Concept

What is Concept based Learning? Definition and Example

What is concept based learning?

Concept-Based Learning is a teaching method that focuses on the core concepts of a subject area. It uses these key ideas as “building blocks” to construct knowledge, rather than breaking down information into smaller parts.

This article will explain how you can implement this approach in your classroom and provide examples of concept-based activities for students at various grade levels.

What is Concept based learning?

What is Concept based learning?
What is Concept based learning?

Concept-based learning is a pedagogy in which an organizer has the participants study concepts and use it as a basis for discussion. The key value of such learning is that it makes the students think about the concept rather than just memorizing facts and figures. When students understand concepts, they can better connect them to other relevant topics and distinguish between ideas which might seem similar at first glance but actually do not go together. Concept-based learning also provides opportunity to see how certain phenomena and events fit into bigger picture or system or network, this gives insight into their importance, even if those phenomenons or events are too trivial for further investigation.

Benefits of concept based learning:

  1. It is active, not passive learning. Students are asked to discuss what they learned and come up with their own examples for how it works in real life, instead of passively listening to somebody else’s explanations.
  2. It creates opportunities for authentic learning. It makes participants think about concepts they learn rather than memorizing facts and figures. Such approach makes students independent learners with deeper understanding of what they study.
  3. It fosters creativity because it makes participants up with examples that are not obvious at first glance.
  4. It is fun because such learning format allows students to express themselves creatively without imposing too many limitations on them.  For example, after reading through explanations given by a different speaker or writer participants can discuss how a certain concept works using words from their personal experiences rather than just memorizing facts and figures which would be required if they were forced to stick to another person’s explanation.
  5. It gives opportunity for group activities where students work together to find examples that fit into a bigger picture or system or network. This creates opportunities for authentic learning because it makes participants think about concepts they learn rather than memorizing facts and figures. Such approach makes students independent learners with deeper understanding of what they study.
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Examples of using concept-based learning in the classroom:

Examples of using concept-based learning in the classroom
Examples of using concept-based learning in the classroom
  1. If you are teaching students about the future of sustainable development, ask them to think of examples that they consider relevant for study of this concept, also let them know that they can use concepts from any other discipline. This will create opportunities for authentic learning because it makes participants come up with examples on their own rather than just memorizing facts and figures like in traditional classroom setting.
  2. Assign students to study various ways people communicate via social media throughout the history of humanity; let them choose one area (e.g., instant messaging) and explain how it has evolved over time or compare different forms of communication (e.g., letter writing vs email). Then ask them to bring together information they found out about these topics into one big picture, this will create opportunities for authentic learning because it makes them think about concepts rather than memorizing facts and figures.
  3. If you are studying physics or chemistry ask participants to come up with examples of movement (e.g., walking), work (e.g., washing dishes) or heat (e.g., cooking). This will create opportunities for authentic learning because it makes participants come up with examples on their own rather than just memorizing facts and figures like in traditional classroom setting.

Advantages and Disadvantages of concept-based learning:

Advantages:

Active learning

Participants are asked to come up with their own examples for concepts they study rather than passively listening to somebody else’s explanations) and share them in a group discussion.

This makes students more active and engaged during the lesson because it helps them use what they already know about a particular subject, which improves retention of learned material.

Independent learning

Students become independent learners and develop deeper understanding of what they study because it gives them an opportunity to come up with examples on their own rather than just memorizing facts and figures as is often required in traditional classroom setting where all participants listen to one instructor who provides explanations for every question raised by the class as a whole.

Creativity opportunities

It allows students to be creative because everyone is free to find examples in any other discipline rather than sticking with explanations given by somebody else. This creates opportunities for students to explore various concepts they study and broaden their perspectives when it comes to future learning or career choices.

Disadvantages:

More time-consuming

It takes more time than traditional classroom setting where participants just listen to one instructor who provides explanations for every question raised by the class as a whole.

