Principles of learning and integrating STEM education pedagogy

Students’ prior knowledge – if this knowledge is robust and accurate it provides a strong foundation for building new knowledge. STEM education provides students with opportunities to activate and build on prior knowledge.

How students organise information influences how they learn and apply new knowledge – when students make connections between pieces of knowledge they are better able to retrieve and apply new knowledge. STEM education provides students with opportunities to organise and connect knowledge for retrieval/use.

Students’ motivation determines, directs and sustains what they learn – students gain greater autonomy over what, when and how they learn. Motivation plays a critical role in guiding the quality of learning that will take place. STEM education generates a high level of interest and motivation.

To develop fluency and automaticity, students must acquire component skills, practise integrating them and know when to apply what they have learned – students learn skills and knowledge necessary to perform complex tasks, integrating them to develop fluency. STEM immerses students in the application and integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Goal-directed practice combined with effective feedback enhances quality of learning – STEM provides students with a specific design challenge and ongoing feedback from peers, teachers and self evaluations of their solutions.

To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning – STEM engages students in a group design activity that encourages them to take responsibility for their planning, self-assessing, monitoring and reflection.