New learning theory


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  • I ’ m gratified that so many of you showed interest in today ’ s topic I was really overwhelmed. I wasn ’ t sure what the reaction would be. This presentation should run about an hour. I have about 50 slides so I need to keep things moving. Some of the things I have to say may be controversial but I would appreciate it if we could save those conversations till the end. However, please feel free to ask clarifying questions. This is not a technology discussion.
  • Theory Theory in general… discuss what a theory is and why we need to use theory? Behaviorism Review behaviorist theory…. Discuss how we apply it in our training programs Cognitivism & Constructivism Review Cognitivist and constructivist theory and discuss their implications for training
  • Let me remind you that this is just a presentation not a training session. I think the most that I can hope for is that you will leave with some interest or at least some things to think about.
  • Now, let ’ s look a a couple of quotations about instructional design theory.
  • Ask them if they know what they are 1. Network operating systems, PC operating systems, PC applications etc. 2. RoboHelp, Flash , Icon author, etc. 3. Point three is the focus of my topic. Need to fill in holes left be absence of instructor.
  • Since we are going to be discussing New Learning theories I thought it might be a good idea to discuss the concept of theory. Theory of relativity Economic theories Etc. Some people have an aversion to the word theory. They think theory is just pie in the sky speculation ... something for those people in the ivory towers to worry about They ’ re driven by fact and don ’ t have much use for theory
  • But theory is not fact In it ’ s simplest form theory is just a plausible explanation.
  • Economic theory Social theory Behavioral theory Example: Human nature…It ’s human nature for people to….. WOLF BOY Whenever you make an assumption or prediction there ’s usually some sort of theory behind what you’re saying.
  • Expanding our common sense understanding of causes and effects to include new theories can broaden our horizons.
  • You may remember Popper as the guy that established one of the cardinal rules for formulating scientific hypothesis. According to Popper in order for a hypothesis to be legitimate it must meet the criterion of falsifiability. That is, there must be a way to test whether it is true or false.
  • THIS GOES WITH THE FIRST STATEMENT We don ’ t know for Certain how people learn so we need theory. THIS GOES WITH THE SECOND STATEMENT You can write a training module without a reflexive awareness by following a process…. but doing so will probably result in your later efforts being no better than your first efforts.
  • “ Quantum mechanics challenges modern representational epistemology on all possible grounds by theorizing a realm of being in which the perceiving subject cannot adequately grasp the objects of perception. (sub atomic particles) ” Best & Kellner 1997 Fractal Theory Chaos Theory If physical science can undergo such a radical transformation then what does that say about the social sciences?
  • Kuhn was a philosopher of science. You may wonder why we need… Lyotard - The collapse of metanarratives The grand stories by which we make meaning. A example is the age of reason (instrumental reason) empiricism. Liberalism in it pure sense, that is stressing individualism. Faith in progress. Empiricism
  • METANARRATIVES Idealism Linear progress
  • The postmodern movement has caused a polarization in the intellectual community. OBJECTIVISM VS. SUBJECTIVISM but here ’ s where it concerns us INSTRUCTIVISM VS. CONSTRUCTIVISM
  • Rat story Maybe - especially if I need a laugh or to lighten up.
  • As Mager tells us we must have measurable objectives.
  • Pavlov ’ s dog
  • This was a conscious effort to eliminate mental processes because they couldn ’t be observed; a kind of extreme empiricism. If you can’t observe it, it’s not worth studying. That ’s because behaviorism itself is based on a theory. The theory of Positivism or empiricism. The only things that can be known are those things that can be observed.
  • This Ladies and Gentleman is the mind as seen by behaviorists - represented as A black box. Changing the input results in predictable changes in the output. Responses to given stimuli can be predicted based on empirical research. Observing behaviors.
  • I think most of us intuitively understand that very complex processing goes on in the mind which can have an influence on the design of curriculum. So we do more than just base our training on nice neat measurable objectives. Before I go on to discuss the new learning theories I want to emphasize that I am not advocating replacing CRI with an alternative. CRI provides a process that I think I think is useful and necessary… especially for the more straightforward work tasks…. and there are still plenty of those However, I think we can benefit from different perspectives, particularly when it comes to actually developing the curriculum.
  • It ’s what goes on in the black box.
  • What happens within the black box. Jonasson ’s paper - Objectivism vs. constructivism: Do we Need a New Philosophical Paradigm? - 1991` This paper is what started me thinking that was about 1995 when I first read it. One of the problems with cognitivism as I see it is that at one point it became a very empirically driven project. From my point of view this happened when the field was pretty much taken over by computer scientists in an effort to program computers to mimic humans.
