1. UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS
FACULTY OF EDUCATION
SCHOOL OF POSTGRADUATE STUDIES
DAVID AUSUBEL THEORY OF MEANINFUL LEARNING
S/N NAMES MATRIC NUMBERS
1 AYOLE IDOWU O 199037003
2 NWANNE ONUOHA 121004034
3 ABIDOGUN DAVID B 130310039
4 IHIONU VIRGINIA IFEYINWA 189037022
5 WILLIAMS OLUSEYI C 199037012
6 MADUNEME JOVITA C 199037014
7 ADIGUN AISHAT OLAYINKA 199037011
COHORT: BIOLOGY EDUCATION
COURSE CODE: STE 820
COURSE TITLE: FOUNDATION OF SCIENCE
LECTURER IN CHARGE: DR. OKE
DATE: 11TH MARCH 2021
2. DAVID AUSUBEL THEORY OF MEANIFUL LEARNING
LIFE HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
DAVID AUSUBEL’S THEORY
APPLICATION OF THE THEORY TO SCIENCE EDUCATION
INFLUENCE OF THE THEORY IN BIOLOGY
DAVID AUSUBEL LIFE HISTROY AND BACKGROUND
David Paul Ausubel (October 25, 1918-July 9 2008)
3. David Paul Ausubel was born on October 25, 1918 in New York City, New York,
United States, and he died on July 9, 2008. He was an American psychologist. His
most significant contribution was to the fields of educational psychology, cognitive
science, science education, developmental learning and research on “advance
Biography And Family
He was born on October 25, 1918 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He was
nephew of the Jewish historian Nathan Ausubel . Ausubel and his wife Pearl had
He studied at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with honors in
1939, receiving a bachelor's degree majoring in psychology. Ausubel later
graduated from medical school in 1943 at Middlesex University where he went on
to complete a rotating internship at Governor Hospital, located in the lower east
side of Manhattan, New York. Following his military service with the US Public
Health Service, Ausubel earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology
from Columbia University in 1950. He continued to hold a series of professorships
at several schools of education
In 1973, Ausubel retired from academic life and devoted himself to his psychiatric
practice. During his psychiatric practice, Ausubel published many books as well as
articles in psychiatric and psychological journals. In 1976, he received the
Thorndike Award from the American Psychological Association for
"Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education
4. Books Authored
David Ausubel was also an author, these are the books he wrote: In 1994, at the
age of 75, Ausubel retired from professional life to devote himself full-time to
writing. He then published four books
1. Ego development and Psychopathology (1996),
2. The Acquisition and Retention of Knowledge (2000),
3. Theory and Problems of Adolescent Development (2002), and
4. Death and the Human Condition (2002),
In Death and the Human Condition he wrote about the psychology of death and
impressed his own personal psychological, theological and philosophical thoughts
on the nature and implications of the afterlife, conceptualizing death from the
perspective of both Christian believers and non-believers, expressing his view that
"the relevance and value of faith should certainly not be derogated or treated
pejoratively, as atheists, agnostics, and rationalists tend to do.
Ausubel was influenced by the teachings of Jean Piaget. Similar to Piaget’s ideas
of conceptual schemes, Ausubel related this to his explanation of how people
acquire knowledge. "David Ausubel theorized that people acquire knowledge
primarily by being exposed directly to it rather than through discovery" (Woolfolk
et al., 2010, p. 288) . In other words, Ausubel believed that an understanding of
concepts, principles, and ideas is achieved through deductive reasoning.
5. Similarly, he believed in the idea of meaningful learning as opposed to rot
e memorization. In the preface to his book Educational Psychology: A Cognitive
View, he says that "If [he] had to reduce all of educational psychology to just one
principle, [he] would say this: The most importantsingle factor influencing learnin
g is whatthe learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly" (A
usubel, 1968, p. vi). Through his belief of meaningful learning, Ausubel developed
his theory of advance organizers. However, Ausubel was a critic of discovery-bas
ed teaching techniques.
