Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finals Review

What are the essential differences between behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism?

·         Behaviorism:  explains learning as a change in behavior due to the presentation of stimuli.  Behaviour adapts in response to those environmental stimuli.  Learning has occurred when the learner displays the correct behavior in response to a particular stimulus. 

**The focus is on overt, observable behaviours—what learners do!

**The goal of instruction is to strengthen the relationship between stimulus and response through the use of performance cues & reinforcement.  


·         Cognitivism:  explains learning as a change in mental models or frameworks and the development of encoding & retrieval strategies.  Learning has occurred when the learner can retrieve information that was previously encoded.

**The focus is on internal mental processes—what learners know & how they know it or how it is represented in their mind (mental processes, strategies, etc.)

**The key focus here is changing the learner by helping them use appropriate learning strategies

**The role of the instructor is determining what mental models or structures the learner already possesses and how new knowledge can be introduced and organized in a way that allows the learner to assimilate it--how to help learners organize, store, and retrieve new knowledge.

·         Constructivism:  explains learning as the formation of personal meaning/understanding as a result of lived experiences and reflection upon those experiences.  Learning is an active process and understanding is provisional and dynamic, changing and adapting in response to new experiences, particularly exposure to varied perspectives and new experiences.  

T   The role of the instructor includes helping learners learn to construct or create their own meaning and (2) placing them in authentic environments, performing authentic tasks and (3) providing opportunities to participate in social negotiation (varied perspectives).



What are the differences between HPT, IT, & LS?

·         Instructional Technology:  Concerned with design and application—designing learning environments and instructional products that improve learning.  Are interested in learning theory inasmuch as it informs practice; however, the ultimate objective is to improve actual learning.

**  Design processes & systems with the goal of improving learning.  

·         Human Performance Technology:  Is strictly concerned with performance and explicit, observable behaviours.  Analyzes performance gaps and then develops interventions for improving performance.  Some interventions might include training; however, HPT takes a much more broad view than IT and includes job aids, rewards/incentives, physical layout of space, etc.

** Develop interventions to improve performance gaps.

·         Learning Sciences:  Concerned with developing theories that describe how learning takes place, rather than dictating how it should take place and making specific recommendations regarding pedagogy or instructional strategies, although these theories might suggest certain strategies.

** Develop conceptual models that help explain and describe learning


What is the difference between science & technology?

·         Science:  Is analytic and descriptive.  Seeks to build conceptual models that can explain observed effects.  Asks different questions (e.g. “Why did this happen?”), produces general principles or theories that describe effects in the natural world. 

·         Technology:  Is prescriptive (“synthesis towards a goal”).  Is synthetic in that it builds causal models that can be used to design or develop artifacts (tools, interactions, etc.) that are intended to bring about certain effects.

o   The structuring of space/time to achieve a specified purpose within within the bounds of specified problem constraints and to a predetermined level of criterion.

o   Asks different questions (“how can we make this happen?”)

**Builds causal models that can be used to design tools or processes that are intended to bring about specified effects or outcomes


Media vs. Method Debate

·         Clark—Media are just vehicles for delivering instruction and can be separated from method

o   Adheres to the “replaceability test”—if the media can be changed and the same learning is observed then it isn’t the medium but the method that has led to the learning.

o   Argues that research analyzing the influence of media elements on learning haven’t controlled for instructional method and are confounded.

o   Although media elements might have some impact on learning it is the “active ingredient” of method that is the key determinant in the learning that occurs

§  He argues that method is the “active ingredient” because of the replaceability test—e.g. different media with same learning results.

§  The instructional method is embedded within the medium that delivers the instruction

o   Media may influence cost or speed; however only method can influence what is actually learned.

·         Kozma—Media characteristics have an impact upon the mental models and cognitive structures that are formed by learners; thus, media do influence learning.

o   Learners actively collaborate with the instructional medium to construct learning

§  Different learning occurs depending on what medium is used

·         This seems accurate a picture would cause a learner to form a different mental representation than would a verbal definition

o   Method and media cannot be separated all of the time like Clark suggests

§  In good designs they are integrated and have a synergistic effect upon learning

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