learning requires that the person can apprehend the information, in the sense of “appropriating” it. Memorizing the new content to repeat it is not useful for meaningful learning, since the subject only incorporates the information without processing or interpreting it. In this way, you cannot establish relationships between the new information and the data that were part of its structure.

It must be kept in mind, however, that learning by repetition or memorization may be the starting point for the future development of meaningful learning: one modality does not necessarily cancel the other.

In order to achieve real and effective meaningful learning, it is considered that the teacher must bet on carrying out actions such as these:
-Proceed to carry out the explanations using examples.
-Propose and develop activities whose clear objective is to awaken the interest of their students.
-In the same way, propose actions through which students participate actively and give them the opportunity to argue, debate, exchange positions and ideas…
-Among the most useful tools that the teacher has in this regard, they stand out from summaries to intercalated questions, through graphics and illustrations. However, we must not forget other very useful ones such as maps, diagrams, signs or what conceptual networks are.

Significant Learning