Bransford, Derry, Berliner, & Hammerness Theories of Learning and Their Roles in Teaching

Bransford, J., Derry, S., Berliner, D., & Hammerness, K. (2005).  Theories of learning and their roles in teaching. In Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do (pp. 40-87). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Overall Summary:

            This chapter explores a framework about how people learn (HPL Framework). It addresses the nature of learning dealing with knowledge centeredness, learner centeredness, community centeredness, and assessment centeredness. All four components should be balanced in order to maximize the learning experience for students. Understanding learning theory is essential in improving education. It provides a rationale for teacher candidate education.


Chapter 2: Theories of Learning and Their Roles in Teaching


  • When students don’t perform as teachers expect, the teachers often feel stunned. After all, they often feel that great time, effort, and care was put into lessons and are mystified when students do not demonstrate their learning as expected on assessments.
  • The Nature of Human Learning

    • Assumptions we make:

      • What knowledge and skills are important for learning (assumptions about knowledge)
      • How well the learner can learn and why (assumptions about learners)
      • How effective our lessons will be (assumptions about teaching)
      • What kinds of environments are conducive for learning/enhance learning (community – centeredness)
      • What assessments are appropriate to measure learning (assessment – centeredness)
  • These assumptions are often tacit (unconscious) and are often unexamined. “By making tacit theories explicit, people can think more critically about them (page 41).”


The How People Learn Framework as a Way to Organize Thinking

  • Knowledge – Centeredness

    • Learning involves knowledge
    • The issues are important but not as obvious as others[cp1]
  • Understanding the Nature of Expertise
  • Novices and veterans observe differently. Novices tend to focus on superficial aspects.
  • An Illustration of Expertise and Remembering

    • “People’s expertise in an area affects their ability to remember and solve problems (National Research Council, 2000 as referenced on p.43).”
    • “The degree to which a memory task fits our current levels of expertise can have strong effects on the amount of effort needed for processing (p.43).”
  • Experts’ knowledge is like a thick web – facts are connected and organized around knowledge of their discipline (the center of the web).
  • Expertise and Knowledge Organization

 [cp1]Are they camouflaged?