10 Core Learning Priniciples

1) Four elements with the learner at the centre: Learner – actively doing; Mentor – design, direct, support, assess; Knowledge – content and resources: with what and how accessed; Environment.  – context: where, when, with whom, how.

2) Learners bring their own personalized knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Individualized/personalized learning.

3) Faculty mentors are the directors of the learning experience. Provides direction and purpose to learning experiences.

4) Learners need to learn core concepts rather than all course content.

5) All learning experiences include the environment or context in which the learner interacts. Where, when, with whom, with what resources? What learning outcomes?

6) Every learner has a zone of proximal development (ZPD) that defines the space that a learner is ready to develop into useful knowledge. ZPD is a foundation concept of constructivism (Vygotsky) – the goal of all learning experiences is growth, building on previous knowledge. What concept or problem developed new or further understanding?

7) Concepts are organized and interconnected knowledge clusters. Words/key terms mean little without the underlying concepts.

8) Different instruction is required for different learning outcomes.

9) More time on task = more learning. Students need to spend time interacting with, creating, and manipulating information and applying concepts and skills.

10) We shape our tools. Our tools shape us. Learning occurs within a context. Learning tools make a difference.

(Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p. 20-35)


Boettcher, J. V. and Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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