Bloom (1974). Time and learning.

Bloom, B. S. (1974). Time and learning. American Psychologist, 29(9), 682–688. doi:10.1037/h0037632

“All learning, whether done in school or elsewhere, requires time. This fact is especially marked in sequential learning in which competence is attained only after a series of learning experiences that may take months or years to complete before the learner has developed a satisfactory degree of attainment in the field, …” (p 682)

“… it is evident in these national and international studies that the accidents of birthplace and geography determine that a student in one set of communities and schools may spend l 1/2-2 years to learn what a student in another set of communities and schools will learn in 1 year.” (p 682)

“Spending extra hours of time within the same calendar period to attain the same level of achievement as one’s contemporaries leaves the student with a belief that he is doing as well as others. There are psychic and motivational rewards when a student believes he is doing as well as others in the group. Spending extra years in attaining the same level of achievement as one’s contemporaries leaves the individual with the belief that he is inferior to others, and he is likely to suffer frustration and decreased motivation for school learning.” (p 683)

[The Carroll Model …]

“In the Carroll (1963) model of school learning, the basic thesis is that _time_ is a central variable in school learning and that students differ in the amount of time they need to learn a given unit of learning to some set criterion. Carroll defined aptitude as the amount of time needed by a student to reach the criterion, … He contended that if the student were _given_ the amount of time he needed and if he persevered until he devoted this amount of time to the learning task, he would reach the criterion level of achievement.” (p 683)

“Carroll further specified that the _quality of instruction_ and the student’s _ability to understand the instruction_ would, when both were optimal, make the time needed minimal for each student.” (p 683)

“… a particular amount of time and help at an early stage in the learning sequence has a different effect than an equal amount of time and help at a later stage in the learning sequence. Put in another way, equal amounts of time and help do not have equal results on learning at all stages in the learning process.” (p 685)

[Learning and Time on Task …]

“In the Carroll (1963) model of school learning, he makes a distinction between elapsed time and ‘the time the learner is _actually spending_ on the act of learning.’ This is ‘the time during which the person is oriented to the learning task and actively engaged in learning.’ … ‘It is the time during which he (the learner) is ‘paying attention’ and ‘trying to learn’ . . . [p. 725].'” (p 685)

“… under good conditions of learning students put more of their class time into purposive activity (related to the learning activity), while under less favorable classroom conditions, students tend to decrease the percent of time in class they are putting into purposive learning activity.” (p 686)

“As students are provided with feedback on what they have learned over a particular learning task and as they are given additional time and help to correct their difficulties, they enter the next learning task with a better grasp of the preceding learning tasks in the series. When they are given no feedback or extra time and help, a significant portion of the students enter the next learning task with an inadequate grasp of the preceding learning tasks in the series. Thus, one group enters successive learning tasks with the prerequisite learning to a high level while the other group enters successive learning tasks without the necessary prerequisite learning. We termed these prerequisites cognitive entry behaviors, …” (p 686-687)

“In addition, as students reach adequate levels of achievement over the preceding tasks, their confidence and interest in the task increase, while if they do not reach such levels of achievement they become frustrated and despair of their ability to learn the tasks, and they tend to develop some dis- like for or disinterest in the subject. Here, we have used the term affective entry characteristics to apply to this rising or waning affective disposition or motivation for the subject.” (p 687)

“Finally, we have termed the whole process of the original instruction and the feedback and correctives the quality of instruction.” (p 687)

Selected References

  • Carroll, J. B, A model of school learning. Teachers College Record, 1963, 64, 723-733.


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