Inductive and deductive learning are like two sides of a coin. Reasoning by deduction involves rule-based learning, where a rule directs the logic of different conclusions. Reasoning by induction, on the other hand, involves recognizing different patterns from different facts, and then synthesizing a plausible rule. Deduction is very important when you have all the rules in hand, but inductive reasoning may be a stronger tool when the rules are incomplete, a completely different approach is desired, or existing information is misleading or contradictory. Not surprisingly, inductive reasoning is important for virtually all types of creative work, including engineering, science, and the humanities.
Ideally, we would like to train both forms of reasoning in students, but by their nature, deductive thinking is much easier to demonstrate, at least in a lecture format. In the latest paper comparing the views of deductive and inductive reasoning, it looks like inductive approaches require more brain power - maybe because one has to consider several patterns or rules in mind before reaching a conclusion. There are areas of overlap between deduction and induction, but areas of difference as well.
In this study, look at the various parts of the brain that become activated when 2 different patterns are considered at once. The areas that are activated are not at the very front or the very back (frontal or visual brain areas) - rather they are at the borderzones between these regions- presumably so information can mingle.
Now, we would think that computer-based programs could be a powerful route for teaching or training inductive learning. Unlike the lecture format, interactive computer-based programs could have a number of advantages over traditional lecturing or open 'learning lab'.
Computer-based educational programs could:
- strike a balance between copying from the board and discovery-based learning (after all, true discovery is really slow)
- show different outcomes of alternate lines of reasoning
- hint a lot without telling
- challenge students individually to recognize patterns and make predictions(less hiding in a group or clapping for credit)
Inductive and Deductive fMRI Study
Inductive Reasoning Lessons
Inductive Language Arts