  • Piaget- Swiss Psychologist Assimilate Add to one ’ s existing cognitive structures Accommodate Existing cognitive structures have to be modified somewhat to adapt to the new information. Or put another way: The individual understands new experiences by relating them to prior experience. If the current experience doesn't make sense in relation to prior experiences, disequilibrium occurs. Disequilibrium requires the individual to readjust existing mental schema or create new schema in order to create meaning or understanding of the event that caused the disequilibrium. (Need examples)
  • As we all know, a lot goes on in that black box. The relationships between the inputs and outputs is not as direct as once thought. When appropriate curriculum should give students the ability and opportunity to synthesize and analyze. Students need rich curriculum to work with.
  • Obviously it is easier to assimilate than to accommodate. This has implications for the design of content. You may be presenting material that is so foreign to the students experience that it takes an act of accommodation to learn it. This requires a thorough and innovative approach to developing curriculum. So a cognitvist analysis would try to identify these areas.
  • Could introduce this topic by talking about the radical constructivists ant tie it to postmodernism.
  • In spite of what you may have heard, I didn ’t model for this clip art back when I had my mustache. As much as we would like to, we cannot pour knowledge into student's heads.
  • Talk about transfer and how important it is.
  • This is the most important point take away from this presentation. You can either develop curriculum that pretty much asks the student to memorize information or you can try to find ways to help students construct meaning which will stay with them and transfer to unique situations. In other words, you have to find a way within the curriculum, to get the student to think.
  • The last topic to discuss under cognitive constructivism is learner control. Since the student learns by constructing their own knowledge, it ’ s thought that giving them some control of the curriculum will facilitate learning. Fortunately e-learning technology provides ways to implement learner control.
  • Situated Learning - John Seeley Brown Performance support systems!!! Communities of practice Two Service Reps working together in class. Service Rep bull sessions.
  • Have you ever wondered why a given student just didn ’t catch on to something everyone else was getting. It may not have been their intelligence or even their lack of technical prerequisites.
  • They know from experience that when they try to apply the rules or procedures something unique will happen and they will be on their own. In some cases it is more appropriate to get them to assimilate information into their existing structures or even to accommodate information by changing their structures.
  • Note: this is the main point of my introducing new learning theory .
  • Note: Our target population has changed over the years. Just like we have had to change.
  • Here we have the student. Notice that the box is no longer black. Now we have the developer and the question is …. Given a knowledge of constructivism and cognitivism what does the developer do differently?
  • New learning theory

    1. 1. 1A discussion of the trends in learning theory and thepractical implications for instructional design.Tell me and Ill forget;show me and I may remember;involve me and Ill understand.- Chinese Proverb
    2. 2. 2OverviewTheoryConstructivismBehvaviorismCognitivismIntroductory RemarksApplications
    3. 3. 3The goal of this presentation is to stir your imagination...- to get you to challenge your assumptions about howto develop training.- to get you to reflect on the nature of learning
    4. 4. 4“The field of instructional design has enjoyedconsiderable success over the last two decades...Based largely on behavioristic premises ID isadjusting to cognitive ways of viewing the learningprocess.”but it is now facing some of the pains expected alongwith its growth.Quoted from “Cognitive approaches to InstructionalDesign”, Wilson, Jonassenand Cole
    5. 5. 5“In attempting to simplify learning in order to improveinstructional efficiency and effectiveness, InstructionalSystems Technology may be short circuiting relevantmental processing.Quoted from “Objectivism vs.. Constructivism: Do WeNeed a New Philosophical Paradigm?” , D. JonassenETR&D Vol. 39, No. 3. PP 5-14 ISNN 1042-1629Designers attempts to simplify learning risk supplantingthe complexity that is inherent in the learning process orthe task to be learned.”
    6. 6. 6The digital environment poses several problemsfor Instructional designers:- New digital technologies must be understood inorder to develop course content.- Our increasing use of e-learning requires familiaritywith new software tools.- e-learning, with its lack of personal contact, placesan additional burden on the curriculum.- Students are now knowledge workers whose tasksare difficult to define.
    7. 7. 7“Hostility toward theory usually means anopposition to other people’s theories and anoblivion to one’s own.”Terry Eagleton
    8. 8. 8- explainWe use theories to help us:- understandA theory is nothing more than a plausible explanation.- predict
    9. 9. 9Everyone carries around with them their ownpersonal theoriesWe use theories to guide our perceptions andactions.Theories are what we use to understand anotherwise impossibly confusing world.
    10. 10. 10What is theory ?Theory provides a general explanation for observationsmade over time.Theory explains and predicts behavior.Theory can never be established beyond alldoubt.Theory may be modified.Theories are seldom thrown out completelybut in some cases have been widelyaccepted for a long time and thendisproved.
