Students today are exposed to a volume of information and educational practices. Every student learns and processes information differently, depending on the situation. Many teaching methods have assisted in tackling problems in the learning process. Using teaching methods boosts academic performance and promotes fair learning. In 1956, psychologist Jerome Bruner introduced his research on the Concept Attainment Model (CAM). The model suggests that students learn better by drawing their conclusions. Moreover, the model is part of the inductive teaching method.
This article will address Jarome Burner’s Concept Attainment Model and its effectiveness in teaching today. Furthermore, this article will provide a structured example of the model. Lastly, this article will demonstrate that the model benefits educational technology.
What is the Concept Attainment Model?
The world consists of numerous objects, events, and ideas that are not easily defined. It is easier to describe such features accurately if we arrange them in groups. Bruner’s Concept Attainment Model is a method that can determine and develop concepts. Such concepts ignore unnecessary information and focus on commonalities. Students learn more effectively when several elements exist in groups. The model advises students to identify the characteristics of a concept. Then they should define the categories to which the various pieces of information belong. Also, the students work through examples of contrasting elements. This procedure helps them understand why particular elements do not belong together. Students use comparison and contrast techniques to identify commonalities. After this, the students put the common elements into groups. Further, they collaborate on why certain information does not belong together.
Why choose the Concept Attainment Model?
Conceptual learning assists students in developing their ability to think critically and solve problems. Compare and contrast techniques enhance students’ vocabulary and reading comprehension. Thus, developing concepts aids effective learning and skill development. Furthermore, the model encourages group collaboration in the classroom. Hence, students learn how to cooperate and work together. Students find learning through class games attractive and engaging. If the concept is presented as a group game, the students will look forward to it. This strategy enhances student engagement in class. As a result, their academic performance improves in the long run.
Application of the Model in Teaching:
To improve learning, teachers should build good relationships with their students. Students appreciate their relationships with their teachers. It motivates them to engage in class eagerly. Most students are afraid of school because they fear failure. But when the teacher-student relationship is good, children are willing to take on challenges. Many teaching concepts have survived the learning process. Education has focused on teaching students how to research and ask questions. Teaching and learning have greatly benefited from the Concept Attainment Model. The model aims to get students to ask questions, conduct research, and draw conclusions.
Mathematics, technology, and language are a few subjects in which the model has aided learning. The model helps students learn in their own time and builds independence. However, teachers should help when necessary. Teachers should give students feedback on their learning progress. Moreover, teachers need to know the level of their students to manage their needs and inquiries. Teachers should identify and support struggling students with learning difficulties or disabilities. Consequently, concept-based learning builds individual needs and abilities.
In addition, the model can assist in assessments, tests, presentations, or groups. Teachers should discover students’ potential gaps in learning comprehension. It is also preferable if teachers use examples and non-examples in mathematics, language, science, etc. Real-life concepts such as responsibility, understanding, and respect are also important examples. Students should identify concepts of real-life behaviors to recognize the cause and effect of actions.
Examples to apply the Concept Attainment Model:
The model suggests examples of both common and uncommon features. Students then have to include them in groups. We will showcase such an example below:
- Choose the concept: e.g., CAT, but do not tell the concept to the students.
- Using flashcards, make a list of 10 ‘Yes’ examples and a list of 10 ‘No’ examples.
• ‘Yes’ are the (positive) characteristics the concept resembles: e.g., CAT = pet, feline, meow, small etc.
• ‘No’ is the (negative) characteristics the concept does not resemble: e.g., roar, King of the Jungle, big and strong, etc.
- Create 2 columns on the board: 1 with the ‘Yes’ examples and 1 with the ‘No’ examples.
- Show the first card of the ‘Yes’ example and place it under the ‘Yes’ column.
- Show another card with a ‘No’ example and place it under the ‘No’ column.
- Continue this process a few times.
- Each column now should have the same amount of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ examples. At this point, students should already understand the concept.
- You can ask the students if the ‘Yes’ examples have any common properties and which are these.
- Continue with the rest of the examples by asking the students in which column the examples belong.
- Next, you can ask the students if they have any examples to suggest for each column. Check if all the students have understood the concept. Continue with more examples if needed.
The same process can be followed when using mathematics, geometry, or another subject.
E.g., for mathematics, use equations amounting to specific numbers, e.g., 10, 20, 30, or others (as ‘Yes’) and equations amounting to irrelevant numbers (as ‘No’).
In geometry, use shapes or objects that explain a specific geometrical figure (as ‘Yes’) and others that do not explain the figure (as ‘No’).
Technology in Education & the Concept Attainment Model:
The Concept Attainment Model is also applicable in online settings. Today, teachers and students benefit from advancements in mobile technology. Cloud-based computing is a data platform that stores online information in the cloud. Mobiles use cloud-based computing to enhance online learning. Students use such platforms to cooperate and interact with each other. Mobile apps provide various features, including data sharing, storage, and research. Linking and storing several data sets are available through the mobile cloud. Research suggests using the concept attainment method to teach mathematics in the cloud. Mathematics contains abstract definitions, principles, and theories. Therefore, mathematics works better for creating concepts. Mobile cloud computing provides tools for mathematical concepts. These concepts can be stored as data and linked to other data whenever needed. Therefore, students can understand concepts through the cloud.
In the engineering mechanics course, there were no conceptual learning methods. The students found the lesson uncomprehensive and unattractive. Using digital whiteboards or blackboards made students strive away. However, the introduction of computer simulation models made the course more comprehensive. The models showcase the features just like in the real world. Consequently, the students could capture all the concepts of the simulation model. Introducing the concept attainment model made the lesson more appealing and understandable.