Education is littered with jargon. But this jargon is simply a convenient means of defining a concept. Its just language. What we will cover in this session is a light touch across a range of learning theories. The aim is to provide us with a set of tools for analysing our practice as educators and how we can continue to improve the learning opportunities for our pupils. In our training & development as educators we have encountered theories of learning. But too often these theories, once met, are left in a textbook on a shelf. we are part of a growing awareness of how theory informs practice (and vice versa) in contemporary education - a phenomenon itself brought about through theories in adult education, experiential learning & Action research principles (more of which later). This morning I will touch on a range of learning theories, many of which you are most likely familiar. But I want to ensure that we establish a benchmark, that there is a common understanding & awareness of those most well-known and prevalent ideas and their originators. But why? Because theory directly informs not just how but why each one of us teach and why we a) prefer a certain style and b) how we can adapt to suit the needs - cognitive & behavioural - of our pupils. Our job is to assist children to learn. A lot of research & hundreds of years of experience has sought to discover the optimum means of doing that. It is our professional obligation to continue to uncover processes, activities, techniques that will make us better at our job. Active does not refer to behaviour but to cognitive activity. Epistemiology is the study of knowledge and adresses the following questions: &quot;What is knowledge?&quot;, &quot;How is knowledge acquired?&quot;, &quot;What do people know?&quot;, &quot;How do we know what we know?&quot; Seneca told in his letters to Lucilius that we are learning if we teach ( epistulae morales I, 7, 8): docendo discimus (lat.: &quot;by teaching we are learning&quot;). In this presentation I have borrowed heavily from a number of excellent websites which are listed at the end. Inparticular, Dan Campbell's Learning Theory Podcast, is an invaluable resource for continuing the journey through learning theory.
Theory is important. It gives us a platform from which to launch our own analysis of practice. It also provides the foundation to develop an approach to learning in our own context. Very brief overview of learning theory that we will look at in more detail at future meetings
Behaviorism is a worldview that operates on a principle of “stimulus-response.” All behavior caused by external stimuli (operant conditioning). All behavior can be explained without the need to consider internal mental states or consciousness. Originators and important contributors: John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, E. L. Thorndike (connectionism), Bandura, Tolman (moving toward cognitivism) Keywords: Classical conditioning (Pavlov), Operant conditioning (Skinner), Stimulus-response (S-R) The cognitivist paradigm essentially argues that the “black box” of the mind should be opened and understood. The learner is viewed as an information processor (like a computer). Originators and important contributors: Merrill -Component Display Theory (CDT), Reigeluth (Elaboration Theory), Gagne, Briggs, Wager, Bruner (moving toward cognitive constructivism), Schank (scripts), Scandura (structural learning) Keywords: Schema, schemata, information processing, symbol manipulation, information mapping, mental models Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective. Originators and important contributors: Vygotsky, Piaget, Dewey, Vico, Rorty, Bruner Keywords: Learning as experience, activity and dialogical process; Problem Based Learning (PBL); Anchored instruction; Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD); cognitive apprenticeship (scaffolding); inquiry and discovery learning. A reaction to didactic approaches such as behaviorism and programmed instruction, constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate ( tabula rasa ) but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation. NOTE: A common misunderstanding regarding constructivism is that instructors should never tell students anything directly but, instead, should always allow them to construct knowledge for themselves. This is actually confusing a theory of pedagogy (teaching) with a theory of knowing. Constructivism assumes that all knowledge is constructed from the learner’s previous knowledge, regardless of how one is taught. Thus, even listening to a lecture involves active attempts to construct new knowledge. While