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More work for instructors

Instructors have to create tasks which encourage creative thinking and help participants learn independently. They also need to provide feedback on each group’s products which is often more work than grading assignments with right / wrong answers.

Less structure within groups

Participants spend less time working alone on projects because of increased role of group dynamics. It may lead to poor quality of final product if students don’t listen to each other or do not respect one another’s opinions.

How to use this type of teaching in the classroom

1. Define a concept that you want students to learn and give them time to reflect on it before the actual learning session starts.

2. Split your participants into small groups and let them discuss what they understand about the concept individually, then come together to share their ideas with other members in their groups

3. Give participants time to think of examples for further studies related to the concept but not too obvious at first glance, make sure all participants agree on which example fits into one big picture/ system/network and which does not, this will create opportunities for authentic learning because it makes them think about concepts rather than memorizing facts and figures.

4. Debrief after each group presents its ideas about examples that fit into bigger picture.

5. Get back together in bigger groups and share ideas about what example fits into which network. It will create opportunities for authentic learning because it makes students think about concepts rather than memorizing facts and figures.

The Concept-Based Curriculum Framework

The Concept-Based Curriculum Framework
The Concept-Based Curriculum Framework

The framework has four dimensions:

1. Subject matter: facts and concepts that students need to know (e.g. in science and math)

2. Skills: what students can do with knowledge they obtain (e.g., thinking critically, solving problems, communicating effectively, working collaboratively)

3. Attitudes: why it is important for them to learn (e.g., responsibility, diligence, independence, integrity)

4. Learner characteristics: who they are as learners and how we help them be successful (e.g., self-awareness and social awareness; motivation and self-regulation; independence and integrative thinking).

Concept-Based Curriculum and Other Pedagogies

There is a myth that concept-based learning is not as effective as other pedagogies such as inquiry learning or problem based learning. These misconceptions should be removed because there are more benefits that come with this type of teaching in the classroom.

1. It encourages students to think about important topics and gives them enough time to reflect on what they already know about it before new knowledge comes into play

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2. Students gain valuable skills which will help them further study different disciplines without teachers having to spend more time explaining concepts of physics, chemistry or biology for example

3. Participants have an opportunity to engage in active learning where instead of listening only, they take part in generating content through group work which helps them stay focused throughout the whole class hour

4. If done right, it creates a space for authentic learning where students apply knowledge they obtain to real life situations and this helps them understand the subject matter better

5. It enables teachers to design assessments that are inquiry-based instead of multiple choice tests which is more beneficial because it makes students think critically about concepts instead of memorizing facts and figures

6. Concept-based curriculum can be used as a tool to improve grades from traditional forms of teaching because most students tend to score higher on exams when they receive physical and visual stimuli while answering questions.

Where else would you find such type of stimuli except in concept-based learning?

Who should be doing more research on this topic and why they are qualified for that job ‍

Educational researchers are the ones who have to do more research on concept-based learning. They should conduct more studies about this type of teaching in the classroom and how it affects students’ engagement, motivation to learn, academic achievement level in general. They also have to figure out why teachers continue using traditional forms of instruction when there are many benefits that come with concept-based learning.

FAQ about What is Concept based learning?

1.What do you mean by concept based learning?

Concept based learning refers to the linking of concepts in a systematic way . It is about using related concepts or themes to help you understand new topics that are being studied.

2.What is the difference between concept learning vs content learning?

Concept-based learning focuses on the concepts and frameworks that help students understand various topics. It requires students to go beyond memorising facts and rote learning to apply what they have learned in different contexts. Content learning goes into depth about a topic, exploring its key concepts and principles.

3.What is IB concept based learning?

IB learner profile describes how students should be able to “identify and explain concepts, principles, theories and views from different disciplines”

Concept-based teaching is an approach to curriculum design that emphasizes the development of conceptual understanding. It has been shown to promote higher levels of engagement and motivation, as well as improved learning outcomes than traditional approaches. If your child’s school doesn’t currently use concept based methods, you might want to ask about it!

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