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The concept of situated learning was first presented in the 1990s, and marks a dramatic shift in traditional teaching and learning styles. The pioneers of this concept argued that learning is more than just the transmission of information from one individual to another; it is instead a social process whereby individuals learn from one another and the environment they are in.
Situated learning is not an educational theory per se; it is more of a pedagogical strategy. It deals less with the theories behind the concept of education and more with the strategies implemented in the classroom environment. Situated learning occurs most frequently in the hands-on environment, places where students can apply facts and principles discussed in the classroom to real-world situations. Integrating kitchens and greenhouses into the educational environment, for example, can allow students to more effectively understand the concepts of boiling, freezing, and photosynthesis.
Field trips to locations where students can be actively involved in the learning process can also be indicative of situated learning. Pseudo-archaeological digs, instances of living history, and interactive museums are perfect examples of situated learning. As students mature, they can engage in internships, cooperative education, and professional workshops to apply the principles they focus on in the classroom and to pave the way for their own professional development in the years to come.