Mediated Learning Experience (MLE)

Creating Optimal Learning Conditions

Through extensive clinical observations and scientific based research, renowned Cognitive Psychologist Reuven Feuerstein, found that the development of a personís thinking processes depends heavily upon interaction between the adult and the learner.  This special kind of interaction that helps raise the level of the learnerís thinking processes is what Feuerstein calls the Mediated Learning Experience (MLE).  Feuerstein argues that through the interactions of MLE, in which the adult interjects, interprets, adapts, the world to the learner in meaningful ways and then reflects back the responses, the learner can reach their highest potential.

The theory and application of MLE is not a skill that can be concretely taught, rather it is experientially learned.  The adult helps the learner to recognize the thinking processes that are necessary for problem solving.  The learner is then challenged to consider more efficient ways to arrive at a solution.  The adultís questioning procedures help the learner become aware of the rules and strategies that underlie effective problem solving.  The adultís meditational approach encourages discussion where the learner finds other situations in life where the same types of problem solving skills are useful.  This results in a skill that becomes generalized; able to be applied in various situations that may occur elsewhere in time or place (school or daily life, both now and in the future). 

 There are many reasons why mediation in the learnerís world may be less than optimal.  For example, insufficient mediation may result from the pressures of family disruptions, poverty, or a dramatic cultural transition.  Individuals also differ in their needs for mediation.  Learners with specific difficulties may require more mediation or more specialized learning situations.

Feuersteinís theory and applications of MLE underlies both in the Learning Propensity Assessment Device (LPAD) and Feuersteinís Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) programs.  Many people are natural mediators, questioning and challenging others to seek deeper information and experience in daily tasks.  Socrates was a great mediator.  If you think of the teachers that significantly affected your learning, chances are they were the teachers who were meditational.  Indeed, the most effective learners are those who have been mediated rather than instructed.


Material adapted from Feuerstein, R.; Feuerstein, R.; Falik, L.; Rand, Y. (2006) The Instrumental Enrichment Program, ICELP Publications, Jerusalem, Israel.