Prior Learning Effects

Principle: Student's prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.

    Students come into our courses with knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes gained in other courses and through daily life. As students bring this knowledge to bear in our classrooms, it influences how they filter and interpret what they are learning. If students’ prior knowledge is robust and accurate and activated at the appropriate time, it provides a strong foundation for building new knowledge. However, when knowledge is inert, insufficient for the task, activated inappropriately, or inaccurate, it can interfere with or impede new learning (Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DiPietro, & Norman, 2010, p.4).

 

 

For more information visit Carnegie Mellon's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Education Innovation

 

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., Lovett, M. C., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.