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Discovery Learning



I'm looking for some content on Discovery Learning as a concept.  Can someone point me in the right direction please?

Thanks, KS

2 Responses

  1. Discoery Learning v Action Learning

    I am a bit shamefaced to say that I haven’t come across the term ‘Discovery Learning’ before, but a quick google led me to the name Bruner as the originator.  It looks to me like there are some very strong parallels with Action Learning – perhaps Action Learning can be seen as one particular methodology within the remit of Discovery Learning?  If you want any more help/references on Action Learning, I’ll be delighted to provide.  But I’ll leave Discovery Learning recommendations to others who had at least heard of it before today!

  2. Discovery learning

    When I first started teaching law I used to cite legislation and case law, and I’d have to work extra hard to keep people awake, to get them to really remember and understand the law and I had to make my anecdotes spot on to bring it all to life. Then I switched things around. I got people into groups and gave them real cases that had gone to appeal. They had to work together to find the right Acts and Regulations, and to interpret earlier precedents. Once they came to a decision, I got them to compare their decision to the one made in the actual case. The participants loved it. It got them thinking for themselves rather than being spoon fed. They got to debate really tricky issues. They were curious, keen and had fun while learning. They understood things far better as a result and became more self-sufficient. They not only learnt about the particular laws we were exploring but they also learnt alot about the process of arriving at decisions, and they learnt a bit about themselves too (their prejudices, tendancies, strengths and learning styles). This is how I discovered discovery learning.

    In that vein, I’m not sure I should give you an answer, but rather I should help you to find it yourself. There is plenty on the internet about it such as at and

    From a theoretical perspective, the originator is Bruner. But in recent years we have learnt a lot more about cognitive and humanistic learning, so there are a number of dimensions you can explore. For example, discovery learning can happen by chance; it can be informal and unstructured. Google learning might be a form of discovery learning. It can also be used in a training context; facilitating people to work through activities and examples to arrive at a concept or principle (rather than being taught the principle first and then testing it out by examples after). It is often said that we have a stronger ‘ownership’ of the learning we discover rather than that which is merely given to us. It makes the trainer more of an asker of questions and a setter of challenges than a giver of facts. When you do your internet search, try heuristic learning, constructivism and experiential learning as near cousins to discovery learning.

    Once you have discovered more about the principles, then why not try them out.




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