constructivism has great popularity as a philosophy of learning, that doesn't mean that all teaching techniques based on constructivism are efficient or effective for all learners. Mayer (2004) suggests many educators misapply constructivism to use teaching techniques that require learners to be behaviorally active. He describes this inappropriate use of constructivism as the &quot;Constructivist teaching fallacy&quot;... &quot;I refer to this interpretation as the constructivist teaching fallacy because it equates active learning with active teaching&quot; (Mayer, 2004, p.15). Instead, Mayer suggests learners be &quot;cognitively active&quot; during learning and that instructors use &quot;guided practice.&quot; Kirschner, et al (2006) describe constructivist teaching methods as &quot;unguided methods of instruction.&quot; They suggest more structured learning activities for learners with little to no prior knowledge. Perhaps because of this proposition the Kirschner, et al (2006) article has been criticized by a number of authors for various reasons. Humanism is a paradigm/philosophy/pedagogical approach that believes learning is viewed as a personal act to fulfil one’s potential. Key proponents: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Malcolm Knowles Key terms: self-actualization, teacher as facilitator, affect A theory of everything? An efficient instructional strategy that mixes guidance with active learning is &quot;Learning by teaching&quot; ( Martin 1985, Martin/Oebel 2007). This strategy allows students to teach the new content to each other. Of course they must be accurately guided by instructors. This methodology was introduced during the early 1980s, especially in Germany, and is now well established in all levels of the German educational system  . &quot;Learning by teaching&quot; is integration of behaviorism and cognitivism and offers a coherent framework for theory and practice
Piaget proposed that a child’s cognitive development progressed through a series of four stages: • The Sensorimotor stage from birth to age 2 • The Preoperational stage from ages 2-7 Early in this stage (from about two to four), Piaget theorized preconception thinking where children will be able to classify similar things but would make a number of mistakes in the classification; such as “all men are ‘Daddy,’ all women are ‘Mommy,’ and all toys are ‘mine’&quot; In the later part of the preoperational stage, ages four to seven, Piaget theorized that children start to develop intuitive thought (Hergenhahn & Olson), meaning that children will solve a problem based on some rule of logic. Once again, the child’s logic contains a number of mistakes which according to Piaget is the inability of the child to develop conservation. Conservation is simply described as the child’s ability to spatially recognize scale. For example a preoperational child will perceive a tall, narrow glass of water that is full as containing more water then a very wide glass of water of the same height that is only ¾ full. • The Concrete Operational stage from ages 7-11 • And the Formal Operational stage from ages 11 to adult Though Piaget’s stages of development are presented within the context of chronological age, the actual timing of the stages will vary between individuals, and that variability will be influenced by biological, environmental, and social factors. What is important for the educator to keep in mind when applying Piaget’s theory is to provide learning activities that are appropriate for the motor and mental operations of the learner, regardless of age, and to avoid assigning tasks that are beyond the learner’s cognitive capabilities At this point I want to consider the modification to Piaget's Theory that was set out by Jerome Bruner. Central to Bruner's approach is that learning can be scaffolded to permit cognition to be learned Principles: 1. Instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn (readiness). 2. Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student (spiral organization). 3. Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and or fill in the gaps (going beyond the information given).
Active Learning Draw 2 overlapping circles of equal size (show example) Label the left hand one: What I cannot do even with help The right hand one: What I can do by myself The gap between these 2 circles is the Zone of Proximal development Now draw 2 overlapping cirlces, this time the left hand one half the size of the right The process of learning reduces what you cannot do even without help & therefore the ZPD until you are able to shrink it entirely & do whatever it is by yourself.
