I like the MindHacks blog, and I was pleased today to see that the authors wrote about the value of “guided discovery learning” (I, and others, prefer to call it “assisted discovery learning”).
The post makes a fairly accessible case for its use. Unfortunately, however, they make a mistake that I’ve seen in other places — it contrasts “assisted” or “guided” discovery learning (where teachers provide some…guidance or assistance) with what they call “pure discovery,” where students are pretty much left to their own devices.
Really, apart from Sugata Mitra (The Best Posts & Videos About Sugata Mitra & His Education Ideas), are there really many teachers who use this kind of “pure discovery”? It seems to me like a recipe for disaster.
If we’re serious about encouraging the use of more constructivist pedagogy in the classroom, I think we need to be making the contrast with instructional strategies that are more commonly used, like direct instruction. Yes, direct instruction has its place, but it must also be kept in its place.
This post is really just an excuse for me to post previous resources I’ve shared on this topic:
Is This The Most Important Research Study Of The Year? Maybe shares research that favorably compares assisted-discovery learning with direct instruction, though it, too, uses the straw man of unassisted discovery.
And here are some related “Best” lists:
The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”
The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching
The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments….