Prior Knowledge Activation
Learners often find it difficult to gain new knowledge regarding a subject that they have never been exposed to earlier on. This is why having prior knowledge to build upon is an important part of learning. Therefore, to gain new knowledge and progress in the process of learning, it is essential for the instructor to know how to activate prior knowledge of the learners. This prior knowledge must be intimately related to matter that the learner is about to get taught. If the wrong prior knowledge is activated, it renders learning more difficult for the students.
The new material given by the instructor to the learners should be more advanced compared to the prior knowledge possessed by the learners. An example of activation of prior learning is in mathematics, where geometry, trigonometry, and algebra are taught before embarking on calculus. When teaching calculus for the first time, it is imperative for the instructor to activate the prior knowledge of the students regarding algebra and trigonometry. The concepts in the prior knowledge are still applicable to the new material, making it easier for the students to grasp the new knowledge.
An advanced organizer activates prior knowledge systematically. To ensure that the prior knowledge is relevant to the learner, the instructor must ensure that the relevant prior knowledge is activated; irrelevant prior knowledge is minimized; and missing prior knowledge is compensated for. In addition to making it easier for students to learn new material, prior knowledge activation is a crucial support for the struggling students. It helps in making connections between the existing knowledge and what is about to be taught. It also conjures up the interest of the learners in the new material.