    11. 11. 11“Theory places things in a causalcontext that is wider than the causalcontext provided by common sense.”Paul Feyerabend
    12. 12. 12“Theories are built on piles driven down intothe swamp; not down to any given base.Although they are really firm enough to carrythe structure.”Karl Popper
    13. 13. 13Instructional design and development must bebased on some theory of learning or cognition.Truly effective design is enabled only when thedeveloper has developed reflexive awareness ofthe theoretical basis underlying the design.Why all this talk abouttheory?
    14. 14. 14Florida State UniversityMasters in distance LearningEDP 5216 Theories of Learning and Cognition in InstructionSyracuse UniversityMaster in Instructional DesignIDE 614 Instructional Design Theory and practiceUniversity of South AlabamaMS Instructional Design & DevelopmentEPY 502 Psychological Principles of LearningBoise StateMS Instructional and performance TechnologyIPT 535 Learning Theory for Instructional DesignersUtah State UniversityMS Instructional DevelopmentInst. 6260: Instructional Design TheoryRhodes UniversityMA in Distributed LearningDL 501 Learning Theory and its Application in the Design &Development of Distributed Learning
    15. 15. 15There is said to be a qualitative change insociety in these times. It is variously labeledpost industrialism, the information age orpostmodernism.
    16. 16. 16Newtonian Physics Quantum PhysicsContinuumNewtonian Physics Quantum PhysicsRuptureThe Structure of Scientific RevolutionsThomas Kuhn 1962What followed was chaos theory, fractal theory and otherindeterminancy theories that are redefining the naturalsciences
    17. 17. 17Modernism / Postmodernism“Contemporary societies with their new technologies,novel forms of culture and striking economic, social andpolitical transformations….constitute a decisive rupture with previous forms of life,bringing to an end the modern era.”The Postmodern Turn, Best & Kellner 1997
    18. 18. 18The Postmodern Condition: A Report on KnowledgeJean Francois Lyotard 1979Unquestioning belief in Reason & RationalityEmpiricism and ObjectivismApodictic TruthPostmodernism challenges theconcept of Metanarratives:IdealismFaith in ProgressIn postmodernity, society confronts its ownrationalist and technicist myths (truth,reason, freedom, totality and representationjust as earlier society confronted thenaturalist and religious myths of feudalism.
    19. 19. 19Modernism PostmoderismQuantitative emphasisSo what’s the relevance of Postmodernism forinstructional design?Objectivism SubjectivismQualitative emphasisInstructivism Constructivism
    20. 20. 20I say Instructivism I say ConstructivismHowever, all are not in agreement.
    21. 21. 21What is the dominant learning theory underwhich most insructional design is developed
    22. 22. 22Behaviorism is the school of psychologythat seeks to explain human behaviorentirely in terms of observable andmeasurable responses to environmentalstimuli.
    23. 23. 23Learning is a gradual strengthening of thelearned relationship between cue andbehaviorThe relationship is strengthened byreinforcement.
    24. 24. 24Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control ofbehavior. Introspection forms no essential part of itsmethods,nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon thereadiness with which they lend themselves tointerpretation in terms of consciousness.”J. B. Watson Speech, 1913Some History“Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purelyobjective experimental branch of natural science.
    25. 25. 25Stimulus Response
    26. 26. 26Criterion Referenced Instruction is based on Behavioristtheory.• A stimulus is provided, usually in the form of ashort presentation or a reading assignment.• A response is required, often in the form of theanswer to a question.• Feedback is given as to the accuracy of theresponse.• Inaccurate responses result in either arepetition of the original stimulus or asomewhat modified and often simpler versionof it.
    27. 27. 27New learning theory is the shift in focus fromstimulus response associations to mentalrepresentations.
    28. 28. 28What are these new learningtheories?CognitivismConstructivism
    29. 29. 29“Learning, according to cognitivepsychology, is concerned not so muchwith behavioral responses but ratherwith what learners need to know they acquire it.”David Jonassen
    30. 30. 30Cognitive theories of learning focus on the mindand attempt to model how information is receivedby accommodation or assimilation, and thenrestored and recalled
    31. 31. 31Stimulus ResponseAssimilationorAccommodation
    32. 32. 32The mind has the ability to:formulatesynthesizeanalyzereceived information and stimuli,and extract from -in order to produce outputs that cannotbe directly attributed to the inputsgiven.
    33. 33. 33What does assimilation andaccommodation have to do withdeveloping curriculum?More about Assimilation & AccommodationCurriculum Content should varydepending on whether informationwill be assimilated oraccommodated
    34. 34. 34A Cognitive ModelInputResponseSensoryMemoryShort TermMemoryLong TermMemory
    35. 35. 35Constructivism builds on cognitive theoryand holds that knowledge is not passivelyreceived, but is actively built up(Constructed) by the thinking subject.Constructivism advocates Active Learning
    36. 36. 36Learning is an active process in whichlearners construct new ideas orconcepts based upon their current andpast knowledge.The learner selects and transformsinformation, constructs hypotheses,and makes decisions, relying oncognitive structures to do so.Cognitive structures which can bethought of as schemas or mentalmodels provide meaning andorganization to experiences and allowsthe individual to go beyond theinformation given.
