- What is rote learning?
- What is meaningful learning?
- Advantages and disadvantages of rote learning Vs meaningful learning
- Rote learning Vs meaningful learning
- Rote learning Vs meaningful learning-A consensus between the two
If you are a student, then you must be familiar with the term’s rote learning and meaningful learning. Though in practice you must be adopting both modes of learning, you might find one more effective than the other. So, what is rote learning and meaningful learning? What is the difference between the two types of learning?
To understand the difference between rote learning and meaningful learning, one must understand the meaning of the two and the features of the two types of learning. What is rote learning and meaningful learning?
What is Rote Learning?
Rote learning refers to that type of learning that basically involves memorizing concepts. Though some may argue that rote learning does not serve the purpose of education, that is, to learn, we cannot completely write off the need for rote learning in the education system.
Take for example, learning the alphabets or number sequence or even multiplication tables. I am sure everyone can remember learning the tables in a mundane and monotonous manner. If this is rote learning then you cannot totally rid it from the education system.
There are several concepts that require rote learning General knowledge for example usually requires rote learning techniques to master. There is no deep understanding in general knowledge and hence students use rote learning techniques to study general knowledge.
Subjects that can be learnt only through rote learning techniques are usually learnt from the exam point of view. Even formulas in mathematics and science are usually learnt through rote learning.
Also, there are a few concepts where theory does not play a big role and therefore rote learning is enough to cover the concept. Take for example the periodical table. Here, there is no theory. There are a group of twenty elements that need to be learnt. Rote learning is one of the only ways you can learn all the elements on a periodic table.
A research paper published by ResearchGate has enumerated the importance of rote learning amongst students.
What is Meaningful Learning?
As the name suggests, meaningful learning refers to the understanding of concepts in a subject. Here, the technique lies in not memorizing the concept but in understanding the concept and being able to apply it in real life scenarios. Educationists usually promote meaningful learning over rote learning.
Rote Learning Vs Meaningful Learning
When it comes to the question of rote learning Vs meaningful learning -which is better? We have to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both styles of learning. Let’s look at the details.
Advantages of Rote Learning
Able to recall concepts quickly
Through rote learning, students can recall concepts quickly. Studying the capitals of states and countries usually requires rote learning. A student who is asked the capital of a state may be able to recall the answer quickly because of the rote learning method of studying the capitals of the state of the country.
Basis of educational foundation
Some of the basic concepts in education are based on rote learning like alphabets, numbers and multiplication tables. Rote learning is considered the only way to grasp these concepts in the years of education.
Disadvantages of Rote Learning
Non understanding of concepts
One of the disadvantages of rote learning is that students may not understand the concept. Rote learning is basically the memorization of concepts. The concept of understanding the subject does not come into play.
Short term recollection
Some concepts learned through rote learning may be beneficial only from the exam point of view. Long term recollection of these concepts may not be retained in the memory bank of the brain.
On the other hand, meaningful learning requires a deep understanding of concepts. This means, that students are able to understand what they learn and can easily adapt the knowledge to real life concepts. Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of meaningful learning.
Advantages of Meaning Learning
Promotes active learning
Meaningful learning promotes active learning amongst the students. Students who practice meaningful learning are actively involved in the subject. They understand the subject’s core concepts and try to actively use the knowledge they have absorbed.
Able to understand
Through meaningful learning, it is possible to understand the subject. With meaningful learning students can understand easily what they are taught.
Long term recollection
Students who adopt meaningful learning have long term memory power. This is because they have understood the subject and are able to relate it to real life processes.
Disadvantages of Meaningful Learning
Meaningful learning, unlike rote learning, takes a long time to absorb. On the other hand, rote learning is a mechanical system of learning so might take lesser time to learn. Meaningful learning have to understand and therefore may take more time to learn.
Must be custom for every student
Meaningful learning cannot fit all students the same way. The concepts must instruct in different ways for different students to be able to understand. Therefore, meaningful learning must be custom for each student.
Now that we have understood the advantages and disadvantages of rote learning and meaningful learning, we can now decide which one is a better option for students- rote learning Vs meaningful learning
When it comes to rote memorization Vs meaningful learning, educationists often promote meaningful learning because it involves a deep understanding of concepts. When students understand the concept, they are able to dig deeper into the facts and broaden their horizons.
Moreover, when you adopt meaningful learning techniques your brain activity increases and you become involved in the learning process. Unlike rote learning where the learning process is simply mechanical.
Rote Memorization Vs Meaningful Learning – A Consensus Between the Two
From the above, it is evident that the education system cannot rid of one type of learning and adopt only the other. Both types of learning methods require to fulfill the requirements of the education system today.
However, it is also evident that rote learning must include in limits when it comes to meaningful learning. Dividing the two learning concepts is essential in today’s education system. Adopting rote memorization techniques for few concepts and learning the rest through meaningful learning is the way forward.
In fact, an article published by ResearchGate on the important aspects of rote learning which have made it a necessary evil.
Rote Learning Techniques
There are several methods to adopt while trying to adopt rote learning in your study schedule. Some of the ways are:
- Flash cards
- Notes and other similar methods
Meaningful Learning Techniques
Meaningful learning techniques help to achieve in several ways. While some students like practical experiences for meaningful learning, other students require visuals.
While learning, adopting both methods of learning is essential. Try to adopt rote learning for fewer concepts while concentrating more on meaningful learning. Meaningful learning will allow you to retain knowledge longer and help you to use what you have learnt.