Report on Reports

17. How People Learn... 1999 - National Research Council



Build learning environments with tools of technology

  • Bring real-world problems into classrooms through the use of videos, demonstrations, simulations and Internet connections to concrete data and working scientists
  • Provide “scaffolding” support to augment what learners can do and reason about on their path to understanding. Scaffolding allows learners to participate in complex cognitive performances, such as scientific visualization and model-based learning, that are more difficult or impossible without technical support.
  • Increase opportunities for learners to receive feedback from software tutors, teachers, and peers; to engage in reflection on their own learning processes; and to receive guidance toward progressive revisions that improve their learning and reasoning.
  • Build local and global communities of teachers, administrators, students, parents, and others interested in learning.
  • Expand opportunities for teachers’ learning.
  • Conduct extensive evaluation research through both small-scale studies and large-scale evaluations, to determine the goals, assumptions, and uses of technologies in classrooms and the match or mismatch of these uses with the principles of learning and the transfer of learning.
  • EPILOGUE: Developments from a diverse array of sciences have altered conceptions of learning in fundamental ways. The cumulative knowledge from these sciences delineates the factors that contribute to competencies in reasoning and thinking. The new developments are ready to take learning science another step and focus on processes that promote learning with understanding.


    There is a common fallacy of educational thinking that asserts that a liberal education is synonymous with the humanities. Nothing could be further from the truth. A liberally educated mind is precisely one that has composed itself sufficiently to experience the thrill, the deeply satisfying, rousing excitement, of seeing a mathematical solution move to the same kind of inevitable, economical fulfillment of itself as does a great sonnet; one that can derive the same pleasure from discerning and absorbing the nature of a pattern in matter as in a painting or in market behavior; that can find the same satisfaction in applying the results of technological experimentation as in applying any other kind of knowledge, for the betterment of humankind. The imagination, the capacity to discover or impose a new shape with the mind, is the province of science as much as of any other form of human investigation. And the power of the imagination is finally the energy tapped and transformed by an education.

    – A Free and Ordered Space: The Real World of the University. Bartlett A. Giamatti, 1988.