Research on how people learn and the incorporation of that research into lesson plans and curriculum development demands that the 5E model be expanded to a 7E model.
The learning cycle model requires instruction to include the following discrete elements engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. The 7E model expands the engage element into two components elicit and engage. Similarly, the 7E model expands the two stages of elaborate and evaluate into three components elaborate, evaluate, and extend.
These changes are not suggested to add complexity, but rather to ensure instructors do not omit crucial elements for learning from their lessons while under the incorrect assumption they are meeting the requirements of the learning cycle.
Eliciting prior understandings
Current research in cognitive science has shown that eliciting prior understandings is a necessary component of the learning process. Research also has shown that expert learners are much more adept at the transfer of learning than novices and that practice in the transfer of learning is required in good instruction.
The engage component in the 5E model is intended to capture students’ attention, get students thinking about the subject matter, raise questions in students’ minds, stimulate late thinking, and access prior knowledge. For example, teachers may engage students by creating surprise or doubt through a demonstration that shows a piece of steel sinking and a steel toy boat floating.
Similarly, a teacher may place an ice cube into a glass of water and have the class observe it float while the same ice cube placed in a second glass of liquid sinks. The corresponding conversation with the students may access their prior learning. The students should have the opportunity to ask and attempt to answer, “Why is it that the toy boat does not sink?” The engage component includes both accessing prior knowledge and generating enthusiasm for the subject matter.
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