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Changing Conceptions of Learning: A Century of Progress in the Scientific Study of Education


by Richard E. Mayer — 2001

The purpose of this chapter is to review changes in the conception of learning in education as discussed in the pages of the NSSE Yearbooks and related NSSE volumes throughout the twentieth century. In particular this chapter explores historical themes concerning changes in the conception of (a) the importance of learning theory in the study of education, (b) the definition of learning, (c) the process of learning, (d) the relation between psychological theory and educational practice, (e) the generality of learning theories, (f) the nature of individual differences in learning, (g) the nature of assessment of learning, (h) the motivational context of learning, (i) the biological context of learning, and (j) the social context of learning. For purposes of analyzing changes in each of these dimensions, I divided the twentieth century into three rough segments—early (consisting of the first few decades), middle (consisting of the middle few decades), and late (consisting of the final few decades).


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 100, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 7, 2001, p. 34-75
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18674, Date Accessed: 12/17/2017 6:31:13 PM

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About the Author
  • Richard Mayer
    University of California, Santa Barbara
    E-mail Author
    RICHARD E. MAYER is Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara.
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