Thursday, December 29, 2011

Module 2 Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

After review of the conversations between Bill Kerr, Stephen Downes and Karl Kapp, I couldn’t  agree more with Kapp’s statement that we need to take the best from each philosophy (Cognitivism, Behaviorism, Constructivism, and Connectivism) and use it (Kapp & Kerr, 2007).  We need to take pieces from each school of thought and apply it effectively.  Kerr adds that these learning theories do not stand still.  They continue to evolve. 
Each learning theory relates to Bloom’s Taxonomy levels of intellect. Kapp relates this to starting at the lower levels of learning and extending to higher order thinking skills and learning (Kapp, 2007).  Behaviorism (memorize, recognize and label), Cognitivism (procedural, rule based learning), Constructivism (problem-solving, collaboration, creativity) and Connectivism (cyclical, filtering, construct) can all be utilized to help the learner gain new knowledge in a variety of situations. 
Additionally,  I agree with Kapp in that learning is not just one thing.  It cannot be pinned to one theory.  Students cannot learn with a “one style fits all” approach to learning.  It is important for educators to keep this in mind when preparing their instruction.  As educators, we are given the task of presenting a variety of strategies and educational experiences in order for our students to gain knowledge and make it applicable. 
I have found this to be true in my teaching experience with students having a learning disability.  I certainly could not rely on one approach for all students.  What works for one student, may not work for another.  It is very important for educators to be creative and flexible in their presentations and activities they plan for their students.
Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought. Message posted to 

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker. Message posted to

I have responded to Belinda VanNorman and Sandra Dykes' Blog post.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

7105 Learning Theory and Educational Technology

How do students learn best?

I believe students learn best when they are active and engaged in the learning process.  I once read something about Aristotle believing that we learn best by doing.  This is so true.  Learning is all about engaging, practicing, conversing and being allowed to make mistakes.  Today's generation of students use digital tools on a daily basis.  These tools are very much an active part of their everyday life.  They are going to continue to use them (even when not allowed to), so why not incorporate them into the curriculum.  I believe rich learning takes place when students are allowed to work in groups in order to research, discuss, digest and apply the knowledge in which they are exploring.  As an adult learner, my experience in graduate courses was much different from my previous college experiences.  I thrived on the "new formed small group learning communities".  I was very attentive in small groups and soaked in the information my peers shared.  Our classrooms today are equipped with computers and technology which allows learners to explore information much broader than the textbook.  Technology now provides an opportunity for students to continuously be engaged in the learning process.  They no longer have to be limited to encyclopedias and lectures.  They can explore and review many scholarly references through the internet.  They no longer have to have drill and practice of terms and facts through cards.  They can be engaged in an online game that provides suggestions and immediate feedback.  I believe learners learn best when they have ownership of the direction they will take in the learning process.  They also need to feel secure and free to make mistakes and ask questions.  I believe the teachers roles in the learning process have changed dramatically over the years.  Teachers are now a facilitator, encourager and resource as she/he manages from the outer perimeter of small groups.  Students today are digitally savvy and require the stimulation technology provides.  A classroom must stimulate, provide problem solving opportunities, support personal growth, allow for expression and mistakes and provide a setting of social engagement.