Paul Ausubel was the creator of this theory, in which he describes that students manage to relate the new information with the one they already possessed, giving it a more complete meaning.
When they teach us something, we need to understand it clearly. In this way, the new data will be able to complement such information (previous experiences), in order to give it greater meaning. It is this link (between old and new information) that forms meaningful learning.
In other words, it is the cognitive change that exists when all the information collected has an important meaning for us, when we know the “why” . One of its characteristics is that it is not volatile information; what we have learned will stay with us permanently or at least for a long time.
When someone learns something with meaning, they are more likely to be able to transfer that information to other people, quite the opposite of learning mechanically. That is why in many schools Paul Ausubel’s theory is used.
There are several factors linked to students that influence meaningful learning:
- The content of the information
- Actual needs
- Problems faced by the student
- The environment in which it operates
Examples of meaningful learning
- Problem-based learning
- Learning based on the analysis and discussion of cases
- Use research projects
- Time lines
- Interleaved questions
- Conceptual maps
- Tables C-1-A
- Summary tables
- Guided discussions
- Set objectives
An example of what these meaningful learning tactics can accomplish is that children going to the zoo will be able to see an animal and quickly relate it to school lessons, where the teacher showed them what some animals looked like and what their sounds were.
Another example may be when we must solve day-to-day situations in which it is necessary to put into practice mathematical operations that we thought we would never use.
It is also a case of significant learning when we manage to solve our own problem according to the experience that others have told us or in which we have had some direct or indirect participation.
Signs are also a case of significant learning. Many people manage to understand what the main or all traffic or caution signs mean, they were able to prevent inconvenience.