• Many educational psychology theories often criticize
the expository or presentational manner of teaching.
• Instead of criticizing this manner of teaching, David
Ausubel, proposed ways of improving it.
• He suggested the use of advance organizers.
• His ideas are contained in his theory of Subsumption
Subsumption Theory 2
Subsumption Theory 4
• The main theme of Ausubel’s theory is that
knowledge is hierarchically organized.
• It is about how individual’s learn large amounts
of meaningful material from verbal/textual
presentations in a school setting.
• He proposed the use of advance organizers as
a tool for learning.
5. Focus of Ausubel’s Theory
Subsumption Theory 5
1. The most important factor influencing learning is the
quantity, clarity and organization of the learner’s present
knowledge. This comprises his/her cognitive structure.
2. Meaningful learning takes place when an idea to be learned
is related in some sensible way to ideas that the learner
already possesses. The way to strengthen the student’s
cognitive structure is by using advance organizers that
allow students to already have a bird’s eye view or to see
the “big picture” of the topic to be learned even before
going to the details.
6. Ausubel’s belief of the use of advance organizers
is anchored on the principle of subsumption. He
thought that the primary way of learning was
subsumption: a process by which new material is
related to relevant ideas in the existing cognitive
Subsumption Theory 6
15. Advance Organizers
Subsumption Theory 15
• The advance organizer is a major instructional tool
proposed by Ausubel
The advance organizer, gives you two benefits:
1. You will find it easier to connect new information with
what you already know about the topic.
2. You can readily see how the concepts in a certain topic
are related to each other.
It describes the new
It presents the new
information in the form of a
story to students.
It is done by looking over
the new material to gain a
Visuals to set up or outline
the new information.
17. Progressive Differentiation
Subsumption Theory 17
oThe most general ideas of a subject be
presented first and then progressively.
oAccording to Ausubel, the purpose of
progressive differentiation is to increase
the stability and clarity of anchoring ideas.