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David P. Ausubel was born in 1918

Attended the University of Pennsylvania, taking the pre-
medical course and majoring in Psychology
In 1973 he retired from academic life to devote full time to his
psychiatric practice
His principal interests in psychiatry have been general
psychopathology, ego development, drug addiction, and
forensic psychiatry
In contrast to Bruner, Ausubel believed that people acquire
knowledge primarily through RECEPTION, NOT DISCOVERY.
Meaningful Reception Learnin

 The overarching idea in Ausubel's theory is that knowledge is
organized; that new information is meaningful to the extent that it can be related
(attached, anchored) to what is already known.

 Ausubel stresses meaningful learning, as opposed to rote learning or memorization; and

reception, or received knowledge, rather than discovery learning. (Ausubel did not
contend that discovery learning doesn't work; but rather that it was not efficient.)

 Expository Teaching stresses what is known as Meaningful Verbal Learning –

verbal information, ideas, and relationships among ideas, taken together.

 Rote memorization is not meaningful learning, because material by rote is not

connected with existing knowledge.

 Concepts, principles, and ideas are presented and understood using
REASONING- from general ideas to specific cases.
Advance Organizers

 Ausubel’s strategy always begins with an ADVANCE

 This is an introductory statement broad enough to cover
or include all the information that will follow.
3 Purposes:
 They direct your attention to what is important in the
coming material,
 They highlight relationships among ideas that will be
 They remind you of relevant information you already
Advance Organizers

2 Categories

1. Comparative
2. Expository
 While presenting new material
 Use beginning of lesson
 Presents several encompassing generalizations where
detailed contents will be added later
 In an English class, you might begin a large thematic unit on rites of
passage in literature with a very broad statement of the theme and
why it has been so central in literature—something like, “A central
character coming of age must learn to know himself or
herself, often makes some kind of journey of self-discovery,
and must decide what in the society is to be accepted and
what rejected.”

 Comparative organizers activate (bring into working

memory) already existing schemas.
 They remind you of what you already know
 A comparative advance organizer for a history lesson
on revolutions might be a statement that contrasts
military uprisings with the physical and social changes
involved in the Industrial Revolution; you could also
compare the common aspects of the French, English,
Mexican, Russian, Iranian, and American Revolutions
(Salomon & Perkins, 1989).
Ausubel’s Meaningful Learning
Learning is based on the
Concerned with how students representational,
learn large amounts of superordinate and
meaningful material from combinatorial processes that
verbal/textual presentations in occur during the reception of
learning activities information.

Meaningf ul
R eceptionLearning
eception Learning

Meaningful learning results A primary process in learning is

when new information is subsumption in which new
acquired by linking the new material is related to relevant
information in the learner's own ideas in the existing cognitive
cognitive structure structure on a non-verbatim
basis (previous knowledge)
The Processes of
Meaningful Learning

Derivative subsumption
Correlative subsumption
Superordinate learning
Combinatorial learning
  This describes the situation in which the new information you 
learn is an example of a concept that you have already learned.

PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE : Let's suppose you

have acquired a basic concept such as "tree” – has
green leaves, branches, fruits
You learn about a kind of tree that you have
never seen before “persimmon tree” (an edible
fruit that resembles a large tomato and has very
sweet flesh) - that conforms to your previous
understanding of “tree’’
Your new knowledge of persimmon tree is
attached to the concept of tree , without
substantially altering that concept in any way

This is more "valuable" learning than that of Derivative 
Subsumption, since it enriches the higher-level

•Now, let's suppose that you encounter a

new kind of tree that has red leaves, rather
than green

• In order to accommodate this new information,

you have to alter or extend your concept of tree
to include the possibility of red leaves.

Imagine that you were well acquainted with maples,

oaks, apple trees, etc., but you did not know, until you
were taught, that these were all examples of
deciduous trees.
(of a tree or shrub) shedding its leaves annually.
 In this case, you already knew a lot of examples of the 
concept, but you did not know the concept itself until it was 
taught to you. 

 This is Superordinate Learning (a thing that represents a 
superior order or category within a system of classification).

For example, to teach someone about pollination in

plants, you might relate it to previously acquired
knowledge of how fish eggs are fertilized.

 The first three learning processes all involve new information 
that "attaches" to a hierarchy at a level that is either below or 
above previously acquired knowledge.

  Combinatorial learning is different; it describes a process by 
which the new idea is derived from another idea that is neither 
higher nor lower in the hierarchy, but at the same level (in a 
different, but related, "branch"). 

 You could think of this as learning by analogy.
Principles of
of Ausubel's
Meaningful Reception
Learning Theory
Theory within
within aa
classroom setting

General ideas of a subject (general statement):

 Must be presented first
 then progressively differentiated in terms of detail and

Instructional materials :
 should attempt to integrate new material with previously
presented information
 Using comparisons and cross-referencing of new and old
Principles of
of Ausubel's
Meaningful Reception
Learning Theory
Theory within
within aa
classroom setting

Advance organizers :
 Instructors could incorporate advance organizers when
teaching a new concept

Examples :
 Instructors could use a number of examples and focus
on both similarities and differences.
Instructional Implications

 Ausubel's theory is not particularly in vogue today,

perhaps because he seems to advocate a fairly
passive role for the learner, who receives mainly
verbal instruction that has been arranged so as to
require a minimal amount of "struggle".

 Nevertheless, there are some aspects of his theory

that you might find interesting, can you name some?

Strengths of the Weaknesses of the

model model
Bruner’s Discovery Model
Ausubel’s Expository
Teaching Model