CHAPTER 2 : UNDERSTANDING 21st CENTURY LEARNERS1. What are three characteristics of the 21st century learner? i) The learners of the 21st century expect to be engaged in active, hands-on learning experience. They wish to be empowered to explore their ideas in their own ways, expecting the teacher to serve as a coach or facilitator, not as the person delivering the information. ii) The learners of the 21st century do not learn content in isolation. These students engaged in multitasking and view information in broad and networked format. These learners expect to work on interdisciplinary projects that challenge their reading and inquiry skills as they work on problems requiring knowledge and skills in overlapping content areas such as mathematics, social studies and health. Each student enters this type of learning experience with the understanding that there are specific outcomes and expectation, but the avenue to reach those outcomes and maybe different for each individual. iii) The learners of the 21st century also demonstrate a strong desire to learn from multiple formats beyond books, using multiple sources gathered via technology resources such as video, audio, and online sources. And they share that information with others through nonstructured means such as blogs or online journals. They also rely on their social network for ways to enhance their learning experience. Technology is already a seamless part of their personal lives with their connection to mobile technologies such as the cell phone. Integrating social media tools such as texting or Facebook into learning experience moves the teacher and learners closer together in a 21st century learning community.2. Describe the similarities and differences in the learning theories discussed in this chapter? As time goes by, different learning theories such as behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism have been used to improve learning and performance in Instructional Technology areas. Each of theories has unique features based on distinct perspectives of the learning process. In this essay, I will mainly discuss 5 things: (1) The basic principles of behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism, the main differences and similarities between behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism(2) The main differences and similarities between behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism, (3) Instruction process
influenced by behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism (4) Role of the teacheraccording to behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism, and (5)Role of the studentaccording to behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism.Before I begin to explain the main concept of each theory, let me provide the definitionof learning and theory. Researchers and educational practitioners identify learning innumerous ways. According to Shuell (as interpreted by Schunk, 1991), “Learning is anenduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion which resultsfrom practice or other forms of experience” (p.2). A theory is a general explanation forobservations made over time. (Dorin, Demmin& Gabel, 1990) Schunk (1991) definesfive questions to distinguish learning theories: (1) How does learning occurs?, (2) Whichfactor influence learning?, (3) What is the role of memory?, (4) How does transferoccur?, and (5) What types of learning are bet explaned by the theory? Also,Ertmer&Newby (Ertmer& Newby, 1993) added two more questions : (1) What basicassumptions/ principles of this theory are relevant to instructional design? and (2) Howshould instruction be structured to facilitate learning? With all questions above, I willdescribe the basic concepts of each theory.BehaviorismBehaviorism is based on observable changes in behavior. Behaviorism was used as thebasis for designing many of the early audio-visual materials and Pavlov, Watson,Thorndike and Skinner played an important role in developing behaviorism. Behaviorismfocuses on a new behavioral pattern being repeated until it becomes automatic includingthe use of instructional cues, practice, and reinforcement. In learning process, the keyelements are the stimulus, the response, and the association between the two. The learneris characterized as being reactive to conditions in the learning environments. Behavioristsplace great emphasis on environmental conditions. They identify which reinforces aremost effective for learners. Therefore, the most important factor in behaviorism is thearrangement of stimuli and consequences within the environment. Behaviorists do notaddress memory and transfer is a result of generalization in behavioral learning theories.Learning involves discriminations (recalling facts), generalizations (defining andillustrating concepts), associations (applying explanations), and chaining (automaticallyperforming a specified procedure). Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) and masterylearning is recent examples of behaviorism.Instructions in behaviorism have some characteristics: i. an emphasis on producing observable and measurable outcomes in students including behavioral objectives, task analysis, criterion-referenced assessment, pre-assessment of students to determine where instruction should begin, emphasis on mastering early steps before progressing to more complex levels of performance,
ii. use of reinforcement to impact performance, use of cues, shaping and practice to ensure a strong stimulus-response association (Ertmer& Newby, 1993).The role of teacher is to i. Determine which cues can elicit the desired responses, ii. Arrange practice situations in which prompts are paired with the target stimuli that initially have no eliciting power but which will be expected to elicit the responses in the natural setting, and iii. Arrange environmental conditions(Gropper, 1987).CognitivistCognitivist is based on the thought process behind the behavior. Cognitivist stresses theacquisition of knowledge and internal mental structures. In other words, it focuses onhow information is received, organized, stored, and retrieved by the mind. Cognitivistsalso place great emphasis on environmental conditions to facilitate learning. However,contrary to behaviorism, the learner is characterized as being very active in the learningprocess. Therefore, environmental conditions are not enough to explain wholeinstructional situation. The way that learners attend to, code, transform, rehearse, storeand retrieve information and learners’ thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and values are also keyelements of learning process. Memory in cognitivist is prominent because cognitivistsregard memory as the result of learning. It classifies sensory register, short-term memory,and long-term memory by how information is stored. The actual goal of instruction forbehaviorism and cognitivist is often to communicate or transfer knowledge to students.However, behaviorists focus on environmental condition while cognitivists stressefficient processing strategies.Instructions in cognitivist have some characteristics: i. Emphasis on the active involvement of the learner in the learning process, ii. Use of hierarchicalanalyses to identify and illustrate prerequisite relationships, iii. Emphasis on structuring,organizing, and sequencing information to facilitate optimal processing, and iv. Creation oflearning environments that allow and encourage students to make connections with previouslylearned material (Ertmer& Newby, 1993).The role of teacher is to i. Understand thatindividuals bring various learning experiences to the learning situation which can impactexperiences to the learning situation which can impact learning outcomes, ii. Determine themost effective manner in which to organize and structure new information to tap the learners’previously acquired knowledge, abilities, and experiences, and (3) Arrange practice with feedbackso that the new information is effectively and efficiently assimilated within the learner’scognitive structure (Stepich& Newby, 1988).
