Learning Theories

The theories behind how a person processes, learns, understands, retains, and applies the information in his or her environment.

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Learning Theories by Mind Map: Learning Theories

1. Connectivism

1.1. Basic Principles: children learn from diversity of opinions; involves plugging into existing networks and knowing how to connect various sources; information can come from non-human resources (ex. database); capacity for learning more critical than learning itself (emphasis on knowing where to find information over learning the information); emphasis on creating and maintaining connections; necessary for remaining up-to-date and accurate.

1.2. Implications for Education: help students learn skills needed for developing and fostering connections; model for students how to discern whether a source is valuable or not; group work is a great way to see all the possible perspectives on a topic (diversity of opinions); technology provides access to experts and resources not normally attainable; fosters ability to discern between a good and poor source; this type of learning evolves with society.

1.3. Connections to Other Theories: - media ecology and SCOT are also theories that are relevant for the digital age

2. Constructivism

2.1. Basic Principles: learning is an active, engaging process; meaningful engagement is needed to solve problems; students construct their own knowledge based on inquiry, exploration and collaboration; experience and reflection help student create knowledge; learning is based on previously attained knowledge that must be modified or dismissed as false when a student encounters a new situation (Piaget's theory involves schemas, and the concepts of assimilation and accommodation to reach equilibrium).

2.2. Implications for Education: teacher must provide meaningful, authentic, real-world challenges that require problem solving; students must take charge and be responsible for own learning; teacher's role is modified from instructor to facilitator for learning (ex. encouraging students to create own questions, experiments and interpretations); encourage group work because other students may act as a resource.

2.3. Connections to Other Theories: - cognitive load theory also uses concepts of schemas - cognitive load theory also sees learning as active - cognitive load theory also believes prior knowledge is essential to learning

3. Cognitive Load Theory

3.1. Basic Principles: our memory consists of working memory (phonetic and visual; 7 plus/minus 2 pieces of information can be stored at a time), short-term memory and long term memory (information stored as schemas); overload occurs when working memory is required to process too much too quickly, and the ability to construct schemas is compromised; types of cognitive load include extraneous (focus taken away from building schemas), intrinsic (complexity of elements is too difficult), and germane (effortful learning creates schemas) loads; learning is active process; fundamental attribution error.

3.2. Implications for Education: use chunking (presenting material in meaningful groups for quicker retention), repetition (rehearsal to facilitate processing and transfer into long term memory), do not use designs that are too distracting (cause attention to be split).

3.3. Connections to Other Theories: - constructivism also uses concepts of schemas - constructivism also sees learning as active - constructivism also believes prior knowledge is essential to learning - behaviourism also relies on rote rehearsal for learning

4. Behaviourism

4.1. Basic Principles: scientific approach to learning; learning is passive, based on rewards and punishments system (operant conditioning); learning involves responding to distinct stimuli and associating it with the response that follows; Skinner's three-term contingency; if behaviour is positively reinforced, it is likely to happen again.

4.2. Implications for Education: use teacher-directed instruction; use reinforcements/incentives to encourage positive behaviour; techniques include shaping and behaviour analysis/modification; classroom management and token economies; direct instruction, including breaking tasks into smaller sections, modelling/demonstrating, lots of rehearsal and review, predictable lessons, explain objectives.

4.3. Connections to Other Theories: - cognitive load theory also relies on rote rehearsal for learning

5. Media Ecology

5.1. Basic Principles: study of media as an environment, including it's effects on people; environment as not just an object or institution; how media (including art and technology) influences human cognitive activities (including perceiving, understanding, emotion and value attribution); idea that technology controls society.

5.2. Implications for Education: understand how the media influences student thinking and learning; utilize some media in the classroom instead of ignoring students' connection with technology.

5.3. Connections to Other Theories: - SCOT is the opposite in believing that people influence the media - connectivism and SCOT are also theories that are relevant for the digital age

6. Social Construction of Technology (SCOT)

6.1. Basic Principles: technology is determined by human action; technology can't be fully understood or used without understanding how it works in social contexts; also known as technological constructivism; to understand why a technology was accepted or rejected, we must look at social context: relevant social groups, design flexibility, problems and conflicts; symmetry (use same kind of explanation for successes and failures), closure (rhetorical closure: seeing problem as being solved; redefinition of problem: inventing a new problem).

6.2. Implications for Education: look at students' social contexts to see which types of technology are successful for them, in order to use that technology in the classroom as a teaching tool; realize that technology is influenced by human action (therefore the technology you use may be influenced by how you use it in the classroom).

6.3. Connections to Other Theories: - media ecology is the opposite in believing that the media influences people - media ecology and connectivism are also theories that are relevant for the digital age

7. Technology-Based Theories:

8. Traditional Theories:


9.1. Basic Principles: teaching requires technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge; all three of these knowledges must be balanced and overlap effectively to teach in accordance to TPACK (as shown by a venn diagram); each form of knowledge influences and affects the other forms; all three forms are needed and should be mastered by the teacher; subdomains exist (PC, TC, TP knowledge).

9.2. Implications for Education: teachers must ensure lesson plans are in line with the TPACK model by asking questions (for instance, 'Is this activity well balanced?') and ensure that equal amounts of all three types of knowledge are used; offers framework to help teachers use technology purposefully in the classroom; model should be thought about in the context of the students it is used for (for example, the age group).

9.3. Connections to Other Theories: - Media Ecology and TPACK: Media Ecology states that technology influences humans; in this way, using technology for teaching in the classroom influences how students think and what information they come across.

10. Technology for Teaching Theories:

11. Philosophy of Teachnology

11.1. Includes all the statements and beliefs I hold to be true regarding technology as a teacher; the ways in which I plan to implement technology in my classroom; the goals I have set for myself regarding technology use in my classroom; how and why I plan on using technology as a tool for teaching.

11.2. My personal philosophy includes: - I believe technology should be used as a tool to enhance my teaching, not as a substitute for it. - I believe that if students are 'plugged in' wherever they venture outside of my classroom, they should also be given the opportunity to plug in for learning inside my classroom as well. - I believe when used appropriately and in balance with my pedagogical and content knowledge, technology will be a very effective and exciting way to engage my students in active, meaningful learning.