The paper operates mainly based on research question which can be stated as follows: How does learning occur? Depending on the answer, instructional designers and education professionals craft their learning strategies for children and adult learners. …
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The conclusion from this review states that students and scholars in the field of education have numerous questions concerning the essence of learning, its process, effects and implications for children and adult learners. Much has been written and said about the ways in which learning occurs; yet, learning still lacks a single, uniform definition and conceptualization in science. Consequentially, the multitude of instructional and learning strategies continuously increases. On the one hand, “learning is a conceptual and linguistic construction that is widely used in many societies and cultures, but with very different meanings, which are fiercely contested and partly contradictory”. On the other hand, learning encompasses a multitude of concepts, contexts, aspects, factors, and events that are heavily influenced by learners’ personality, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and require that education professionals adjust their strategies to meet the unique needs of infant and adult learners. More often than not, future educators ask questions concerning the process of learning, the role and place of rewards, the nature and criteria of meaningful learning, as well as the role of emotions in successful learning. All these questions are answered in this paper. One of the foundational questions of learning is how to reward students and whether at all it is worth praising and rewarding students for their achievements. Another question is how learning occurs and how rewards relate to the process of learning. Here, the words of Paul Chance, a famous writer and professional psychologist, reflect the true essence of rewards in the context of learning: according to Chance (1992), teaching without extrinsic rewards is the same as asking students to write having their eyes closed. Extrinsic rewards can be extremely motivating, although their use in education is not without controversy. It would be fair to say that rewards should be balanced against the goal of learning and expected outcomes. In other words, rewards benefit learning only when they are used reasonably and economically. Hundreds of studies have demonstrated that the use of rewards has the potential to enhance the quality of all learning processes in the classroom (Chance, 1992). This is particularly the case of extrinsic rewards that come from an external source, for example, grades assigned by the teacher (Chance, 1992). In this sense, learning is a simple sequence of reinforcement and action: the teacher reinforces and redirects learning by telling the student whether or not he (she) has been correct, good, excellent or right (Chance, 1992). At times, even a smile is enough to show that the student is moving in the desired direction and has all chances to meet the predetermined learning outcomes. Yet, the debate over the usefulness and validity of extrinsic rewards continues to persist. Alfred Kohn is, probably, the most famous promoter of no-rewards education among children and adults. Kohn (1992) relies on the premise that rewards cannot reinforce lasting changes in human behaviors and cannot
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