Discourses on Individual Learning in Group Settings

Focus

Exploring and exploiting collective settings and tasks to support individual learning

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … scope of possible actions and interpretations
  • Knowing is … contributing appropriately
  • Learner is … a collaborator
  • Learning is … developing understanding and/or skill
  • Teaching is … supervising, facilitating, guiding

Originated

1960s

Synopsis

Discourses on Individual Learning in Group Settings are concerned with matters of designing tasks, designating roles, and structuring contexts in ways that support the developments of individuals’ conceptual understandings and soft (social) skills. Perhaps the most emblematic instance of Discourses on Individual Learning in Group Settings, a model that incorporates advice and insights from virtually every other discourse in the cluster, is:
  • Engaged Learning (North Central Regional Education Laboratory, 1990s) – a model for teaching that advocates for a focus on learning through multidisciplinary, real-world projects that involve learners with diverse others in all aspects of design, implementation, and assessment
  • Cognitively Guided Instruction (1990s) – a model for teaching based on student knowledge and performance, with a strong emphasis on group process in which learners’ methods and solutions are encouraged over imposed procedures
Because discourses in this cluster are concerned simultaneously with individuality and collectivity, they tend to share many constructs. However, the emphases afforded those constructs vary considerably across discourse – so much so that they can be used to distinguish among discourses:
  • Collectivism – perceiving of the individual as not just a member of a larger group, but as an integral element of a larger whole
  • Individualism – an attitude that emphasizes (and, in more extreme versions, privileges) the individual’s rights, choices, beliefs, and relationships
  • Interpersonal – an adjective applied mainly to interactions (and the communicative and social skills that enable those interactions)
  • Interpersonal Learning Group – an umbrella notion that can be applied to any group that is formed for reasons that include improving self-understanding and social relationships
  • Intersubjective – meaning “between subjectivity,” the adjective Intersubjective applies to situations where multiple individuals share personal experiences and interpretations in ways intended to influence one another’s understandings and attitudes

Commentary

With the rise in prominence of Collectivist Learning Theories since the 1970s, advice to educators has split into two principal streams: Discourses on Individual Learning in Group Settings and Discourses on Learning Collectives. The former cluster is encountered much more frequently in both professional and research literatures – which shouldn’t be surprising, given the popular tendency to conflate “learner” with “individual.”

Subdiscourses:

  • Cognitively Guided Instruction
  • Collectivism
  • Engaged Learning
  • Individualism
  • Interpersonal
  • Interpersonal Learning Group
  • Intersubjective

Map Location



Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2021). “Discourses on Individual Learning in Group Settings” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.


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