Strategies for meaningful learning in higher education


  • José G. Vargas-Hernández Instituto Tecnológico Mario Molina, Mexico
  • Omar C. Vargas-González Instituto Tecnológico Nacional de México, Mexico



Keywords: Meaningful learning, active learning, teaching strategies.


This work aims to analyze and explain the didactic strategies used to achieve meaningful learning. The problem addressed here is the need to change traditional didactic teaching in higher education programs toward more meaningful learning-oriented approaches. It begins under the assumption that meaningful learning is created if students are given freedom and confidence, they can find their own answers and developing their knowledge, both in the classroom and in practical life. The method used is the analytical-descriptive one of the reviews of the literature of the main authors who have given rise to this approach, its elements and the didactic strategies used. The result of the analysis shows the need to move from traditional didact teaching in higher education programs toward more meaningful learning-oriented strategies. It is concluded that the design and implementation of didactic strategies focused on meaningful learning with the application of active didactic methodologies and strategies in meaningful learning processes depending on the context in which it takes place, obtains better results in the training of professionals. It is recommended that teaching in higher education should abandon traditional didactics and embrace more meaningful oriented teaching strategies.


Al-Ansi, A. M., Suprayogo, I., & Abidin, M. (2019). Impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on Different Settings of Learning Process in Developing Countries. Science and Technology, 9(2), 19–28.

Aladesusi, G. A., & Akindiya, F. O. (2021). Development and evaluation of an instructional LiveBinders for learning selected computer studies concept in Ilorin Metropolis. Journal of Research in Instructional, 1(2), 109–122.

Almulla, M. A. (2020). The Effectiveness of the Project-Based Learning (PBL) Approach as a Way to Engage Students in Learning. SAGE Open, 10(3).

Apodaca-Orozco, G. U. G., Ortega-Pipper, L. P., Verdugo-Blanco, L. E., & y Reyes-Barribas, L. E. (2017). Modelos educativos: un reto para la educación en salud. Ra Ximhai, 13(2), 77–86.

Araujo, M., & Campos, M. (2006). La praxis pedagógica en la educación física y los estilos de enseñanza predominantes en los docentes de educación básica. Educare, 10(3), 1–32.

Arbaugh, J. B. (2013). Does academic discipline moderate CoI-course outcomes relationships in online MBA courses? The Internet and Higher Education, 17, 16–28.

Arizabaleta, S. L., & Ochoa, A. F. (2016). Hacia una educación superior inclusiva en Colombia. Pedagogía y Saberes, 45, 41–52.

Arnold, D. Y., & Yapita, J. D. (2000). El rincón de las cabezas: Luchas textuales, educacion y Tierras en los Andes. Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara IICA.

Ausubel, D. P. (1963). The psychology of meaningful verbal learning. Grune & Stratton.

Ausubel, D. P. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view. Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

Ausubel, D. P, Novak, J. D., & Hanesian, H. (1978). Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View (2nd ed.). Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Ausubel, DAVID P. (1961). In defense of verbal learning. Educational Theory, 11(1), 15–25.

Aznar, P. (1992). Constructivismo y educación. Tirant lo Blanch.

Baliga, S., Walvekar, P., & Mahantshetti, G. (2021). Concept map as a teaching and learning tool for medical students. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 10(1), 35.

Bao, L., & Koenig, K. (2019). Physics education research for 21st century learning. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, 1(1), 2.

Beck, E. E., Solbrekke, T. D., Sutphen, M., & Fremstad, E. (2015). When mere knowledge is not enough: the potential of bildung as self-determination, co-determination and solidarity. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(3), 445–457.

Bonwell, C. C., & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active Learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. ASHEERIC Higher Education Report, 1(1).

Cabı, E. (2018). The Impact of the Flipped Classroom Model on Students’ Academic Achievement. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(3), 204–221.

Chen, J., Zhang, L. J., Wang, X., & Zhang, T. (2021). Impacts of Self-Regulated Strategy Development-Based Revision Instruction on English-as-a-Foreign-Language Students’ Self-Efficacy for Text Revision: A Mixed-Methods Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.

Chen, M.-P., Wang, L.-C., Zou, D., Lin, S.-Y., & Xie, H. (2019). Effects of caption and gender on junior high students’ EFL learning from iMap-enhanced contextualized learning. Computers & Education, 140, 103602.

