What lessons do we take away from our exploration of paradigms and theories? If anything, we can say with confidence that no one theory or paradigm is necessarily the RIGHT one. We may do best to understand and synthesize information from the various perspectives to create learning opportunities that appropriately address our learning goals. With that in mind, let’s explore the material from this week.
AECT definitions since 1963 have emphasized learning. The differences in the different definitions are in how strongly technology relates to changing learner ability. Earlier definitions focused on controlling learning, and were strongly rooted in behaviorist learning theory and feedback. The definitions in the 1970s emphasized the processes of instruction, problem solving, and systematic design (delivery of knowledge). There was little focus on learning process or outcome. The 1977 definition defined human learning as the end purpose, but still focused on analyzing problems and implementing solutions. The 1972 definition perhaps begins to move toward the current one in that it talks about facilitating learning.
In our lesson this week we were introduced to three dominant paradigms in education today are the postpositivism/objectivism; interpretivism/constructivism/relativism; and critical theory. The theories presented in the article align most closely with the first two paradigms
Critical theory may be considered to be an ideology or a position rather than a paradigm or theory. It draws on principles of the postpositivism and interpretivism.
Learning theories are descriptive in that they describe the ways in which people learn: how people gain knowledge, various processes and their interaction. Instructional theories, however, are prescriptive. Linking the two is difficult and can lead to inaccurate, ineffective, application of solutions.
The application of resources is influenced by one’s perspective on how people learn.Likewise, policy is affected by one’s view on learning. As we have seen recently, seeing learning as teacher-controlled can lead to policies holding teachers accountable. Seeing learning as being learner controlled, however, could lead to policies where each party has responsibilities--students to be motivated learners, teachers to assume responsibility for the teaching aspect.
Our reading presents three major perspectives in learning theory. We’ll examine them in the coming slides.
Behaviorism is the theory that suggests knowledge is transmitted through a pattern of stimulus and response. In behaviorist teaching methods, a planned course of instruction is delivered to the student to effect change.
Our reading focused on radical behaviorism and operant conditioning present a pattern of stimuli, response, and consequences to effect new behaviors. The impact has been in providing frameworks and templates for instruction (soft technology), which were later incorporated into mechanical and digital formats. Behaviorism falls into the postpositivist/objectivist paradigm, which finds that reality is external to the mind and discoverable facts exist. This view promotes the transmission of knowledge.
B. F. Skinner is a dominant figure in behaviorism. His “teaching machines” opened the field of programmed instruction. Skinner referred to his strategies as the “technology of teaching.” The next several slides address the influence of teaching machines.
Two prominent early projects in CAI were developed at Stanford University in the 1960s and Brigham Young University in the 1970s. The Stanford program offered drill & practice in math, reading, and foreign languages, while the Brigham Young University program offered more learner-centered programs in math and English. Neither Stanford nor BYU gained significant adoption in their target markets
The PLATO project used networked terminals and simplified programming language, TUTOR. It eventually spread to hundreds of sites and offered online forums, message boards, email, chat rooms, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, multiplayer games.
Behaviorism made several significant contributions to the learning process. Perhaps the most dramatic contribution was in making the student an active participant in the learning process.
Behaviorist technologies presented a number of cautions in their adoption. One of the key issues was the application of learning outside the classroom. in addition, behaviorist technologies were costly and time consuming to implement.
Cognitivism grew out of the field of cognitive psychology. It attempts to understand the role of mental processes in learning.
Cognitivism blends elements of the postpositivism and interpretivism paradigms. Although early influences emerged in the 1920s and 30s, Cognitivism did not have a significant impact in the United States until the 1960s. The next slides addresse some of the influencing factors.
Jean Piaget’s work with children resulted in a theory of frameworks for organizing information. Piaget concluded there were fixed stages of cognitive development.
The next several slides present several dominant cognitive theories that emerged.
The role of cognitivism in Educational Technology focuses more on presentation of learning and organization of content, and stimulating the learner’s mental processes. The next several slides addresses areas of learning closely connected to cognitivism.