AUSUBEL’S THEORY OF MEANINGFUL LEARNING AND ADVANCE
David Paul Ausubel believed that understanding concepts, principles, and ideas are
achieved through deductive reasoning. Similarly, he believed in the idea of
meaningful learning as opposed to rote memorization. The most important single
factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. This led him to
develop an interesting theory of meaningful learning and advance organizers.
6. THEORY OF MEANINGFUL LEARNING
The rote versus meaningful learning continuum showing the requirements of
According to Ausubel’s theory, to learn meaningfully, individuals must relate new
knowledge to relevant concepts they already know. New knowledge must interact
with the learner’s knowledge structure. He believed in the idea of meaningful
learning as opposed to rote memorization. He emphasized that the latter can also
incorporate new information into the pre-existing knowledge structure but without
interaction. Rote memory is also used to recall sequences of objects, such as phone
numbers. However, it is of no use to the learner in understanding the relationships
between the objects. Because meaningful learning involves recognition of the links
between concepts, it has the privilege of being transferred to long-term memory.
The most crucial element in meaningful learning is how the new information is
integrated into the old knowledge structure. Accordingly, Ausubel believes that
knowledge is hierarchically organized; that new information is meaningful to the
extent that it can be related, attached or anchored to what is already known.
7. Advance Organizers
Ausubel advocates the use of advance organizers as a mechanism to link new
learning material with existing related ideas. Advance organizers are helpful in the
way that they help the process of learning when difficult and complex materials are
introduced. This is satisfied through two conditions:
1. The student must process and understand the information presented in the
organizer, this increases the effectiveness of the organizer itself.
2. The organizer must indicate the relations among the basic concepts and terms
that will be used.
Ausubel’s theory of advance organizers fall into two categories: comparative and
The main goal of comparative organizers is to activate existing schemas and is
used as reminder to bring into the working memory of what you may not realize is
relevant. A comparative Organizer is also used both to integrate as well as
discriminate. It integrates new ideas with basically similar concepts in cognitive
structure, as well as increase discriminability between new and existing ideas
which are essentially different but similarly confusable.
In contrast, expository organizers provide new knowledge that students will need
to understand the upcoming information. Expository organizers are often used
when the new learning material is unfamiliar to the learner. They often relate what
the learner already knows with the new and unfamiliar material, this in turn is
aimed to make the unfamiliar material more plausible to the learner.
AUSUBEL LEARNING MODEL
Ausubel believed that learning proceeds in a top-down or deductive manner.
Ausubel's theory consists three phases. The main elements of Ausubel’s teaching
methods are shown below in the table.
8. Ausubel’s Model of Meaningful Learning
IMPLICATION OF AUSUBEL’S LEARNING THEORY ON SCIENCE
Science education is a complex because of its abstract nature. To give the abstract
concepts, Ausubel’s learning theory is the most suitable rather than others.
Whether students with meaningful learning orientation, is of potential significance
in the face of student learning materials, they can actively seek links between old
and new knowledge by changing the ways that classroom activities to motivate
students to engage in meaningful learning tendency. For example, the Science
education teacher can be combined with the actual course content, the creation of a
math problem out of a scene, to stimulate the curiosity of students to solve
problems, and thus generate interest in learning, teaching content. In another
example, Science teachers during classroom teaching, may be appropriate to use
some sound, images and animation courseware, or strong intuitive, touch things
(animals and plants).Science education teachers can also create a good classroom
atmosphere to encourage students to take the initiative to explore, to assume that to
verify, communicate with each other so that the students truly experience
the beauty of knowledge, and understand value of knowledge, more love for what
they have learned and discipline Its some implications on science education are
summarized on the following points
9. 1. To complete the course in time, the Ausubel's learning theory is most helpful.