Chu, K.-K., Lee, C.-I., & Tsai, R.-S. (2011). Ontology technology to assist learners’ navigation in the concept map learning system. Expert Systems with Applications, 38(9), 11293–11299.

Dahar, R. W. (2011). Teori-teori Belajar dan Pembelajaran. Erlangga.

Daley, B. J., & Torre, D. M. (2010). Concept maps in medical education: an analytical literature review. Medical Education, 44(5), 440–448.

Delgado García, A. M., & Oliver Cuello, R. (2009). Interacción entre la evaluación continua y la autoevaluación formativa: La potenciación del aprendizaje autónomo. REDU. Revista de Docencia Universitaria, 7(4), 2–13.

Espejo Leupin, R. M. (2016). ¿Pedagogía activa o métodos activos? El caso del aprendizaje activo en la universidad. Revista Digital de Investigación En Docencia Universitaria, 10(1), 16.

Fletcher, T., & Ní Chróinín, D. (2021). Pedagogical principles that support the prioritisation of meaningful experiences in physical education: conceptual and practical considerations. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 1–12.

Flores, G., De Alba, R., & Caicedo, E. (2020). Recomendaciones básicas de competencias docentes para la modalidad no escolarizada en tiempos de la pandemia. Humanidades, Tecnología y Ciencia, Del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, 22(25), 1–6.

Friesen, S., & Scott, D. (2013). Inquiry-based learning: A review of the research literature. Alberta Education, 1, 1–29.

Galdames, V., Walqui, A., & Gustafson, B. (2011). Enseñanza de la lengua indígena como Lengua Materna. PROEIB Andes.

Garrote Rojas, D., Garrote Rojas, C., & Jiménez Fernández, S. (2016). Factores influyentes en motivación y estrategias de aprendizaje en los alumnos de grado. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana Sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio En Educación, 14.2(2016).

Gowin, D. B. (1990). Educating. Cornell University Press.

Guerrero Castañeda, A., Rojas Morales, C., & Villafañe Aguilar, C. (2019). Impacto de la Educación Virtual en Carreras de Pregrado del Área de Ciencias de la Salud. Una Mirada de las Tecnologías Frente a la Educación. Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia.

Hammer, D., Goldberg, F., & Fargason, S. (2012). Responsive teaching and the beginnings of energy in a third-grade classroom. Review of Science, Mathematics and ICT Education, 6(1), 51–72.

Hanani, N. (2020). Meaningful Learning Reconstruction for Millennial: Facing competition in the information technology era. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 469(1), 012107.

Howland, J. L., Jonassen, D. H., & Marra, R. M. (2011). Meaningful Learning with Technology. Pearson.

Joksimovic, S., Gasevic, D., Kovanovic, V., Adesope, O., & Hatala, M. (2014). Psychological characteristics in cognitive presence of communities of inquiry: A linguistic analysis of online discussions. The Internet and Higher Education, 22, 1–10.

Jonassen, D. H. (2003). Learning to solve problems with technology: A constructivist perspective. Merrill.

Julca, F. (2000). Uso de las lenguas quechua y castellano en la escuela urbana: un estudio de caso [Master’s Thesis, Universidad Mayor de San Simón]. UMSS Campus Repository

Kay, D., & Kibble, J. (2016). Learning theories 101: application to everyday teaching and scholarship. Advances in Physiology Education, 40(1), 17–25.

Kostaris, C., Sergis, S., Sampson, D. G., Giannakos, M. Ν., & Pelliccione, L. (2017). Investigating the Potential of the Flipped Classroom Model in K-12 ICT Teaching and Learning: Educational Technology & Society, 20(1), 261–273.

Kostiainen, E., Ukskoski, T., Ruohotie-Lyhty, M., Kauppinen, M., Kainulainen, J., & Mäkinen, T. (2018). Meaningful learning in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 71, 66–77.

Lee, J. H., & Segev, A. (2012). Knowledge maps for e-learning. Computers & Education, 59(2), 353–364.

Lillo, V. (2014). Salud y Educación: Dos Vocaciones Al Servicio De Los Derechos Humanos. Rev. Med. Clin. Condes, 25(2), 357–362.