Here we consider the impact of cognitivism on faciltating learning.
A significant contribution was the development of frameworks for learning.
Constructivism falls into the interpretivist paradigm: knowledge is constructed through experience; education should be partcipatory and collaborative; multiple realities exist
Our reading identified several issues that have arisen in defining constructivism.
The next several slides address developments in learning theory and practice that have grown out of the constructivist movement.
The following three strategies have endured as the focus of constructivist methods in the modern learning environment.
Constructivism in modern educational technology supports an engaged and empowered learner, and recognizes the learner and instructor as equal stakeholders in the process.
Constructivism has opened up dialog about the merits and implications of constructivism; and introduced new methods for exploration.
Studies suggest that cognitivist based instruction may be less effective for novices and best suited for advanced learners who already have foundational knowledge.
In the late 1990s, the term learner-centered education came into use as a collective way to address the various learning perspectives, especially the principles of cognitivism and constructivism. The principles of learner-centered education attempt to address learning in the various domains and to create instruction that adapts to individual learners.As we go forward in our studies, it is important to keep in mind that learning can be both formal and informal, structured and unstructured, assessed and not assessed. As technology evolves, educational technologists must keep in mind that humans have ever increasing options for learning. Instruction is only one part of the learning equation. Other factors to address include design, motivation, learner needs and abilities, the setting, and the appropriate, effective use of media. We must keep the end goal -- learning -- at the forefront.
An overview of paradigms and theories<br />Week 3 Review<br />
Educational Technology<br />From our reading this week, we know that AECT defines Educational technology as the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.<br />
Focus on Learning<br />Learning is the end product <br />Prior focus on messages, control, and processes (1970s)<br />1972 definition foreshadows the current one<br />
Paradigms and Theories<br />A paradigm is a belief system or a framework for a set of values or concepts<br />A theory is a model that attempts to provide an explanation for how something occurs (learning, in this case)<br />Paradigms: postpositivism/objectivism; interpretivism/constructivism/relativism; and critical theory<br />
Critical Theory<br />Ideology or a position <br />Draws on the principles and methods of the other two paradigms<br />Asserts that learning should foster empowerment and promote social justice<br />
From Learning Theory to Instructional Theory <br />Learning theories describe the ways in which people learn (descriptive)<br />Instructional theories address ways to deliver knowledge (prescriptive)<br />Difficult to link prescriptive instructional solutions to descriptive learning theory<br />
Perspectives Have Consequences <br />The application of resources is influenced by one’s perspective on how people learn<br />Likewise, policy is affected by one’s view on learning <br />
Learning Defined and Viewed From Different Perspectives <br />Learning facilitates change in performance through experiences and interactions (paraphrase of Driscoll, 2005). <br />Each theory emphasizes different elements of learning and the learners role or process.<br />
Behaviorism <br />Focus on radical behaviorism and operant conditioning<br />Falls into the postpositivist/objectivist paradigm<br />
Behaviorism in Educational Technology<br />B. F. Skinner applied operant conditioning to learning <br />Created an interactive device to deliver individual instruction through drill-and-practice lessons<br />Teaching machines, as they were called, opened the field of programmed instruction<br />
Teaching Machines and Programmed Instruction <br />Programmed instruction is linear (no choices for the user)<br />Feedback consists of the correct answer<br />The field became known as educational technology during this time<br />
Programmed Tutoring – Structured Tutoring <br />A live tutor leads the student through the material<br />Provides personal reinforcement for correct answers and prompts for incorrect responses<br />Allowed students to work out incorrect answers rather than being given the correct response<br />Students scored significantly higher compared to traditional methods<br />
Direct Instruction <br />Scripted, small group instruction<br />Characterized by rapid and constant group interaction<br />Uses continuous learner responses with instructor feedback <br />
Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) <br />The “Keller Plan”<br />Structured content of a course or curriculum presented sequentially and offered through self-paced study<br />Students must demonstrate proficiency to move from one unit to another<br />A proctor provides coaching to correct any mistakes on the proficiency test<br />
Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI)<br />Followed drill & practice and tutorial formats <br />Mid-1960s Stanford University<br />1970s TICCIT project at Brigham Young University<br />
1961, PLATO Project at University of Illinois - <br />Used networked terminals and simplified programming language, TUTOR<br />Drill & practice with some branching<br />Broad coverage of college-level material<br />Via experience and technology, additional strategies developed including labs and discovery methods <br />
Behaviorism and Facilitating Learning<br />Possible to dramatically improve learning outcomes through careful control of the delivery (using operant conditioning principles)<br />Led to instructional systems design due to the methods of analyzing tasks, identifying objectives, chunking the content, and engaging in a patter of responses and feedback<br />Allowed students to work on their own, shifting instruction from the teacher-centered, group-based model; made the student an active participant in the learning process.<br />Applied across learning domains (cognitive, affective, motor skills)<br />
Drawbacks/Roadblocks to Adoption<br />Behaviorist technologies measured learning in terms of test scores: does this represent real learning/authentic application? will students apply the learning in the real-world or outside the classroom?<br />Schools, colleges not prepared for the organizational changes necessary<br />Teachers resist challenges to traditional, teacher-centered methods<br />Changes are expensive - cost of technology must be offset by cost reductions in labor and infrastructure<br />
Cognitivism<br />Set of psychological theories that attempt to describe how students leverage their mental processes<br />Differs from behaviorism in that it acknowledges the need to understand internal mental processes<br />
Cognitivism<br />Crosses the line between postpositivism and interpretivism: transitional in nature and blends elements of the two paradigms<br />Addresses how the brain structures and stores information, and adapts those structures to accommodate exceptions<br />Early influences in the 1920s and 1930s were Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, but did not impact the United States until translations became available in the 1960s<br />
Influencing factors in the United States in the 1960s<br />Translations of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s works<br />Jerome Bruner (1960) Process of Education, which described children as “active problem-solvers”<br />Emergence of information-processing theory in the late 60s<br />
Piaget: <br />Experiments with children developed a theory of classification systems (frameworks) for organizing information<br />Assimilation (fit experiences into the framework) and accommodation (modification of the mental framework to integrate contradictions)<br />Each process dominated at different times, and sometimes were equal, thus he concluded there were fixed stages of cognitive development<br />
Information Processing Theory <br />Learning occurs serially through a transformative process<br />Focuses on how information is stored in memory<br />
Schema Theory<br />Similar to Piaget in that long-term memory is structured in a way that supports information and adapts to changes<br />Stores knowledge in an abstract form<br />Memory integrates new material with relevant and existing knowledge<br />
Cognitive Load Theory<br />Combines elements of information processing and schema theories<br />Novices become experts as the mental schema expands<br />Must control the cognitive load intake to process knowledge effectively<br />
Neuroscience <br />Uses physical observation of the brain and nervous system to understand mental processes<br />Learning occurs by stimulating and stabilizing parts of the brain<br />Challenge of education is to inspire learners to learn<br />
Audiovisual Media <br />Stimulates multiple senses; may overcome the limitations of text and lecture.<br />Dale’s Cone of Experience (1946) - expanded notion of visual instruction; learning experiences can be arranged from concrete to abstract<br />During the 1940s Gestalt psychology was an influencing factor - sensory perception, construction of knowledge from auditory & visual input<br />
Visual Learning<br />Compatible with principles of visual perception and message design typical to educational technology<br />Covers a wide spectrum of theories, including Gestalt paradigms and traditional cognitivism<br />Seeks to explain how humans perceive and interpret visual information (classification schemes)<br />Alesandrini (1984): three categories: representational (pictures resemble a thing or idea), analogical (known objects used to imply similarity to an unknown concept), arbitrary (charts or diagrams that organize concepts, but don’t represent them)<br />Other schemes proposed by researchers are based on specific mental functions: decorative, representational, mnemonic, organizational, relational, transformational, interpretive<br />Influenced principles for use of visuals and text for message layout<br />
