The 7 Conditions of Learning: An In Depth Analysis

I recently spoke at the Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted (SENG) in Houston. My introduction was as follows:

Houston, we have a problem. Students today are expected to fly to the moon, as was the goal of every mission in the Apollo Program. And if we follow the same rules established for the successful flights, we will get there! However, our vulnerable, dyslexic or twice exceptional children, like Apollo 13, encounter challenges along the way. If we continue to follow the same rules on those successful missions, catastrophic disaster awaits. 

As the Apollo engineers here in Houston were required to problem solve, evolve, and innovate with limited resources, we, too, are required to use these strategies to give our students the opportunity to fly to the moon and come back safely.

Because failure is NOT an option.

We know that to teach our most vulnerable students they must have structured literacy. However, if we go through this process lock-step, every word directed without considering the child sitting in front of us, catastrophic failure awaits. 

Like the engineers solving the numerous challenges of Apollo 13, we too, are required to find solutions to match the square peg into the round hole with few resources. 

Here’s where I connect Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning Theory and Brain/Mind Principles to my students who are so vulnerable. Professor Brian Cambourne developed this theory of learning in 1988, now over thirty years ago. In 2003, Rushton, Eitelgeorge, and Zickafoose published a paper: Connecting Brian Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning Theory to Brain/Mind Principles Implications for Early Childhood EducatorsThis paper should not be limited to Early Childhood Educators, but all those involved in teaching students who fall behind in literacy. 

Over my next few blogs, I’ll be taking an in depth exploration of the seven conditions of learning: Immersion, Demonstration, Engagement, Expectations, Responsibility, Employment, and Approximation. 

These seven conditions are interwoven and interact dynamically. That’s when learning occurs.