Meaningful learning

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Meaningful learning is opposed to rote learning and refers to a learning way where the new knowledge to acquire is related with previous knowledge (Ausubel 2000).

Within the cognitive theory of learning, based on the theory of human information processing, the 3 core processes of learning are: how knowledge is developed; how new knowledge is integrated into an existing cognitive system; and how knowledge becomes automatic.

Ausubel (1967:10) focused on meaningful learning, as "a clearly articulated and precisely differentiated conscious experience that emerges when potentially meaningful signs, symbols, concepts, or propositions are related to and incorporated within a given individual's cognitive structure" (Takač 2008, p. 26).


  • Ausubel, D.P. (2000), The acquisition and retention of knowledge: a cognitive view, Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISBN 9780792365051 
  • Takač, V.P. (2008), Vocabulary learning strategies and foreign language acquisition, Multilingual Matters, ISBN 9781847690388