Learning and a Learners’ View (ALV)

A Learners’ View (ALV) Is Of Choices On The Shortest And Fastest Path To Learning, The Oxygen Of Social Life.


Learning is to social life as oxygen is to biological life. (ALV T-Shirt Wisdom)

Status: Draft

Last Edited: September 27, 2018

Main Page: A Learners’ View (ALV) of Learning

Purpose: To describe a learners’ side of a conversation with teachers about learning during instruction of lessons.

Theme: Learning as public, social processes, a constant part of social life.

Key Words: Choice, Commonalities, Experimental Science, Learning, Problem Solving, Social Interaction (Processes), Social Patterns, Triple-Helix

Connect The Dots

A LEARNERS’ VIEW (ALV) of learning is the social scientific study of changes in human behavior. This view provides a basis for describing a databased answer to the question, How do people learn? What do learners do first, second, etc. to learn something. 

The answer is that learning occurs as learners make choices to solve a problem during social interaction. These choices provide a way to predict and manage learning through lessons instructed by teachers.

In sum, learners learn in one step with two options in three stages at four levels to solve one or more of five generic questions. This answer described the organization of social actions learners take while learning.

This view describes results of an analysis (a disassembly) of learning. Disassembly is of the public life of learners while they are learning during instruction of lessons by teachers. Behavioral and social scientists have reported parts of disassembled learning for over a century.

These scientists have assumed that learning has occurred by observing and reporting what learners do at two different times separated by two or more instructional practices conducted in two or more randomly selected aggregates of learners. Reports of these observations exist in the peer reviewed scientific literature.

Two-Dot Learning

From this view, the answer to the How question is that learning is a social process that occurs in one step by learners making a choice that connects two dots.

One dot represents what people know how to do and that it does not solve a problem before them.

The second dot represents what people do differently that now solves a problem. This choice occurs in three phases at four levels in order to answer one or more of five generic questions.

These choices are observable, manageable, and measurable in daily life in and out of schools by teachers before, during, and after instruction of lessons.

This view shapes a technical-scientific social process paradigm as an alternative to the more common way of referring to learning as functions of individuals and their behavior.

The social processes view accounts for learning without referring to brain functions, cognition, emotions, motivation, and other theories derived from making inferences about changes in observed patterns of social interaction.

Methods and Sources to Answer the How Question

A learners’ view of learning consists of the minimum number and kinds of social patterns that experimental behavioral and social scientists reported for more than a century.

Scientific Observations

Scientists make and report systematic, objective, and repeatable observations of social interactions among teachers and learners.

These observations are an early empirical step in the process of testing hypotheses. A learners’ view consists of these observations. They differ from theories in that observations have no predictive power. At the same time, they do show likely relationships among the social elements observed.

To address the question of how people learn, we limited answers to results of a content analysis of reports by experimental behavioral and social scientists of their studies of teaching and learning.

This limit refines the question to How do people learn lessons instructed by teachers? This refinement attempts to provide teachers with descriptions of learning that they can apply without interpreting theories and other speculations.

These refinements are consistent with how teachers and their pupils implicitly answer how question while instructing lessons.

Refinements are also consistent with the scientific process of systematically observing and reporting patterns of human activity (sometimes referred to as human behavior).

Accordingly, learning requires two or more people (a teacher and a learner) or their artifacts (such as books, music scores, etc.) to participate in the learning processes.

Next, we reviewed a sample of the experimental research study reports of teaching and learning by behavioral and social scientists over more than 12 decades. These experiments provide the most precise and replicable descriptions of what people do while learning under various conditions in and out of schools.

We then conducted an informal content analysis of this sample in order to identify commonalities across descriptions of the process people use while learning. A test to identify a minimum description of learning was conducted. This test as the question, Does learning still occur when X social interaction pattern is removed? The minimum number and kinds of patterns consist of those where learning does not occur when they are removed from lessons.

The simplified result of the simplification process exists in three parts: (1) learning occurs as a social interaction pattern (2) that solves a problem (3) as do the most accomplished members of society.

A Learners’ View (ALV) of Learning: A Technical-Scientific Description

A learners view is that learning occurs through a sequence of 15 sets of choices people make at 15 points. These choices complete a pattern (solve a problem), such as to name numerals in order from one to zero or to identify a black hole in cosmology.

A learners’ view refers to 15 sets of commonalities in reports of experiments of teaching and learning conducted by behavioral and social scientists in and out of schools across more than a century.

These 15 sets consists of the minimum number of common social interactions among teachers, learners, and scientists during the experiments.

In its simplest case, learning is the social interaction (processes) of learners connecting two or more dots that solve one or more problems as do the most accomplished people in society.

Solutions to problems are to complete one or more of five (5) generic patterns of social action in ways others can observe and manage.


From a learners’ view, learning occurs in one step (connecting the last two dots that complete a pattern). These choices occur through trial-and-error (choosing the dots that complete the social pattern is the second choice). That one-step has three parts (a beginning, a middle, and an end that add three more choices) with four levels (add four more choices) that result in one or more of five kinds of generic social patterns.

This sequence represents what is common across more than 12 decades of research. Behavioral and social scientists do not yet have common descriptions (beyond the term trial-and-error) of the dynamics of learning. For example, what trade-offs will people make of their time, attention, effort, etc. to learn how to accomplish which things and under which conditions?

Commonalities across the body of experimental studies of learning have given priority to describing how over what people learn. Descriptions of these commonalities form what may be called an infrastructure of learning. By monitoring activity in this infrastructure, observers see, hear, and anticipate forms and changes in personal and social life.

The parts of this infrastructure allow more precise descriptions, predictions, and use of their elements, and thus of learning. These parts are to learning and social life as sound frequencies are to music and particles are to physics.

Uses of ALV discount whether learning occurs in the brain and mind or through changes in patterns of observable behavior.


  1. A Learners’ View (ALV) of Learning
  2. ALV as Infrastructure of Learning
  3. ALV as Social Processes
  4. Choices Frame an Infrastructure of Learning
  5. Learning as Solving Five Generic Problems
  6. Two Dot Learning (TDL)

Related Reading

  1. Depictions of Learning in Arts and Literature
  2. Who Cares about a Learners’ View (ALV)?

Related Resources

  1. If You Could See Me (video)