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Types of Discovery Learning
Discovery Learning is an overall educational concept and theory.  Within this theory two separate types of discovery learning occur: guided discovery learning and autonomous discovery learning.  The difference between the two stemming from the interaction of a teacher and a student.  Guided learning the teacher helps the student along with procedural and processing help allowing the student to develop knowledge not entirely on their own but as an active participant.  Autonomous discovery learning is where the student has control of his own educational process, acting independently from a teacher, they create their own inquiry basis.

These two types of discovery learning can be directly correlated to rote (the process of learning something by repeated study rather than by understanding the meaning) and meaningful learning (understanding the meaning).  Meaningful discovery learning, as when an individual sees on his own, how attributes or functions of some instrument or object relate to concepts in his cognitive growth (concept development) but also provides the individual with a strong positive affective experience that can motivate further study (Novak, 1977).


Meaningful   
Learning       ^-Well designed                                  Scientific research
                  l  audio-tutorial                                    New music
                  l    instruction                                       or architecture
                  l
                  l
                  l
                  l--------------------------------------Most routine
                  l                                                "research" or
                  l                                                intellectual
                  l- School laboratory                              production
                  l         work
                  l                 
                  l- Applying formulas                              Trial and error
Rote           l to solve problems                             "puzzle solutions"
Learning      <--------------------------------------------------------->
                    Guided Discovery                          Autonomous
                               Learning                                    Discovery
                                                                                  Learning
Graph is from J. Novak's book, A Theory of Education

By looking at the graph it is easy to see that while guided discovery learning can produce meaningful learning, it is autonomous discovery learning that produces higher qualified individuals with meaningful learning.