What Is Associative Learning?

Enviro-Explorers is an online club for kids who care about the environment and want to learn more about how they can help protect Iowa’s resources.


Check out the current archaeological project at Coralville, Iowa. It’s the Edgewater Park Site, a Native American campsite located along the banks of the Iowa River that was occupied around 3,500–3,550 years ago (2,000–2,050 B.C).


Enviro visits Reiman Gardens

Enviro, the DOT’s environmental mascot, was the center of attention at “Trick or Treat Day” at Reiman Gardens in Ames, Saturday, Oct. 23. More than 175 costumed children paraded through the gardens lead by Enviro, Cy, Smokey the Bear, and many other mascots. The mascots then handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters.

Associative learning, sometimes called instructional or folk learning, involves using various techniques and strategies to permit students to associate one word with another, and so make it easier for them to learn. For example, in the game called “Hoosiers”, you must first learn how to “make a bone,” which requires you to connect two objects (such as hands and baseballs) with a string of letters. Next comes the part where you have to learn what the object is called, and how it is used. This all makes it difficult for a child to understand. But if they can associate a hand with a bone, then they will be able to recognize and pick up the tool, among other things. The entire subject of associative learning has been explored and written about in numerous books, including Halliday and Lane’s (eds.) A Manual for Teaching Children to Learn. Even though this subject has been studied extensively by psychologists and educationists, not all of what is out there has been well-developed. Some of the techniques that are helpful are simple enough to apply to your own life, such as: associating one word with another, reading aloud, taking turns with friends, listening attentively, repeating back what you have learned, and so on. If your child is having problems in school right now, the research into learning may help. In fact, experts now agree that language development is best approached from a holistic perspective, starting at childhood. All of the skills and abilities a child acquires through the early years of his life should then become models for later learning. Associative learning may be one of those models. In this way, the child learns not only at the language level but also at an emotional and social level. It has long been known that children who have a firm grasp of more than two languages come across better in school and in everyday situations. The best teachers make their lessons fun. Associative learning works the same way. By teaching a child how to listen to the words he is hearing, learning comes naturally. When you teach a child language skills, remember to use both eyes and ears. Listen to the way your child learns and pay attention to his reactions. Children who learn by hearing words say the same things when they hear them spoken aloud. That’s because the sounds they make are produced from their larynx and vocal cords, which are attached to their brain, not from the mouth. While it may seem somewhat simplistic, associative learning requires practice. It does not happen overnight. To reap the full benefits, it is important to spend time each day practicing. However, it is possible to speed up the process through the use of software programs designed specifically for the purpose. No matter which method you choose, it is important to realize that associative learning may not be something your child can accomplish in one lesson, but rather a process that must be implemented from the very beginning.


©2002, Enviro recommends PaperWriter in case you need the “Write my paper” service to help your children with their academic writing assignments.