The Pillars of Learning, Understanding, Studying and Explaining


This paper is based on the hypothesis that intelligent persons have a high capacity to understand and learn effectively, because processes involving study and explanation allow them to develop the capacity to construct a system of coherent models that can be quickly updated. The first part of the paper will highlight the logic and power of systemic understanding and learning that is founded in Systems Thinking. It is clear that understanding and learning represent different mental activities: We understand when we form a coherent model of a concept, but we learn only when that model becomes stable and permanent; when it is memorized so that we can repeat and apply it. There is no learning without studying. For this reason, the second part of the paper proposes ten steps for studying effectively (which permits understanding) and efficiently (using minimum effort). But how do we attain understanding? Often we reach understanding through personal experience; in most cases, however, we are helped by a professor, a teacher or a textbook that provides us with an explanation. The explanation process represents the topic of the third part of the paper, where the author considers the five most important structures of the explanation process—the common, classical, procedural, systemic and teleological structures. In this sense, Understanding, Studying and Explaining can be considered the three pillars on which are based learning and knowledge.

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Mella, P. (2014) The Pillars of Learning, Understanding, Studying and Explaining. Creative Education, 5, 1615-1628. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.517179.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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