Cognitive Load Theory Cognitive load theory, formalized by John Sweller at Australia’s University of New South Wales in 1988, provides a framework for considering cognitive processes when designing instruction Underpinning CLT is an understaning of the 3 Modes of memory - Sensory, Working, Long Term - and the principles of Schema in learning skills. Sensory Memory Sensory memories extinguish extremely quickly. (About half a second for visual information, 3 seconds for auditory information). In that time, we must identify, classify and assign meaning to the new information or it will be gone forever. Working Memory Working/short term memory - holds 5-9 pieces of information and can only worki on 2-4 pieces at a time & it is lost after 20 seconds without &quot;rehearsal&quot; 10 Commandments Describe a Square - Sensory Input Long Term Memory Long Term Memory holds everything we know & awaits activation. Knowledge and skills that are activated with extremely high regularity, such as walking and talking, may be activated 'automatically' without the need for high levels of conscious attention, even though the task itself may be a complex one. What is your name? What are the letters of the alphabet? Who won the first Women's World Cup? [USA (NZ)] Schema hierarchical information networks are referred to as &quot;schemas&quot;. Schemas build in detail and complexity as more extensive knowledge is acquired in a content area. Can You Drive a Car? - map out your schema Consider what it takes to read & look at how it becomes automated overtime What is the schema? An understanding of schemas is critical to the understanding of cognitive load theory. In effect, schemas are the synthesis of multiple items into complex patterns. These patterns are stored in long-term memory but can be called into working memory when needed to processes new information arriving in working memory through sensory input. A prime example of a schema is the ability to read. In order to read one must know the alphabet, recognize the patterns by which letters come together to form words, have acquired a vocabulary which assigns meaning to the words, understand the rules of grammar and punctuation which control the flow of the words (which of course may also affect meaning), and perhaps even call on other schemas related to context of what one is reading. Most of us formed this very complex schema called reading by learning one letter, one word, and one rule at a time. When you reflect on it, it is really quite remarkable. Automation The irony about tasks such as walking, talking and reading is that they are among the most difficult that humans ever master, yet we are able to perform each of these with extremely low levels of mental effort. Our schemas in these areas have become so complete, and our level of automation so high, that we now find each of these tasks to be almost trivially easy. The Principle of Cognitive Load The fundamental principles of cognitive load theory rest upon the following argument. 1. Working memory is extremely limited. 2. Long term memory is essentially unlimited. 3. The process of learning requires working memory to be actively engaged in the comprehension (and processing) of instructional material to encode to-be-learned information into long term memory. 4. If the resources of working memory are exceeded then learning will be ineffective. Applying CLT 1. Excessively high levels of cognitive load may result directly from the instructional materials presented to students. 2. Redesigning instructional materials to reduce the levels of extraneous cognitive load may enhance learning. 3. Content areas that are most likely to demonstrate beneficial results from improved instructional design are those that deal with &quot;complex&quot; information where the elements of to-be-learned information interact with one another (therefore imposing a high level of intrinsic cognitive load). And that is where we will leave CLT as there is an iceberg of knowledge which we will come back to. This is the point at which we will consider our own &quot;Instructional Design&quot;. In the meantime I hope that you will take time to read Sweller's paper at http://education.arts.unsw.edu.au/staff/sweller/clt/index.html
One of Sweller’s recommendations was to reduce the load on working memory by dual coding with auditory and visual information that is both essential to understanding, but not redundant (Soloman). Just as Sweller’s theory relied heavily on the work of George Miller in regard to working memory, Sweller’s thoughts on dual coding draw heavily on Allan Paivio’s Dual Coding Theory. The basic premise of Duel Coding Theory is that cognition involves two subsystems, a verbal subsystem to process language (for abstract information) and a non-verbal imagery subsystem to process non linguistic information (concrete objects & events) How well we understand a concept and how well we can perform a task is dependent on the interplay of the two sub-systems (Paivio). Especially important to this interplay is the concreteness of non-verbal cues. Dual Coding Theory research by Paivio and others has shown that memory performance increases when verbal information can be reinforced by non-verbal cues. There are obviously external non-verbal cues, but there are internal n-v cues also: Say iPod - what do you &quot;see&quot; Now &quot;Liberty&quot; - what do you see now? IPod is a concrete imagen - something definite is connected with it Liberty is abstract and only becomes concrete when dual coded with verbal cues, i.e statute, New York, etc. The implication for the educator is that although our primary method of communicating information is linguistic, in either a spoken or written form, we can increase the memory and cognition performance of our learners if we dual code with imagery that adds concreteness to the linguistic message. As we have just seen, verbal clues can be used to create the dual coding effect without showing a real picture, by simply helping the learner activate imagens that already exists in the learner’s visual sub-system. Good authors do this all the time. As I previously mentioned however, the most obvious dual coding strategy is to use visual imagery to support the linguistic message Imagery is a very powerful educational tool, but it must be used properly. As you contemplate the use of imagery in your educational or training products ask your self, does this image add concreteness to my message? If the answer is no, then your imagery may instead be adding to cognitive load; thus acting as a barrier to the message you are trying to communicate.