2. Abstract concepts can be tough effectively by presenting the appropriate
advance organizer and can help pupils to grasp higher order relationships between
3. Meaningful verbal learning depends upon the critical ability and readiness to
receive; teacher should make use of adequate pedagogical techniques such as
precise and accurate definition of concepts, giving similarities and dissimilarities
between related concepts and encouraging learners to define their own words.
4. Single concept is easier to retain rather than to remember many specific items.
Hence clear, relevant, advance organizer should be provided.
5. For the teaching new science concept teacher should motivate the students and
by presenting the advance organizer (if needed) to relate the new concept with pre-
6. For meaningful science learning sufficient amount of teaching materials should
be used and the materials should be in accordance with the nature of lesson.
7. The students having the good science skills and verbal capacity should taught by
verbal expository method. This method increases debating, reasoning,
imaginary, problem solving prowess and conjectures making ability of students.
INFLUENCE OF AUSUBEL'S VERBAL MEANINGFUL LEARNING
THEORY IN BIOLOGY SCIENCE
Ausubel proposed four processes by which meaningful learning can occur
1. DERIVATIVE SUBSUMPTION: Derivative subsumption takes
place when learning material is understood as a specific example of an
established concept in cognitive structure, or is supportive or illustrative of a
general proposition. The more common type of subsumption is correlative
EXAMPLE:- Let’s suppose Ali have acquired a basic concepts such as ‘tree’
have green leaves, branch, fruits. Ali learn about a kind of tree that he has never
10. seen before, the new tree conforms to his previous understanding of tree his new
knowledge of permission tree is attached to the concept of tree without
substantially altering that concept in any way.
2. CORRELATIVE SUBSUMPTION:-Ausubel's theory of meaningful
learning will help biology student have more valuable learning from the
basic concepts or the things they already knows
EXAMPLE 2:-Let’s suppose Ali encounter a new kind of tree that has red leaves
rather than green. To accommodate this new information Ali has to alter or extend
his concept of tree to include the possibility of red leaves.
3. SUPERORDINATE LEARNING:- this case helps biology students know a
lot of examples of the concept, but don’t know the concept itself until it is
taught to students
EXAMPLE:-Ali was well acquainted with maples, oaks, apples trees etc but still
did not know, until they were taught that these were all examples of deciduous
4. COMBINATIONAL LEARNING:-It describes a process by which the new
ideas is derived from another idea that comes from previous knowledge (in a
different but related ‘branch’)
Biology student could think of this ad learning by analogy
EXAMPLE:-Ali learn about modification on the plants part, Ali might relate it to
previously acquiring knowledge of how papyrus tree used to produce paper.
According to Ausubel theory of meaningful learning ,Learning within the biology
*General ideas of a subject must be presented first then progressively differentiate
in terms of detail and specificity.
*Instructional materials should attempt to integrate new material with previously
*Using comparisons and cross referencing of new and old ideas.
11. *Instructors should incorporate advance organizers when teaching a new concept
EXAMPLE:-instruction should use a number of examples and focus on both
similarities and differences.
• The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner
Ausubel, D.P. (1960). Theuse of advance organizers in the learning and retention
of meaningful verbal material. Journal of Educational Psychology, 51, 267-272.
Ausubel, D. (1963). The Psychology of Meaningful Verbal Learning. New York:
Grune & Stratton.
Ausubel, D. (1978). In defense of advance organizers: A reply to the critics.
Review of Educational Research, 48, 251-257.
Ausubel, D., Novak, J., & Hanesian, H. (1978). Educational Psychology: A Cogniti
ve View (2nd Ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Ausubel, D.P. (1960). The use of advance organizers in the learning and
retention of meaningful verbalmaterial. Journal of Educational Psychology,
Ausubel, D. (1963). ThePsychology of MeaningfulVerbalLearning.New York:
Grune & Stratton.
Adhakari, K. (2010). Ausubel's learning theory and its implications A practical
work for Math-519, T.U., submitted to Department of science education,
Sukuna M. Campus. Ausubel, D.P. (1978).
12. In defense of advance organizer, a reply to critics, Retrieved from ERIC. Ausubel,