Loyens, S. M. M., & Gijbels, D. (2008). Understanding the effects of constructivist learning environments: introducing a multi-directional approach. Instructional Science, 36(5–6), 351–357.

Lui, A. M., & Bonner, S. M. (2016). Preservice and inservice teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and instructional planning in primary school mathematics. Teaching and Teacher Education, 56, 1–13.

Marzano, R. J., & Kendall, J. S. (2007). The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Corwin Press.

Mayer, R. E. (2004). Should There be a three-strikes rule against pure discovery learning? the case for guided methods of instruction. American Psychologist, 59(1), 14–19.

Mintzes, J., & Wandersee, J. (2000). Reforma e Inovação no Ensino da Ciência: uma visão construtivista. In J. Mintzes, J. Wandersee, & J. Novak (Eds.), Ensinando Ciência para a compreensão – uma visão construtivista (pp. 44–67). Plátano Edições Técnicas.

Moreira, M. A. (2011). Why concepts, why meaningful learning, why collaborative activities and why concept maps? Aprendizagem Significativa Em Revista, 6(3), 5.

Mystakidis, S. (2019). Motivation Enhanced Deep and Meaningful Learning with Social Virtual Reality. [Doctoral Dissertation, University of Jyväskylä]. UJ Campus Repository.

Mystakidis, S., Berki, E., & Valtanen, J.-P. (2019). The patras blended strategy model for deep and meaningful learning in quality life-long distance education. Electron. J. e-Learning, 17, 66–78.

Nesbit, J. C., & Adesope, O. O. (2013). Concept maps for learning: Theory, research, and design. In G. Schraw, M. T. McCrudden, & D. Robinson (Eds.), Current perspectives on cognition, learning, and instruction (pp. 303–328). Information Age Publishers.

Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2008). The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct them. Technical report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01 Rev 01-2008

Novak, J. D., & Gowin, D. (2006). Learning How to Learn. Cambridge University Press.

Novak, Joseph D. (1993). Human constructivism: A unification of psychological and epistemological phenomena in meaning making. International Journal of Personal Construct Psychology, 6(2), 167–193.

Obielodan, O. O., Onojah, A. O., Onojah, A. A., Alabi, O. S., & Alimi, E. A. (2021). The teachers’ extent of utilizing teaching methods for teaching basic technology. Journal of Research in Instructional, 1(2), 61–70.

Oostdam, R. J., Peetsma, T. T. D., & Blok, H. (2007). Het nieuwe leren in basisonderwijs en voortgezet onderwijs nader beschouwd. SCO-Kohnstamm Instituut.

Öztürk, M., & Çakıroğlu, Ü. (2021). Flipped learning design in EFL classrooms: implementing self-regulated learning strategies to develop language skills. Smart Learning Environments, 8(1), 2.

Pambudi, G. D., Winangsih, F., Nunaki, J. H., Nusantari, E., & Damopolii, I. (2022). Encouraging students’ metacognitive skills through inquiry learning. Inornatus: Biology Education Journal, 2(1), 43–52.

Patrick, S., & Sturgis, C. (2015). Maximizing competency education and blended learning: Insights fromexperts. iNACOL.

Polman, J., Hornstra, L., & Volman, M. (2021). The meaning of meaningful learning in mathematics in upper-primary education. Learning Environments Research, 24(3), 469–486.

Pun, J., & Jin, X. (2021). Student challenges and learning strategies at Hong Kong EMI universities. PLOS ONE, 16(5), e0251564.

Roelofs, E., & Terwel, J. (1999). Constructivism and authentic pedagogy: State of the art and recent developments in the Dutch national curriculum in secondary education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 31(2), 201–227.

Roelofs, E., Visser, J., & Terwel, J. (2003). Preferences for Various Learning Environments: Teachers’ and Parents’ Perceptions. Learning Environments Research, 6(1), 77–110.

Romero Juárez, M. G. (2020). Enseñanza de programación de estructuras de datos aplicando estrategias didácticas basadas en la teoría de carga cognitiva [Master’s Thesis, Universidad Autonoma De Aguascalientes]. UAA Campus Repository.

