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Learning Theory

  1. 1. Oxford Brookes UniversityPCTHE<br />Learning Theories<br />December 2010<br />George Roberts<br />Oxford Brookes University<br />
  2. 2. That’s all very well in practice, <br /> but how does it work in theory?<br />Do you use theory as a drunk might use a lamp post: <br /> more for support than illumination?<br />
  3. 3. ... learning can be enhanced through: a consideration of the context and experience of others, familiarity with received wisdom, reflection on these, and the use of the first hand experience of the learner. <br />[however] <br />Discussions of reflection in learning often emphasise the first hand experience of the learner rather than<br />- the role of formal theory,<br />- the importance of the broader social context<br />- and the experience of others<br />(Dyke 2006)<br />Reflective practice?<br />
  4. 4. Outline<br />1330 – 1430 Position Papers<br />1430 – 1500 Theory of theory<br />Break<br />1515 – 1600 Critical theory and academic identity<br />
  5. 5. Position papers<br />How is your assessment practice a representation of what it means to be a good teacher in higher education?<br />What is your assessment practice?Consider different aspects of assessment: diagnostic, formative, summative, evaluative, as well as the question of feedback. This might take the form of a brief catalogue of practices, categorised according to aspect. <br />What, broadly, does it mean to be a “good teacher in higher education”? That is, what are the quality criteria which you will bring to the paper?<br />Syntheseyour understanding and evaluate your collective practice in light of the criteria which you have developed <br />
  6. 6. Feedback<br />
  7. 7. Good Learning<br /><ul><li>based on
  8. 8. reciprocity
  9. 9. authenticity
  10. 10. credibility</li></ul>Good Teaching<br /><ul><li>sets ground rules
  11. 11. provides alternatives
  12. 12. exemplifies models
  13. 13. gives access to experience</li></ul>Good Design<br /><ul><li>Permeability
  14. 14. Variety
  15. 15. Legibility
  16. 16. Robustness
  17. 17. Visual appropriateness
  18. 18. Richness
  19. 19. Personalisation</li></ul>Good Practice<br />encourages <br /><ul><li>contact
  20. 20. co-operation
  21. 21. active learning
  22. 22. gives prompt feedback
  23. 23. emphasises time on task
  24. 24. has high expectations
  25. 25. respects diversity</li></li></ul><li>Learning Theory“Visual Triggers”<br />A theory of theory<br />
  26. 26.
  27. 27. http://www.artsreview.co.za/fashion/2009/03/19/fuck-the-rainbow-nation-coz-94-changed-fokol-blackwash/<br />
  28. 28. Activity<br />In pairs/threes:<br />In light of those pictures<br />What [the heck] use is “A theory of learning”?<br />Discuss, and produce (at least) one idea, that, for you, is central to this question<br />
  29. 29. Feedback<br />
  30. 30. Feedback<br />Context<br />To promote “better” learning<br />Aspirational<br />Theory as a set of ideals<br />Frameworks can be one sided, do not acknowledge diversity<br />Challenge<br />Misrepresentation, goal oriented<br />Confusion<br />Social stimulus<br />Many theories could be applied to negotiate difference<br />
  31. 31. Learning Theory“difference”<br />A theory of theory<br />
  32. 32. There is difference<br />What do you do with it?<br />as a teacher<br />as a researcher<br />as an academic<br />
  33. 33. 2 orientations towards acquiring knowledge & … 2 functions of theorydeductivefrom theory to observationpredictiveinductivefrom observation to theoryexplanatory<br />
  34. 34. another orientation towards acquiring knowledge & … another function of theoryholisticgenerative<br />
  35. 35. So… theory is:<br /> predictive<br /> explanatory<br /> generative<br />
  36. 36. and, which reminds me… theory is:<br /> nomothetic<br />oops!<br />typical<br />Or typifying<br />Or typologising<br />Or generalising<br />
  37. 37. So, we have a typology of theory… <br /> a theory of theory<br />explanatory<br />predictive<br />generative<br />typical<br />
  38. 38. And the last bit?<br />Falsifiable<br />Theory vs.. ideology:<br />Ideology may well be predictive and explanatory, but instead of generative it is restrictive, instead of typical it is normalising and instead of falsifiable it is enforced. (Popper)<br /><ul><li> Theory “proves” nothing
  39. 39. things/the world challenges theory </li></li></ul><li>So, we have a typology of theory… <br /> a theory of theory<br />explanatory<br />predictive<br />generative<br />typical<br />falsifiable<br />
  40. 40. Theory<br />Systematic codification or abstraction of:<br /><ul><li>Accumulated observations (or assertions)
  41. 41. Beliefs</li></ul>Conceptual framework<br /><ul><li>Model</li></ul>An attempt to answer the question, “Why...?”<br />An approach or a perspective, e.g.:<br /><ul><li>Positivist
  42. 42. Socio-cultural</li></ul>See De-localized Production of Scientific Knowledge. (2007, October 7). . Retrieved from http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mediaberkman/2007/09/21/de-localized-production-of-scientific-knowledge-2/<br />
  43. 43. So, Learning Theory<br /><ul><li>An attempt to answer the question, “Why...?” or "How?" with a statement: "Because...”
