Kirschner et al ‘Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: an analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based learning’, Educational Psychologist, 41 (2), pp. 75-86

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This article does exactly what it says on the tin.  It is a clear, concise warning against providing students with only minimal guidance.  Kirschner et al use the evidence from a variety of studies to argue that for teaching to be successful, it needs to take into account ‘human cognitive architecture’, by which they mean the way our brains are wired and, thus, how we learn.  Central to our learning, they argue, is our long term memory: ‘Everything we see, hear, and think about is critically dependent on and influenced by our long term memory.’   Indeed, they define learning as ‘a change in long term memory’.

Why is our long term memory so important?  Primarily because our working memory is limited.  Our working memory is the bit of our brain in which we consciously process information, and it is not very efficient.  Almost all information processed by our working memory…

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