Cognitive Dissonance Leon Festinger posits that an individual will always seek some form of balance in relationships between behaviour, beliefs, attitudes & opinions Irrelevant relationships: attitude & behaviour are unrelated and don't conflict - Consonant: behaviour flows out of attitude - Dissonant: behaviour follows opposite of attitude - do as I say not as I do, children are provided a model which is at odds with what they have been told is appropriate. Eliminating dissonance: downgrade importance of beliefs, qualify dissonance beliefs, change beliefs to be consistent with behaviour, change behaviour to be consistent with beliefs The Fox & The Grapes One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. &quot;Just the thing to quench my thirst,&quot; quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: &quot;I am sure they are sour.&quot; It is easy to despise what you cannot get. Because the fox could not get the grapes he reduces the dissonance (i.e. his view that the grapes were sour anyway) by changing his attitude. Pressure & Reward - Festinger's minimal justification hypothesis proposes that when the reward or pressure is great, the individual can easily justify the dissonance between his or her beliefs and his or her behavior; less pressure - internal reflection to result in change in beliefs. Therefore a gentle nudging in the direction of attitude change is more successful than a high degree of discrepancy between beliefs & behaviours coupled with a high pressure cognitive dissonance (e.g. entrance exam preparation - the gentle nudging needs to begin much earlier in the Juniors & with the parents so that the pupils beliefs & attitudes change - they are prepared)
2 continuum: How we gather or grasp (vertical) & how we process or transform (horizontal) The diverging learning style falls in the quadrant between Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation. Kolb suggest that individuals with the diverging learning style learn best when presented with concrete situations and excel in situations, such as brainstorming sessions, where the generation of ideas is required (Kolb & Kolb, 2008). These individuals prefer to work in groups, are good listeners, and thrive on personalized feedback (Kolb & Kolb). The assimilating learning style falls in the quadrant between abstract conceptualization and reflective observation. Individuals with this learning style are capable of arraigning a wide range of information into a concise and logical form (Kolb & Kolb 2008). These individuals prefer gathering information through reading, lectures, studying analytical models; and then taking time to think through the information (Kolb & Kolb). The converging learning style falls into the abstract conceptualization and active experimentation quadrant. This learning style excels at applying theory to practice to solve problems, but is weak in the social and interpersonal skills (Kolb & Kolb, 2008). These individuals prefer to experiment with simulations, laboratory experiments, and other theory to practice exercises (Kolb & Kolb). The accommodating learning style falls into the concrete experience and active experimentation quadrant. This learning style prefers hands-on experiences, and enjoys a challenge (Kolb & Kolb, 2008). People with this learning style can be impulsive and act on gut feel, rather than logical analysis (Kolb & Kolb). These individuals rely heavily on other people for information and prefer to work in groups (Kolb & Kolb). Adams, A. B., Kayes, D. C., & Kolb, D. A., (2005). Experiential learning in teams. Simulation and Gaming
Bloom's Taxonomy classifies the learning objectives that educators have for their students Greater detail & useful vocabulary can be found at this link to Don Clark's website The Taxonomy divides objectives into 3 domains: Cognitive: Skills in the cognitive domain revolve around knowledge, comprehension, and &quot;thinking through&quot; a particular topic. Traditional education tends to emphasize the skills in this domain, particularly the lower-order objectives. There are six levels in the taxonomy, moving through the lowest order processes to the highest (see slide) What this taxonomy provodes us is a vocabulary to address our assessment of & for both our teaching & pupil learning Psychomotor : Skills in the psychomotor domain describe the ability to physically manipulate a tool or instrument like a hand or a hammer. Psychomotor objectives usually focus on change and/or development in behavior and/or skills.
