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Definition

Alfieri, L. et al. (2011) Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Discovery learning approaches to education have recently come under scrutiny (Tobias & Duffy, 2009), with many studies indicating limitations to discovery learning practices. Therefore, 2 meta-analyses were conducted using a sample of 164 studies: The 1st examined the effects of unassisted discovery learning versus explicit instruction, and the 2nd examined the effects of enhanced and/or assisted discovery versus other types of instruction (e.g., explicit, unassisted discovery). Random effects analyses of 580 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for explicit instruction when compared with unassisted discovery under most conditions (d = –0.38, 95% CI [−.44, −.31]). In contrast, analyses of 360 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for enhanced discovery when compared with other forms of instruction (d = 0.30, 95% CI [.23, .36]). The findings suggest that unassisted discovery does not benefit learners, whereas feedback, worked examples, scaffolding, and elicited explanations do. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
103
Page/s:
1-18
Synonyms:
  • Guided-play
  • Meta-analysis
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
  • Learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Avornyo, E. et al. (2018) The role of play in children’s learning: the perspective of Ghanaian early years stakeholders (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to examine Ghanaian stakeholders’ beliefs about the role and importance of play in early years (3 to 5 years) children’s learning, referred to as play-learning beliefs. A survey design was adopted in order to gather data necessary to examine the differences among stakeholders’ play-learning beliefs. A total of 292 participants completed the survey. Data were collected using a self-developed scale. A preliminary comparison of the mean differences among the stakeholders using ANOVA indicated that the head teachers and teachers perceived play as a form of learning more favourably than the parents. This difference was further explored using cluster analysis to test the hypothesis that stakeholders’ education status is a factor in explaining the group mean differences. Using a two-step cluster analysis in SPSS 24.0, participants were grouped into five distinct clusters, which were most distinguishable by participant status (parent, teacher or head teacher) and their education status – high-educated head teachers, teachers and parents, moderate-educated teachers and low-educated parents. Consistent differences emerged between cluster groups when compared on the scale score. Consistent with the hypothesis, the results suggest education status is associated with stakeholders’ beliefs about the role of play in children’s learning.

Date:
January 2018
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
0
Page/s:
1-16
Keyword/s:
Synonyms:
  • Learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Barnett, W. et al. (2008) Educational effects of the Tools of the Mind curriculum: A randomized trial (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind (Tools) curriculum in improving the education of 3- and 4-year-old children was evaluated by means of a randomized trial. The Tools curriculum, based on the work of Vygotsky, focuses on the development of self-regulation at the same time as teaching literacy and mathematics skills in a way that is socially mediated by peers and teachers and with a focus on play. The control group experienced an established district-created model described as a “balanced literacy curriculum with themes.” Teachers and students were randomly assigned to either treatment or control classrooms. Children (88 Tools and 122 control) were compared on social behavior, language, and literacy growth. The Tools curriculum was found to improve classroom quality and children's executive function as indicated by lower scores on a problem behavior scale. There were indications that Tools also improved children's language development, but these effects were smaller and did not reach conventional levels of statistical significance in multi-level models or after adjustments for multiple comparisons. Our findings indicate that a developmentally appropriate curriculum with a strong emphasis on play can enhance learning and development so as to improve both the social and academic success of young children. Moreover, it is suggested that to the extent child care commonly increases behavior problems this outcome may be reversed through the use of more appropriate curricula that actually enhance self-regulation.

Date:
January 2008
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
23
Page/s:
299-313
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Language
  • Learning
  • Literacy
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s:

BBC, . et al. (2017) PEDAL | BBC Breakfast report on playful writing (Video Recording)

Abstract:

Acting Director of PEDAL Centre, David Whitebread, is interviewed in BBC Breakfast report on playful writing.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic achievement
  • Academic outcomes
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Engagement
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Social-emotional
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bonawitz, E. et al. (2011) The double-edged sword of pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Motivated by computational analyses, we look at how teaching affects exploration and discovery. In Experiment 1, we investigated children’s exploratory play after an adult pedagogically demonstrated a function of a toy, after an interrupted pedagogical demonstration, after a naïve adult demonstrated the function, and at baseline. Preschoolers in the pedagogical condition focused almost exclusively on the target function; by contrast, children in the other conditions explored broadly. In Experiment 2, we show that children restrict their exploration both after direct instruction to themselves and after overhearing direct instruction given to another child; they do not show this constraint after observing direct instruction given to an adult or after observing a non-pedagogical intentional action. We discuss these findings as the result of rational inductive biases. In pedagogical contexts, a teacher’s failure to provide evidence for additional functions provides evidence for their absence; such contexts generalize from child to child (because children are likely to have comparable states of knowledge) but not from adult to child. Thus, pedagogy promotes efficient learning but at a cost: children are less likely to perform potentially irrelevant actions but also less likely to discover novel information.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
120
Page/s:
322-330
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Free play
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Brooker, L. et al. (2014) SAGE Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood (Book)

Abstract:

'This Handbook offers diverse perspectives from scholars across the globe who help us see play in new ways. At the same time the basic nature of play gives a context for us to learn new theoretical frameworks and methods. A real gem!'
- Beth Graue, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, USA

Play and learning scholarship has developed considerably over the last decade, as has the recognition of its importance to children’s learning and development.

