Theories of learning: Facilitation theory (the humanist approach)

Theories of learning: Facilitation theory (the humanist approach)

Carl Rogers and others have developed the theory of facilitative learning. The basic premise of this theory is that learning will occur by the educator acting as a facilitator, that is by establishing an atmosphere in which learners feel comfortable to consider new ideas and are not threatened by external factors (Laird 1985.)

Other characteristics of this theory include:

  • a belief that human beings have a natural eagerness to learn,
  • there is some resistance to, and unpleasant consequences of, giving up what is currently held to be true,
  • the most significant learning involves changing one’s concept of oneself.

Facilitative teachers are:

  • less protective of their constructs and beliefs than other teachers,
  • more able to listen to learners, especially to their feelings,
  • inclined to pay as much attention to their relationship with learners as to the content of the course,
  • apt to accept feedback, both positive and negative and to use it as constructive insight into themselves and their behaviour.

Learners:

  • are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning,
  • provide much of the input for the learning which occurs through their insights and experiences,
  • are encouraged to consider that the most valuable evaluation is self-evaluation and that learning needs to focus on factors that contribute to solving significant problems or achieving significant results.

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