  44. 44. Why and how do we learn?
  45. 45. How is it that we come to know things?
  46. 46. How do we come to know things or do things differently?</li></li></ul><li>Break<br />
  47. 47. History of Ideas“purpose”<br />Institutions of society<br />Hidden curriculum<br />Critical theory<br />
  48. 48. Hidden curricular issues<br />Overt curriculum of the early modern age<br /> “3 Rs”:reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic. Reproduction of these cultural goods, universal literacy and numeracy, would benefit both the individual as well as society.<br />Today’s overt curriculum <br />Transferrable skills, graduate competencies<br />Flexibility<br />Community/team work<br />Personalisation<br />
  49. 49. Covert or hidden curriculum<br />Industrial era covert curriculum:<br />Punctuality, tolerance of repetition, subordination<br />Post industrial “Knowledge Economy” covert curriculum<br />Piecework, precarity, competition<br />Normalisation<br />Surveillance<br />
  50. 50. Criticality<br />Exposing assumptions <br />Ron Barnett<br />Exposing culture<br />Scollon, Barthes, Bourdieu, Latour<br />Exposing power<br />Brookfield, Fairclough, Bhabha<br />
  51. 51. Stephen Brookfield’s four “critical reflective lenses”<br /><ul><li>our “autobiography as teachers and learners”, i.e. through our own eyes
  52. 52. through our students eyes
  53. 53. through our colleagues’ experience and peer review
  54. 54. through the theoretical literature</li></ul> Theoretical literature helps us to name our practice and to find that it is not idiosyncratic<br />
  55. 55. Critical theory<br />Expose hidden assumptions<br />Structured reduction of complexity<br /><ul><li>What is left out</li></ul>Indirect object of learning<br /><ul><li>Hidden curriculum</li></ul>Appropriation<br />
  56. 56. Typical critical theory<br /><ul><li>anti-essentialist/critical realist: the basic givens of existence are fluid and unstable
  57. 57. heteroglossic/dialogic: all thinking is largely determined by prior cultural experience
  58. 58. language is an actor (weak linguistic determinism)
  59. 59. meaning is characterised by ambiguity
  60. 60. context is everything
  61. 61. grand narrativesvpetitsrecipts</li></li></ul><li>Positivism<br />Anti-metaphysical/clericalist, accumulist theory of knowledge based on observation plus logic. <br />Theory is simply the codification of accumulated knowledge and not of particular importance. <br />Logic plus observation can lead to a grand unification of all knowledge. (Gailson, 2007)<br />
  62. 62. Socio-culturalism<br />Social constructivism<br />The simplest utterance, far from reflecting a constant, rigid correspondence between sound and meaning, is really a process. … the inner relationship we were looking for was not a prerequisite for, but rather a product of, the historical development of human consciousness. (Vygotsky)<br />All observation is theory laden (Popper)<br />Disciplines are like ships passing in the night (Kuhn)<br />Cultures parse the world differently (Gailson)<br />
  63. 63. In Groups: Consider this<br />Most academics - in the humanities and social sciences, particularly - come at their subject these days from a relativist perspective: knowledge is "in here"; there is no knowledge without the knower; knowledge is "constructed" in cultural contexts; knowledge is not "given" or "out there". There is no "absolute truth". <br />This position is quite different from the classical approach: knowledge is "out there"; the "laws of nature" are independent from the mind of the investigator; there is "truth" to be discovered. This approach depends on the "independent, objective observer", who can stand aside from the observed phenomenon and form an unbiased view.<br />This classical approach is the traditional position of many scientists, as well the commonsense view of how knowledge is produced, which (according to Scollon) is held by an international public discourse of commerce and government. <br />(Scollon 2003: 71)<br />
  64. 64. Activity<br />Explain this statement to one another<br />Position yourself in respect to the statement<br />What does "theory" mean to you? <br />
  65. 65. Discussion?<br />…?<br />
  66. 66. Academic identity<br />VAK<br />Models<br />
  67. 67. A theory of identity…?<br />
  68. 68. Academic identity<br />Disciplinarity as a dimension of diversity in higher education, showing an understanding of broad differences in epistemologies<br />Disciplinarity may affect<br />learning approaches<br />curriculum outcomes<br />current challenges<br />learner characteristics…<br />
  69. 69. Approaches to teaching<br />Prosser & Trigwell (various)<br />Simple but well researched 2-dimensional framework<br />Information transfer (teacher focus) scale<br />Conceptual change (student focus) scale<br />Relational and context specific<br />
  70. 70. Teaching Perspectives <br />Transmission<br />Apprenticeship<br />Developmental<br />Nurturing<br />Social Reform<br />http://teachingperspectives.com/<br />