Constructivism Constructivism is based on the premise that we all construct our own perspective of them world, through individual experiences and schema. Behavioral and cognitive theories are primarily objectivistic: however, constructivist approach is more learner-centered. Although both cognitivists and constructivists view the learner as being actively involved in the learning process, the constructivists look at the learner as more than just an active processor of information. Learners create their own meaning of knowledge. Therefore, the goal of instruction is not to know particular facts but to elaborate and interpret information. In other words, the flexible use of preexisting knowledge is more valuable than the recall of prepackaged schemas (Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson, & Coulson, 1991). Both learner and environmental factors are important. In learning process, the key elements are activity (practice), concept (knowledge), and culture (context) (Brown, Collins, &Duguid, 1989). Transfer can be facilitated by involvement in authentic tasks anchored in meaningful contexts. The role of teacher is i. To instruct learners on how to construct meaning and ii. To align and design experiences for the learner so that authentic relevant contexts can be experienced. Instructions in constructivism have some characteristics: i. Anemphasis on the identification of the context in which the skills will be learned and subsequentlyapplied, ii. An emphasis on learner control and the capability of the learner to manipulate information, iii. The need for information to be presented in a variety of different ways, iv. Supporting the use of problem solving skills that allow learners to go “beyond the informationgiven”, v. Assessment focused on transfer of knowledge and skills (Ertmer& Newby,1993).3. What are the eight principles of effective instruction? a) Assess prior knowledge. Before you can provide instruction, you should gather relevant information about teach student’s knowledge and skill level. You need to know what knowledge your students already have learned. To learn from most materials and activities, students must possess prerequisite knowledge and skills(Newby, Stepich, Lehman @ Russell, 2010) b) Consider individual differences. Learners vary in terms of personality, general aptitude, knowledge of a subject and many other factors. Be ware of the multiple
learning needs of your students for example, whether a language other than English is spoken in a child’s home. You need to consider the technology and media experiences your students have had and what resources are essential to help your students learn. Effective instruction allows individuals to progress at different rated, cover different materials, and even participate in different activities (Cooper @ Varma,1997)c) State Objectives. For you and your students to know where instruction is going what is to be accomplished, the goals must be specified. Learning objectives must match expected outcomes or standards (Mager, 1997)d) Develop metacognitive skills. The skills of selective monitoring, evaluating and adjusting their approaches enhance students’ learning and help to make them lifelong learners. Learners need assistance in understanding how they learn and what resources help in that process(Nelson, 1992)e) Provide social interaction. Teachers and peers serving as tutors or group members can provide a number of pedagogical as well as social support. Learners gain experience and expertise when collaborating with others in and beyond the classroom(Jonassen, Howland, Marra&Crismond, 2008)f) Incorporate realistic contexts. Learners are most likely to remember and to apply authentic knowledge presented in a real-world context. Rote learning leads to inert knowledge that is learners know something but cannot apply it to real life. Students benefit from understanding how their knowledge and skills fit into the world around them(Brandsford, Brown & Cocking, 2000)g) Engage students in relevant practice. The most effective learning experiences are those requiring learners to practice skills that build toward and the desired outcome. Learners participation increases the probability of learning. Practice especially in varying contexts, improves retention rate and the ability to apply the new knowledge skill or attitude. Practice promotes deeper, longer lasting learning (Morrison &Lowther, 2010)h) Offer frequent, timely and constructive feedback. Student learning requires accurate information on misconception, misunderstanding, and weaknesses. Learners need to know if their thinking is on track. Feedback may come from a teacher, a tutor, electronic messages from a computer, the scoring system of a game or oneself. In addition to knowing that responses are incorrect, students need to know why they have been unsuccessful and how they can improve their performance. Further, knowingdetails about their correct responses in terms of how and why they are accurate helps students understand more about what they have learned (Black @ William, 1998)