“In philosophy, there is no such thing as a noncontroversial definition. However, when it comes to learning, the problem is not with disagreement, but with a lack of debate.” (E. Fridland & A. Strasser, 2012, Philosophy of learning. In N. M. Seel, Ed., Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning, pp. 2615–2621. Springer Link.)
What is learning? How does it happen? Can it be made to happen?
It turns out that these questions have been answered in many, many ways. This site offers a survey of some of the responses that have emerged in the western world, aiming to enable informed debate by highlighting key similarities and differences among discourses on learning, along with their entailments for teaching and research. Designed more as a dictionary than an encyclopedia, the site includes summaries of more than 5000 discourses, subdiscourses, and consequential constructs, providing information on their foci, themes, imagery, and supporting evidence. Brief genealogical details are also included, especially for those discourses with diverse interpretations and/or multiple subdiscourses.
The heart of this site is a “map,” through which convergences and divergences among discourses on learning are highlighted. Our hope is that this composite image might contribute to the advancement of formal education by supporting more informed and critical discussions of learning … and, ultimately, to teaching practices and research emphases that are infused with nuanced and defensible principles of learning.
The site is an evolving form. As new insights into learning emerge, and as we learn more about what is already known, the map and the summaries behind it are revised and updated.