Containing chapters from highly respected researchers, whose work has been critical to building knowledge and expertise in the field, this Handbook focuses on examining historical, current and future research issues in play and learning scholarship.

Organized into three sections which consider:

theoretical and philosophical perspectives on play and learning
play in pedagogy, curriculum and assessment
play contexts.

The Handbook's breadth, clarity and rigor will make it essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students, as well as professionals with interest in this dynamic and changing field.

Liz Brooker is Reader in Early Childhood in the Faculty of Children and Learning at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Mindy Blaise is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Early Childhood Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Susan Edwards is Associate Professor in Curriculum and Pedagogy at Australian Catholic University.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Cultural context
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Digital play
  • Learning
  • Outdoor play
  • Physical play
  • Play assessment
  • Playful learning
  • Playfulness
  • Playground
  • Pretend play

Bruce, T. et al. (2008) I made a unicorn. Open-ended play with blocks and simple materials (Report)

Abstract:

Open-ended play with blocks and simple materials

Although children's play just happens spontaneously, it is complex and comes in myriad forms.
One universal type is open-ended play, also known as free-flow play, in which the children themselves determine what to do, how to do it, and what to use. Open-ended means not having a fixed answer; unrestricted; allowing for future change. In the course of such play, children have no fear of doing it wrong since there is no correct method or outcome; and observant adults are privileged with insights into children's development and thinking.

Open-ended play is intrinsic to childhood; children have an impetus to explore and create. When free to experiment with the simplest materials, they find ways to express and develop their thoughts in imaginative play.

Date:
January 2008
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Learning
  • Object play
  • Outdoor play
  • Pretend play
  • Well-being outcomes
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Cole, M. et al. (1978) The Role of Play in Development (Book Section)

Abstract:

The great Russian psychologist L. S. Vygotsky has long been recognized as a pioneer in developmental psychology. But his theory of development has never been well understood in the West. Mind in Society corrects much of this misunderstanding. Carefully edited by a group of outstanding Vygotsky scholars, the book presents a unique selection of Vygotsky's important essays.

Date:
January 1978
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
92-104
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Peers play
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Dignath, C. et al. (2008) How can primary school students learn self-regulated learning strategies most effectively? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Recently, research has increasingly focused on fostering self-regulated learning amongst young children. To consider this trend, this article presents the results of a differentiated meta-analysis of 48 treatment comparisons resulting from 30 articles on enhancing self-regulated learning amongst primary school students. Based on recent models of self-regulated learning, which consider motivational, as well as cognitive, and metacognitive aspects [Boekaerts, M. (1999). Self-regulated learning: Where we are today. International Journal of Educational research, 31(6), 445–457], the effects of self-regulated learning on academic achievement, on cognitive and metacognitive strategy application, as well as on motivation were analyzed. As the results show, self-regulated learning training programmes proved to be effective, even at primary school level. Subsequent analysis tested for the effects of several moderator variables, which consisted of study features and training characteristics. Regarding factors that concern the content of the treatment, the impact of the theoretical background that underlies the intervention was tested, as well as the type of cognitive, metacognitive, or motivational strategy which were instructed, and if group work was used as instruction method. Training context related factors, which were included in the analyses consisted of students’ grade level, the length of the training, if teachers or researchers directed the intervention, as well as the school subject in which context the training took place. Following the results of these analyses, a list with the most effective training characteristics was provided.

Date:
January 2008
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
3
Page/s:
101-129
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Meta-analysis
  • Metacognition
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s:

Esseily, R. et al. (2016) Humour production may enhance observational learning of a new tool-use action in 18-month-old infants (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Many studies have shown that making children laugh enhances certain cognitive capacities such as attention, motivation, perception and/or memory, which in turn enhance learning. However, no study thus far has investigated whether laughing has an effect on learning earlier in infancy. The goal of this study was to see whether using humour with young infants in a demonstration of a complex tool-use task can enhance their learning. Fifty-three 18-month-old infants participated in this study and were included either in a humorous or a control demonstration group. In both groups infants observed an adult using a tool to retrieve an out-of-reach toy. What differed between groups was that in the humorous demonstration group, instead of playing with the toy, the adult threw it on the floor immediately after retrieval. The results show that infants who laughed at the demonstration in the humorous demonstration group reproduced significantly more frequent target actions than infants who did not laugh and those in the control group. This effect is discussed with regard to individual differences in terms of temperament and social capacities as well as positive emotion and dopamine release.

Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
30
Page/s:
817-825
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Humour
  • Learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: