Skip to main content

Learning Cycle

  • 243 Accesses

What is a Learning Cycle?

A learning cycle is a term given to describe a particular sequence of instructional emphases designed to promote conceptual understanding. The word “cycle” refers to the repetition of the emphases or phases of the instructional pattern each time a new concept is introduced. An idea related to learning cycle is the instructional model. An instructional model is another lens for considering learning. Rather than thinking in terms of what is happening directly in the learner’s mind, an instructional model focuses on the actions taking place in a classroom or a sequence of written curriculum materials to promote a certain set of cognitive activities within the learner’s brain to promote the understanding of a key concept.


Although the idea of learning cycles and instructional models is not new, their application and use has increased dramatically since the early 1990s. An historical review of this area shows that learning cycles were part of the discussion...


  • Instructional Material
  • Learning Cycle
  • Instructional Model
  • Invention Phase
  • Development Provider

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  • Bybee RW, Taylor JA, Gardner A, Van Scotter P, Powell JC, Westbrook A, Landes N (2006) The BSCS 5E instructional model: origins and effectiveness. A report prepared for the Office of Science Education, National Institutes of Health. Published at

  • Lawson AE (1995) Science teaching and the development of thinking. Wadsworth, Belmont

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson CD, Taylor JA, Kowalski SM, Carlson J (2010) The relative effects and equity of inquiry-based and commonplace science teaching on students’ knowledge, reasoning and argumentation. J Res Sci Teach 47(3):276–301

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Janet Carlson .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this entry

Cite this entry

Carlson, J. (2014). Learning Cycle. In: Gunstone, R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Science Education. Springer, Dordrecht.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-007-6165-0

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference EducationReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences