Mediated Learning Experience (MLE)

From Creating and Enhancing Cognitive Modifiability: The Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment Program by Reuven Feuerstein, Raphael S. Feuerstein, Louis Falik, and Yaacov Rand, 2006.

Mediated Learning Experience refers to the way in which stimuli experienced in the environment are transformed by a mediating agent, usually a parent, teacher, sibling, or other intentioned person in the life of the learner. This mediating agent, guided by intention, culture, and emotional investment, selects, enhances, focuses, and otherwise organizes the world of stimuli for the learner, according to a clear intention and goals for that learner’s enhanced and effective functioning. The mediator selects stimuli that are most appropriate to his/her intentions, and then frames, filters, and schedules them; their appearance or disappearance is arranged to structure the learner’s exposure according to clearly identified and explicit goals. Through this process, the learner acquires behavior patterns, awarenesses, and strategies that in turn become important ingredients in the capacity to be modified by further direct exposure to stimuli. Thus are acquired learning sets and strategies that have the potential to generalize to new and subsequent exposure to the stimuli of the world. . . . With MLE and the structural learning that is potentialized the learner can begin to “think about” objects and events in the world rather than being restricted to only dealing with them in their direct and concrete presence. . . . MLE is thus the crucial ingredient that determines differential cognitive development, and ensures Structural Cognitive Modifiability. . . . [It is important that the mediation occurs through] human interaction, not by a machine or another inanimate object (book, computer, etc.) The consequence of the imposition of the mediator is to enable the learner to incorporate a great variety of orientations and strategies into his/her/behavioral repertoire, which become crystallized in strategies for learning, and constitute the prerequisites for higher order mental operations.

What then is MLE? MLE represents a quality of interaction between the individual and his/her environment. The interaction is marked by a culturally determined need for each generation to shape the structure of the behavior of successive generations by transmitting the past, present, and future dimensions of the culture. . . . Mediated interaction thus has certain commonly experienced qualities and attributes that can be considered (1) universal, because without their presence in significant and focused ways, mediation cannot be considered to occur; and (2) interactions that are largely determined by specific situational events and circumstances, particular to a given time or place in the cultural context. The central feature which makes an interaction meditational is that the mediator has an intention to transcend the immediate needs or concerns of the recipient of mediation by going beyond the here and now, in space and time. The intentional and transcendent nature of the interaction is the defining characteristic of a mediated interaction. Nine parameters of MLE are determined by the situations and events to which the learner is exposed, and which present opportunities to expand and reinforce meditational objectives. According to the theory of MLE, they are responsible for the diversification of cognitive styles, modes of experiencing self and others, and ways of responding to stimuli.

The parameters of MLE can be summarized as follows:

Universal Parameters:
1) Intentionality/Reciprocity
2) Transcendence
3) Mediation of Meaning

Situational or Reinforcing Parameters:
1) Mediation of a feeling of competence
2) Mediation of regulation and control of behavior
3) Mediation of sharing behavior
4) Mediation of individuation and psychological differentiation
5) Mediation of goal seeking, goal setting goal achieving, and goal monitoring behavior
6) Mediation of challenge—the search for novelty and complexity
7) Mediation of the awareness of the human being as a changing entity
8) Mediation of the search for optimistic alternatives
9) Mediation of the feeling of belonging

The Instrumental Enrichment program is an application of the principles of MLE, which underlying principles are applicable to all age groups.  The program, and for that matter the entire theory, lends itself not only to remedial intervention but also to its use as a preventive measure in cases where there may be reason to anticipate future problems.  In terms of Instrumental Enrichment, the intervention is directed squarely at the individual rather than at factors external to his/her condition.