Auditory Learning<br />Processing, storing, and retrieving auditory information<br />Barron (2004) suggests processing of auditory, visual, and verbal information occurs differently<br />Cognitive load is a concern: the correct balance of multi-channel media used in communication; not clearly defined/difficult to define<br />
Digital Multimedia - Focus on the Computer<br />Cheap, easy to deliver multimedia <br />Learner controlled<br />Presentation of multiple sensory modalities closely resembles natural human cognitive system<br />Transforms information from one input to another output (data into graphs)<br />Linking of ideas<br />May facilitate active involvement (immersive environments)<br />Connects real world with classroom<br />
Cognitivism and Facilitating Learning<br />Limitation: meant to apply to learning in the cognitive domain<br />Emphasizes careful arrangement of content<br />Structure of new knowledge (advanced organizers)<br />Objectives/content chunking<br />Textual layout for comprehension/visuals<br />
Frameworks:<br />Gagne’s events of instruction: specific sequence of events<br />Foshay, Silber, and Stelnicki - cognitive training model - 17 specific tactics organized around five strategic phases; overlaps with Gagne, but differs somewhat in content and emphasis; special emphasis on organizing and linking information; integrates motivational elements from Keller’s ARCS model<br />
Constructivism<br />Views of constructivism are diverse<br />Closely assimilated with Ernst von Glasersfeld (1984), An introduction to radical constructivism: world is perceived and structured according to the learner’s means, and therefore is subjective<br />Subjective, knowledge constructed via the learner’s schema<br />
Problem of Defining Constructivism<br />Lakoff’s work in sociolinguistics (1987) - experientialism; theory of language acquisition; cited as the influence for constructivism<br />Duffey Cunningham, and Jonassen: most visible advocates for constructivism in ed tech; wide range of ideas from recent study of cognitive psychology<br />Piage and Vygotsky also cited as influences<br />Vygotky: sociocultural approach--children learn via social interaction with adults; lead to term social constructivism<br />Terhart (2003): difficult to distinguish moderate constructivist theory from cognitivism; apply moderate constructivist label to those theories that accept the assumptions of cognitivism<br />Driscoll (2005): common belief among all constructivist theories is that learners construct their own knowledge as they try to make sense of their experience<br />“radical constructivist” based on von Glaserfeld (1992): reality is irrevocably subjective<br />
Principles<br />Learning in realistic environment<br />Social negotiation<br />Multiple perspectives/modes<br />Ownership by the learner<br />Self-awareness<br />
Strategies<br />Immersion<br />Situated cognition <br />human thoughts conceived within a specific context<br />academic learning takes place in a classroom and tends not to transfer - “inert knowledge”<br />cognitive apprenticeship is a method that uses social principles of constructivism to transfer knowledge: mentoring/coaching, modeling<br />
Anchored Instruction (1990s) <br />Based on situated cognition principles; use of videos that required students to interact with a realistic problem <br />
Problem-Based Learning <br />Immersive learning environments; overlap with anchored instruction, but emphasize involvement in the situation and, often, group collaboration<br />
Collaborative Learning (Sociocultural) <br />Also rooted in social constructivist principles; relies on collaboration techniques supported by computer mediation or facilitation<br />
Constructivism in Educational Technology<br />Supports engaged learning principles of the North Central Regional Education Laboratory<br />Uses authentic activities and incorporates performance-based assessment<br />Characterized by construction of knowledge versus repetition of facts<br />Students and instructors are both recognized and producers and consumers of knowledge, teachers, and co-learners in the process<br />
Constructivism and Facilitating Learning<br />Opened up dialog about the merits and implications of constructivism; introduced new methods for exploration<br />
Cautions Emerging from Research <br />Problem based programs: less effective for novices; may have negative results if students construct knowledge inaccurately<br />Instructional methods are often best suited for advanced learners who already have foundational knowledge<br />
Additional References:<br />Clark, D. R. (2010). B. F. Skinner. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/history/skinner.html<br />Smith, M.K. (2002). Jerome S. Bruner and the process of education in The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm<br />