The Meaning of Learning

  • Steven HodgeEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


Educators are guided in their work by more or less explicit theories of learning, which researchers have put considerable effort into constructing. Heidegger’s challenge to education is thus an opportunity to critically reflect on theories of learning. Heidegger’s philosophy suggests that human beings are prone to entanglement in the complexities of intellectual traditions and the distractions of contemporary life. But he also suggests ways in which human beings can disentangle themselves. Two basic concepts of learning are thus implied: the process of developing knowledge and skills in the everyday world (learning as entanglement), and learning as a critical reflection on and movement beyond all that is traditionally taken to be true by society (learning as disentanglement). In the light of these concepts and Heidegger’s broader philosophy of human being, it is possible to analyse existing theories of learning. The chapter briefly examines key learning theories including behaviourism, cognitive theory, situated learning, and humanistic theory, highlighting ways in which each falls short of a full engagement with the picture of the human learner as it emerges from Heidegger’s philosophy.


Learning theory Behaviourism Cognitive learning theory Situated learning Informal learning Workplace learning Transformative learning 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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