Rosano, S. (2007). La cultura de la diversidad y la educación inclusiva. Universida de Cuenca

Rumalolas, N., Rosely, M. S. Y., Nunaki, J. H., Damopolii, I., & Kandowangko, N. Y. (2021). The inquiry-based student book integrated with local resources: The impact on student science process skill. Journal of Research in Instructional, 1(2), 133–146.

Santiago, O. (2007). Documento base: El Derecho a una Educación de Calidad para Todos en América Latina y el Caribe. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana Sobre Calidad, Eficacia Y Cambio En Educación, 5(3).

Şentürk, C. (2021). Effects of the blended learning model on preservice teachers’ academic achievements and twenty-first century skills. Education and Information Technologies, 26(1), 35–48.

Sharan, Y. (2015). Meaningful learning in the cooperative classroom. Education 3-13, 43(1), 83–94.

Sriraman, B. (2010). Theories of Mathematics Education. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Suyatno. (2009). Menjelajah pembelajaran inovatif. Bumi Aksara.

Thomas, R. A., West, R. E., & Borup, J. (2017). An analysis of instructor social presence in online text and asynchronous video feedback comments. The Internet and Higher Education, 33, 61–73.

Tsimane, T. A., & Downing, C. (2020). Transformative learning in nursing education: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 7(1), 91–98.

Valverde-Berrocoso, J., Garrido-Arroyo, M. del C., Burgos-Videla, C., & Morales-Cevallos, M. B. (2020). Trends in Educational Research about e-Learning: A Systematic Literature Review (2009–2018). Sustainability, 12(12), 5153.

Van Oers, B. (2009). Developmental education: Improving participation in cultural practices. In M. Fleer, M. Hedegaard, & J. Tudge (Eds.), Childhood studies and the impact of globalization: Policies and practices at global and local levels. Routledge.

Van Oers, Bert. (1998). From context to contextualizing. Learning and Instruction, 8(6), 473–488.

van Rijk, Y., Volman, M., de Haan, D., & van Oers, B. (2017). Maximising meaning: creating a learning environment for reading comprehension of informative texts from a Vygotskian perspective. Learning Environments Research, 20(1), 77–98.

Vergara, I., Travieso, N., & Crespo, M. (2014). Dinámica del proceso enseñanza-aprendizaje de la Química en tecnología de la salud. Educación Médica Superior, 28(2), 272–281.

Verschaffel, L., & Greer, B. (2014). Mathematics Education. In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. Elen, & M. J. Bishop (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (pp. 553–563). Springer New York.

Vincent-Lancrin, S., Urgel, J., Kar, S., & y Jacotin, G. (2019). Measuring Innovation in Education 2019: What Has Changed in the Classroom? Educational Research and Innovation. OECD Publishing.

Volman, M., & Ten Dam, G. (2015). Critical thinking for educated citizenship. In M. Davies & R. Barnett (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of critical thinking in higher education (pp. 593–603). Palgrave Macmillan.

Wang, H., Tlili, A., Lehman, J. D., Lu, H., & Huang, R. (2021). Investigating feedback implemented by instructors to support online competency-based learning (CBL): a multiple case study. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 18(1), 5.

Wang, J., Mendori, T., & Xiong, J. (2014). A language learning support system using course-centered ontology and its evaluation. Computers & Education, 78, 278–293.

Wang, J., Ogata, H., & Shimada, A. (2017). A meaningful discovery learning environment for e-book learners. 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 1158–1165.

Wang, J., Shimada, A., Oi, M., Ogata, H., & Tabata, Y. (2020). Development and evaluation of a visualization system to support meaningful e-book learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 1–18.

Wardekker, W., Boersma, A., Ten Dam, G., & Volman, M. (2012). Motivation for school learning: Enhancing the meaningfulness of learning in communities of learners. In M. Hedegaard, A. Edwards, & M. Fleer (Eds.), Motives in children’s development: Cultural–historical approaches (pp. 153–170). Cambridge University Press.

Wu, W.-C. V., Hsieh, J. S. C., & Yang, J. C. (2017). Creating an Online Learning Community in a Flipped Classroom to Enhance EFL Learners’ Oral Proficiency. Technology & Society, 20(2), 142–157.

Zhan, Z., & Mei, H. (2013). Academic self-concept and social presence in face-to-face and online learning: Perceptions and effects on students’ learning achievement and satisfaction across environments. Computers & Education, 69(4), 131–138.