Marcus Ball Contact Site Index
Behaviorism ] Cognitive Theories ] Humanistic Theory ] Motivation to Learn ]
Gestalt ...



Experiential Learning

Past Employment

Residential Property Management Community Manager PPA
Residential Property Management Assistant Manager, Leasing  HVA
Online Technical Account Manager
Massage Therapy Clinical Therapist
Telecom Products Sales Executive
ASP Support Client Services
Inquiry Center CRM Specialist
Call Center Design Engineer
Help Desk Desktop Support
Call Center Client Communications
Hospitality Reservations Manager
Sales Special Orders
Retail Commercial Ast Manager

Or Read:
Customer Centricity




(Plural „Gestalten”) is German for “pattern”, “figure”, “shape”, or “form” but not precisely translatable, just as „Angst” is not. It is used to refer to wholes, systems and complete structures rather than the reductionist approach of seeking ever smaller components of a phenomenon. In learning, opposed to the reductionism of behaviourism, it concentrates on the way in which the mind insists on finding patterns in things, and how this contributes to learning, especially the development of “insight”.

 Classic Gestalt image



 Puzzle Image 1

puzzle1Click on the image
for the solution







Puzzle Image 2

Click on the image
for the solutionpuzzle2

The point of these rather silly examples is to note the usual reaction when you work them out: there is, however trivial, a release of tension because it has been possible to assimilate a previously non-sensical image into a frame of reference. Gestalt emphasises that the mind abhors non-sense.

The importance of the theory for real-world learning is the attention which it draws to wholes (and incidentally to problem-solving as a part of learning). Whereas behaviourism concentrates on breaking down a task into parts and how each is learned individually, Gestalt acknowledges the “knack” element. It thus underpins all the cognitivist theories.

Experimental work on Gestalt learning is primarily about the problem-solving capacities of animals: chimps spontaneously pile up boxes in order to climb on them to reach bananas, for example (Köhler, 1925). The learning element is shown by their ability to repeat the action later, without apparently having to pause and think about it as they did the first time. However, recent experiments have shown Betty the crow doing something just as ingenious and remarkable. See this link.

It also contributes to an account of some of the difficulties people have with learning: Gestalts (similar to schemata, in a different discourse), once formed, are not easily dislodged or replaced: see

[  Cognitive dissonance  ][ Resistance to Learning  ]

A "knack" is a psychomotor equivalent of cognitive "insight": the best example is probably learning to ride a bicycle. The learning "curve" (where x=time and y=competence) is more like a single step. The learning happens in a few moments, and is permanent—although it may have taken a long time to get to that step with little seeming progress.

Original content updated and hosted at www.learningandteaching.info/learning/

Marcus Ball ] Contact ] Site Index ]