Rote Learning Vs Meaningful Learning

There are times that we likely and tend to understand the given materials rather than memorizing it or vice versa, that is when the rote and meaningful learning occurs. These two are learning methods which use to acquire knowledge however they differ from each other.

Rote learning is simply the memorization of learnings like memorizing numbers and alphabet in a sing-song manner. It only offers memorizing usually by continued learning and does not involves comprehension. This way of learning is one step to process learnings. However, some scholars say that this is not hundred percent effective, yet most of us use this method and considered as one common way of learning. This method helps to create foundation of knowledge in a way that it provides some recalled topics that we’ve learned in the previous. Rote learning doesn’t allow us to understand deeply the words we opt to memorize since we just remember it for short period of time then there’s a possibility that we could loss and forget it permanently.

Meaningful learning is how we exert efforts just to understand and analyze how those entire concepts are being constructed. For example, if a child tries to identify and recognize the alphabet symbols and understands that each letter represents a sound and put together to form set of words, then it will mark to their minds and know the process always. It is considered as an active, constructive and long-lasting in which the learned information stays permanently in learner’s mind. It is also the tendency in which we relate our newly acquired learnings with the prior knowledge that we have, unlike with rote learning that we tend to memorize the information since this is the only thing we could resort with. Learners could not relate their prior knowledge with the new information since they find it too difficult to absorb. Meaningful learning develops students’ retention skills that helps them to recall the topics and use this for them to easily connect their previous knowledge with the newly acquired materials. In meaningful learning, students should acquire knowledge which is delivered clearly and relevant based on their own previous learnings.

Some experts say that it is essential for students to learn through understanding the given materials rather that memorizing it. According to Richard Feynman (1965 Nobel Prize winner in Physics) that understanding is more important than memorization! To memorize doesn’t guarantee to recall the topic always and it also does not encompasses understanding. However, rote learning helps us in higher level thinking wherein students can first memorize the basic material so that they can refer to it later on when dealing with more advance lessons and learning. While meaningful learning occurs when a child able to comprehend and understand new concepts and that concepts will use to connect or relate to another new learning situation. They said that, if we are learning with thorough understanding, then it will be easier for us to comprehend the whole idea of the content. The acquired knowledge will then stay in a long-term memory and serves as lifelong learnings.


1. Why is it important that a learner should learn in a meaningful learning manner? Cite some positive effects of meaningful learning to student’s learning process.

2. Why does memory learning considered as better and effective than the rote learning? Support your answer.


Prepared by: Giena Odicta, PhD

CriterionPossible ScoreYour Score
Summary4 points 
The students present key/major ideas of the assigned topic.   Key ideas are connected in a concise but understandable manner.(2 pts)       (2 pts) 
Reaction6 points 
The student can identify major issues/tensions in the paper affecting him/her and/or instructions/society at large.   The students can connect the implications of his/her readings to actual practice.   The student can write at least 2 thought provoking questions that might lead to a large-scale discussion in the class.(2 pts)         (2 pts) 
Total10 points 

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