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How do successful professionals learn today? They have the ability and a recognition of the need to engage in intentional learning. How does one learn to learn intentionally. The first obvious challenge in addressing this outcome is the definition of intentional learning itself. What exactly constitutes intentional learning? How can one distinguish someone who is an intentional learner from someone who is not? What are the key attributes of intentional learners?
In their seminal article about intentional learning, Bereiter and Scardamalia (1989) use the term intentional learning to refer to using strategic thinking "processes that have learning as a goal rather than an incidental outcome" (p. 363). They describe successful intentional learning as the expenditure of effort in pursuit of personal cognitive goals, over and above the requirements of tasks when the tasks could be accomplished by far less expenditure of effort. They suggest intentional learning results from persistent constructive problem solving towards innovation and goal attainment.
The American Accounting Association 1 defines intentional learning as a persistent, continual process to acquire, understand, and use a variety of strategies to improve one's ability to attain and apply knowledge. This process is supported by a questioning spirit and a intentional desire to learn. We describe the process as intentional learning, that is, learning with committed self-directed purpose, intending and choosing to learn and how and what to learn. Intentional learning involves five attributes of learning: questioning, organizing, connecting, reflecting, and adapting."
In the report, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College,2 states:
The report also notes:
Three aspects of intentional learning are the (1) decision to engage in committed, persisted learning effort (self-motivation), (2) the ability to apply and manage strategic cognitive efforts to achieve goals (self-direction), and the (3) extent to which the learner takes responsibility for learning autonomously. Intentional learning depends on one's conception of knowledge, how to connect meaning and use that knowledge to act or create, and the learner's perception of the intended task, activity, or instructional situation. Intentional learners choose to be in charge of their learning. In an intentional learning environment, the teacher's role is to mentor or coach and the learner's role is to question, connect, reflect, and apply knowledge to create, act, and achieve.
In addition to Scardamalia and Bereiter, the theoretical basis for the intentional learning derives from diverse contributions by key researchers working in the area of psychological and developmental educational research, including discussions about emotions, intentionality, metacognition, learning and social efficacy, expertise building, holistic thinking, locus of control, persistence, perception, intentional learning, metalearning, conation, cognition, achievement and intrinsic motivation, constructivism, and self-regulated learning (see references): Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1993; Pintrich, 1995; Schraw & Dennison, 1994; Cheng, 1993; Corno, 1993; Flavell, 1992, 1979; McCombs, 1991; Bandura & Wood, 1989; Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1989; Pask, 1989; Snow, 1989; Zimmerman, 1989; Ajzen, 1988; Schmeck, 1988; Weinstein, Goetz, & Alexander, 1988; Brown, 1987; Bandura, 1986; Corno, 1986; Davidson, 1986; Kuhl & Atkinson, 1986; Biggs, 1985; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Glaser, 1984; Kuhl & Blankenship, 1979; Dennett, 1978; Deci, 1975; Weiner, 1972; Tolman, 1932).
Additionally, this research relies on individual difference theory and foundations steming from the neurobiology of learning and memory research, including Zull, 2001; Ledoux, 2002, 1998 and many others. This research particularly emphasizes the fundamental impact of emotions on cognition, learning and living, particularly the human capacity for fear and pleasure and the need for individuals to feel empowered and in control. More info?
It is important to explore effective approaches for helping students become more intentional learners, and ways to create intentional learning environments.
The report Intentional Learning: A Process for Learning to Learn in the Accounting Curriculum describes how most students can be helped to develop the attributes of intentional learning. Accounting professors who want to encourage these attributes should consider the characteristics of their students that either help or hinder the learning process.
Activities for Learning to Learn http://www.aacu-edu.org/meetings/educating/programresources.cfm
Enhancing Critical Thinking http://www.aacu-edu.org/meetings/pdfs/EIL04Stanton%20.pdf
Intentional Learning Orientation (LO) Strategies
What is Learner Autonomy and How Can It Be Fostered? Dimitrios Thanasoulas http://iteslj.org/Articles/Thanasoulas-Autonomy.html
In intentional learning environments, learners are encouraged to exercise greater responsibility for their learning to make learning automatic through practice and feedback. Activity, practice, and feedback is scaffolded as needed to support differences in learning and expected outcomes. Such an environment will foster learners' creative use of metacognitive processes related to holistic thinking, critical thinking, and problem solving and will have application beyond the learning environment.
Martinez, M. (2001). Mass Customization: Designing for Successful Learning. International Journal of Educational Technology. http://smi.curtin.edu.au/ijet/v2n2/martinez/
Intentional Learning: A Process for Learning to Learn in the Accounting Curriculum. Accounting Education Change Commission https://aaahq.org/AECC/intent/index.htm
Knowledge Forum: Today's most successful research teams, businesses, hospitals and classrooms have one thing in common: they know how to transform individual ideas into collective knowledge.http://www.knowledgeforum.com/
Intentional Learning: Experiences from the Field: This appendix includes
some experiences, suggestions and successful practices of accounting faculty
who have attempted curricular change. Most of these example are related
to AECC grant projects or have been shared by readers of this monograph.
Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Greater Expectations National Panel, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College (Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002), http://www.greaterexpectations.org/, pp. 2122.
Ibid., pp. 2223.
Curricula Designed to Meet 21st-Century Expectations by Alma R. Clayton-Pedersen with Nancy O'Neill Association of American Colleges and Universities http://www.educause.edu/CurriculaDesignedtoMeet21st-CenturyExpectations/6065
Educating Intentional Learners: Association of American Colleges and Universities, Conference 2004 http://www.aacu-edu.org/meetings/educating/programresources.cfm
Intentional Learning Bibliography (1998). Center for Positive Practices http://www.positivepractices.com/Intentionality/IntentionalLearning1998.html
Intentional Learning Bibliography (1999). Margaret Martinez http://education.byu.edu/technology/learning_communities/ilbibsources.html
Intentional Learning Orientation Newsletter: http://training.trainingplace.com/newsletter/index.htm
Martinez, M. (2003). Know Thyself: Taking Charge of Your Online Learning. In K. White & J. Baker (Eds.), Student Guide to Successful Online Learning: A Handbook of Tips, Strategies, and Techniques . Boston: Allyn & Bacon, (pp. 65-78).
Martinez, M. (2004). Adaptive Learning: Research Foundations and Practical Applications. In S. Stein, S. and S. Farmer. (Eds.), Connotative Learning. Washington D.C.: IACET.
Resnick, L. (ed.). (1989). Knowing, learning, and instruction: Essays in honor of Robert Glaser. Hillsdale, HJ: Erlbaum.
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