Affective : Skills in the affective domain describe the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel another living thing's pain or joy. Affective objectives typically target the awareness and growth in attitudes , emotion, and feelings. There are five levels in the affective domain moving through the lowest order processes to the highest: Receiving The lowest level; the student passively pays attention. Without this level no learning can occur. Responding The student actively participates in the learning process, not only attends to a stimulus; the student also reacts in some way. Valuing The student attaches a value to an object, phenomenon, or piece of information. Organizing The student can put together different values, information, and ideas and accommodate them within his/her own schema; comparing, relating and elaborating on what has been learned. Characterizing The student holds a particular value or belief that now exerts influence on his/her behaviour so that it becomes a characteristic. Clearly this taxonomy allows us to asess our own & our pupils progress. It permits reflection on the quality of learning opportunities and the pupil response & the learning that occurs
Environmental Sound Light Temperature Design Emotional Motivation Persistence Responsibility Structure Social Self, pairs, peers, team, varied Physical: The physical act of engaging with a stimulus How does a piece of information get into a learners mind Sensory engagement: learning style Time - of day for optimal learning Mobility - some pupils can sit others need to move Cognitive: Where to start & where to stop - the theories are many, but the practice is most important For example - we haven't tackled Gregorc's Mindstyles (concrete-abstract & sequential-random), conceptual tempo (impulsive or reflexive), Gardener's Multiple Intelligences, VAK Modality STOP FOR ACTIVITY Affective
Active Learning Or why it's alright to say Genetic Epistemeology
Overview <ul><li>Bad Language </li></ul><ul><li>Dispelling the Myth </li></ul><ul><li>The popular Russian Beat Combo </li></ul><ul><li>Why Pictures Are Useful </li></ul><ul><li>The Fear Factor </li></ul><ul><li>You Are What You Are - We Are Learners Too </li></ul><ul><li>Once More With Feeling </li></ul><ul><li>Theory Into Practice </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
The Paradigms - The -isms <ul><li>Behaviourism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conditioning, Social Learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cognitivism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Schema, Social Learning, Attribution </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Constructivism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage Theory, Social Development, Community, Discovery </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Humanism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchy of Needs , Experiential Learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>A Unified Theory? </li></ul>
All The Others <ul><li>ACT* (J. Anderson) Adult Learning Theory (P. Cross) Algo-Heuristic Theory (L. Landa) Andragogy (M. Knowles) Anchored Instruction (J. Bransford & the CTGV) Aptitude-Treatment Interaction (L. Cronbach & R. Snow) Attribution Theory (B. Weiner) Cognitive Dissonance Theory (L. Festinger) Cognitive Flexibility Theory (R. Spiro) Cognitive Load Theory (J. Sweller) Component Display Theory (M.D. Merrill) Conditions of Learning (R. Gagne) Connectionism (E. Thorndike) Constructivist Theory (J. Bruner) Contiguity Theory (E. Guthrie) Conversation Theory (G. Pask) Criterion Referenced Instruction (R. Mager) Double Loop Learning (C. Argyris) Drive Reduction Theory (C. Hull) Dual Coding Theory (A. Paivio) Elaboration Theory (C. Reigeluth) Experiential Learning (C. Rogers) Functional Context Theory (T. Sticht) Genetic Epistemology (J. Piaget) Gestalt Theory (M. Wertheimer) GOMS (Card, Moran & Newell) GPS (A. Newell & H. Simon) Information Pickup Theory (J.J. Gibson) Information Processing Theory (G.A. Miller) Lateral Thinking (E. DeBono) Levels of Processing (Craik & Lockhart) Mathematical Learning Theory (R.C. Atkinson) Mathematical Problem Solving (A. Schoenfeld) Minimalism (J. M. Carroll) Model Centered Instruction and Design Layering (A.Gibbons) Modes of Learning (D. Rumelhart & D. Norman) Multiple Intelligences (H. Gardner) Operant Conditioning (B.F. Skinner) Originality (I.Maltzman) Phenomenonography (F. Marton & N. Entwistle) Repair Theory (K. VanLehn) Script Theory (R. Schank) Sign Theory (E. Tolman) Situated Learning (J. Lave) Soar (A. Newell et al.) Social Development (L. Vygotsky) Social Learning Theory (A. Bandura) Stimulus Sampling Theory (W. Estes) Structural Learning Theory (J. Scandura) Structure of Intellect (J. Guilford) Subsumption Theory (D. Ausubel) Symbol Systems (G. Salomon) Triarchic Theory (R. Sternberg) </li></ul>