    37. 37. 37Ideas and thoughts cannot becommunicated in the sense thatmeaning is packaged into words andimages and communicated to studentswho unpack the meaning.
    38. 38. 38InformationInformationInformationInformationEnough already!
    39. 39. 39According to constructivist learningtheory:Knowledge encoded from data bylearners themselves will be moreflexible, transferable, and useful….than knowledge encoded for them byexperts and transmitted to them by aninstructor or other delivery agent.If you don’t take anything else away from thispresentation, please reflect on and try to internalize thisand the next slide...Learners learn best when they discoveror are led to discover for themselves.
    40. 40. 40Students must be enabled to constructtheir own meanings with the aid ofcurriculum.Each student must be enabled tobuild her or his own conceptualconstructs that will enable theordering of knowledge for use inunique work situations.Learners learn best what they discoveror are led to discover for themselves.
    41. 41. 41“The idea of learner control is essential toconstructivism because constructivistlearning relies on the learner doing thework of learning”(Dershem 1996)
    42. 42. 42Learning is a social, collaborativeactivityLearners can only interpret informationin the context of their own experiences.Learning occurs most effectively incontext.
    43. 43. 43We try to design curriculum that willresult in students acquiring the discreetknowledge they need.and construct meaning relative to theirown needs backgrounds and interests.However they will interpret thecurriculum in the context of their ownexperiences and existing knowledge,
    44. 44. 44Students build on their pre-existingknowledge- to actively construct new knowledgecollaboratively,- following learning paths that suit theirown interests and needs.- in a rich contextual setting,
    45. 45. 45Too often our curriculum teachesstudents to follow rules or procedures,which they aren’t inclined to do.
    46. 46. 46Resist the temptation to be solelydriven by content that is easilydeveloped and measured.Be sensitive to subtle yet highly valuedoutcomes and effects.It may or may not be possible to reducewhat is to be learned down to facts orproceduresMany important learning outcomescan’t be easily measured.
    47. 47. 47In day to day practice knowledge workers makeinnumerable judgements of quality for whichthey cannot state adequate criteria, and theydisplay skills for which they cannot state rules orprocedures.D. A Schon The Reflective practitionerIn other words, the work of experts can’t bereduced to easily taught processes or tasks,and training based only on objective analysiscannot make experts.
    48. 48. 48Knowledge workers need:- conceptual understanding- non-procedural problem solving skills.
    49. 49. 49“The only remedy is to design richlearning experiences and interactions.The best analysis almost always fallsshort of the mark.Then learners can pick up, on theirown, that which would be missed byletting content be driven strictly byanalysis.”Brent Wilson , The PostmodernParadigm
    50. 50. 50• but must be given the opportunity toaccommodate certain information.• will build cognitive structures or mentalmodels as they learn.• will interpret information in the context oftheir own experience.• can make the sum of the curriculumequal to more than the parts• But only If given the opportunity by the curriculumGiven the chance with the right curriculum, students:• can assimilate much new information into theirexiting structures.
    51. 51. 51Cognitivist & Constructivist TechniquesUse progressive disclosure through hints to encouragestudent to think before giving them the answers.Provide reflection exercises as learning devices.Have students look back over their efforts tocomplete a task and analyze their own performance.Use Metaphors or analogies to help studentsmake connections with their existing knowledge.Use modeling – Show how a process unfolds andtell how and why it happens that way.Provide coaching : anticipate questions, defineterms, define concepts.
    52. 52. 52Cognitivist & Constructivist TechniquesUse scaffolding – Support learners with parts ofthe task and gradually provide less support (fading).Use guided discovery techniques.Provide multiple representations of content anddifferent perspectives.Provide multiple paths to learning elements to givestudents choices of ways to learn.Use concept maps to show relationships.Acknowledge complexities – don’t over-simplify by reducing work to tasks.
    53. 53. 53Cognitivist & Constructivist TechniquesUse case studies and stories.Employ Socratic Dialogue by asking leadingquestions.Provide role-playing exercises.Have students articulate, i.e, think about and givereasons for their decisions and strategies.Focus on how work actually gets done ratherthan on tasks.Revisit the same material at different times fromdifferent conceptual perspectives.
    54. 54. 54Cognitivist & Constructivist TechniquesMake students aware of the knowledge building process.Give students the opportunity to explore for solutions,to try out different strategies and hypotheses.Provide exploration opportunities.Ask questions that create cognitive dissonance andthat require thought rather than recall.Provide exercises so that students generate their ownmeaning.Make use of cognitive task analysis.Use evaluation techniques other than just acriterion test.
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