  71. 71. Wider aims: good practice<br />encourage student-tutor contact<br />encourage student-student co-operation<br />encourage active learning<br />give prompt feedback<br />emphasise time on task<br />have and communicate high expectations<br />respect diverse talents and ways of learning<br />(Chickering & Ehrman, 1987)<br />independent of the mode of engagement<br />
  72. 72. Good Learning<br /><ul><li>based on
  73. 73. reciprocity
  74. 74. authenticity
  75. 75. credibility</li></ul>Good Teaching<br /><ul><li>sets ground rules
  76. 76. provides alternatives
  77. 77. exemplifies models
  78. 78. gives access to experience</li></ul>Good Design<br /><ul><li>Permeability
  79. 79. Variety
  80. 80. Legibility
  81. 81. Robustness
  82. 82. Visual appropriateness
  83. 83. Richness
  84. 84. Personalisation</li></ul>Good Practice<br />encourages <br /><ul><li>contact
  85. 85. co-operation
  86. 86. active learning
  87. 87. gives prompt feedback
  88. 88. emphasises time on task
  89. 89. has high expectations
  90. 90. respects diversity</li></li></ul><li>Models<br />Typologies<br />Linear<br />Beetham<br />Cyclical<br />Kolb<br />Laurillard<br />Hierarchical<br />Bloom<br />Salmon<br />
  91. 91. Beetham’s typology<br />Assimilative<br />Constructivist<br />Social constructivist<br />Situative<br />
  92. 92. Kolb’s Learning Cycle<br />
  93. 93. Scholarship of teaching<br />Boyer’s model of 4 scholarships (Nibertn.d.; Boyer 1997)<br />Discovery<br />Teaching<br />Integration<br />Application<br />
  94. 94.
  95. 95. Honey and Mumford<br />Activitists (Do)<br />Immerse themselves fully in new experiences<br />Enjoy here and now<br />Open minded, enthusiastic, flexible<br />Act first, consider consequences later<br />Seek to centre activity around themselves<br />Reflectors (Review)<br />Stand back and observe<br />Cautious, take a back seat<br />Collect and analyze data about experience and events, slow to reach conclusions<br />Use information from past, present and immediate observations to maintain a big picture perspective.<br />Theorists (Conclude)<br />Think through problems in a logical manner, value rationality and objectivity<br />Assimilate disparate facts into coherent theories<br />Disciplined, aiming to fit things into rational order<br />Keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories, models and systems thinking<br />Pragmatists (Plan)<br />Keen to put ideas, theories and techniques into practice<br />Search new ideas and experiment<br />Act quickly and confidently on ideas, gets straight to the point<br />Are impatient with endless discussion<br />
  96. 96. Group (team) roles<br />“A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way” (Belbin)<br />Everybody has a preferred role<br />People are likely to take on more than one role<br />team roles are not personality types; they are clusters of characteristics,<br />Role orientation<br />Action<br />shaper, implementer, completer finisher<br />People<br />chair/co-ordinator, teamworker, resource investigator<br />Cerebral<br />plant, monitor/evaluator, specialist<br />General group roles<br />Group building & maintenance<br />Group task<br />
  97. 97. Conversational model<br />Borrowed from http://www.elicit.scotcit.ac.uk/modules/intro/unit3.htm<br />
  98. 98. Levels of learning: Bloom<br />evaluation<br />synthesis<br />analysis<br />application<br />comprehension<br />knowledge<br />ATHERTON J S (2005) Learning and Teaching: Bloom's taxonomy [On-line] UK: Available: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/bloomtax.htm<br />
  99. 99. Sequence & Stance<br />Sequence<br />Where are you in the course? Is it the first week or the 8th week?<br />Have groups been used in other settings?<br />Do people know one another yet?<br />What is the interactional function of groupwork (as opposed to the instrumental or regulatory orheuristicfunctions?)<br />Maxims of stance (Scollon 1998)<br />Channel<br />Relationship<br />Topic<br />e-Tivity Sequence<br />(Salmon)<br />
  100. 100. HEA Values<br />Core values<br />Respect for learners<br />Commitment to scholarship<br />Developing learning communities<br />Encouraging participation in higher education<br />Commitment to personal CPD (or CPPD)<br />
  101. 101. Professional values<br />Instrumental, other-directed<br />Compassion<br />Determination<br />Competence<br />Resourcefulness<br />Respect<br />Solidarity<br />
  102. 102. QCF Level descriptors<br />Level 7 (paraphrase)<br />Ability to reformulate and use relevant methodologies and approaches to address problematic situations that involve many interacting factors<br />Taking responsibility for planning and developing courses of action underpinning substantial change<br />Critically analyse, interpret and evaluate complex information, concepts and theories as they apply to current developments that affect the areas of work or study.<br />
  103. 103. Wrap-up<br />Questions?<br />Academics anonymous<br />
  104. 104. Thank you<br />George Roberts<br />Senior Lecturer, Educational Development<br />OCSLD<br />Wheatley Campus<br />Oxford Brookes University<br />Oxford, OX33 1HX<br />groberts@brookes.ac.uk<br />http://www.google.com/profiles/georgebroberts<br />