Conceptual learning is at the heart of higher education and helps students take what they have learned and apply it as needed.
Conceptual learning model is a new approach that focuses on understanding concepts rather than organizing and distributing data. It is centered on the “why” and the “how”; an essential change in the traditional education system. Remember the saying “practice makes a person perfect”? It is the foundation of conceptual learning.
A great way to do this is to use an audiovisual tool. While a stand-alone audio-video approach is not the solution in itself, it can be a powerful tool in the hands of the teacher. They can use it to effectively explain various concepts. As students continue their higher education, they should be able to apply the knowledge they have acquired. Conceptual learning allows them to take what they have learned and use it to grasp new topics. It helps students and teachers develop a deep understanding of how concepts interact with each other and build a model that will empower them throughout their education and careers.
When conceptual learning is applied to math, students consider descriptions and conditions, while working in a cooperative setting to generate and solve math problems. Teachers encourage students to practice flexible thinking and to see the connections between math and other areas of education. This is different from using procedural math skills. The exercises are incorporated into learning tables, formulas, algorithms, etc.
In science, it is easy for misconceptions to develop and be carried throughout higher education or the professional career. Therefore, identifying these misconceptions early on is critical to developing a conceptual understanding of science.
Conceptual learning encourages future learning. It is built on a solid foundation that nurtures an understanding between various ideas. Thus, a student has to “remember” less. For example, a student who has a conceptual understanding of fractions can easily work with percentages, decimals, ratios, etc. He / she might see them as various representations of the same subject. On the other hand, students who have only procedural knowledge will find it difficult to cope as they have to remember various procedures.
Second, it promotes active engagement. Conceptual understanding requires learners to be actively involved in the process while procedural learning requires the teacher to explain the facts and demonstrate the procedure. The student should then be careful and practice the procedures without clarifying the underlying dynamics. However, with conceptual understanding, the teacher and student play a major role and the teacher offers tasks or challenges that encourage students to build a concept in depth.
The bottom line is that in today’s competitive world, students need to be equipped with knowledge that they can use in their lives on an ongoing basis.
The writer is CEO and co-founder of DUX Education