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.


  1. Hello Debra,

    I strongly agree that students do learn best by doing. Furthermore, I totally agree with you that small groups and peer input provides meaningful learning experiences. Do you believe that digital tools allow our students more hands on experiences that provide more concrete learning expereinces? What positive attributes do you believe that technology provides to this generation of learners? Great post!

    Sandra Dykes

  2. Hi Debra,

    I couldn't agree with you more regarding engagement. But, then again, I think you have heard this pedagogic clarion call from me in our doctoral pursuit many times before. Engagement, though, is engagement, and from my vantage point no matter how often the refrain, this kind of learning reinforcement serves as a primer for a more conducive and effective learning process.

    Thanks once again for hitting all the right pedagogic buttons -- and cutting to the chase when it comes to effective learning theories. Dewey would have been so proud of your approach, with Tyack and Cuban closely in tow.

    All the best, Debra.


  3. Debbie,

    With technology today, students should be immersed into technology in the classroom. I agree that small groups or partner work is needed in all classrooms. No matter the age of a student, they can learn so much from each other. You stated, “I believe learners learn best when they have ownership of the direction they will take in the learning process” (Morris, D. December 14, 2011). I recently shifted some of the things that I do in my classroom and I am continually, making gradual changes giving the students ownership for what they need to work on during our reading block. Giving them ownership, including having them come up with the guidelines for how they will carry out certain activities has been effective.

    Nadine Petrie-Waymyers

  4. Debbie - I also agree that students learn when they are engaged. I like having my students participate in hands on activities. I feel that if the students actually have something to do they pay better attention than if I am just talking. When the students have to listen to a lecture some become lost in daydreams. I believe that technology is a perfect way to get students activly engaged. BV

  5. I have posted a comment to:

    Debra Morris

  6. I have responded to Sandra Dykes' Blog.

    Debra Morris

  7. Debbie,
    Great post in supporting your position on a learning theory! Your discussion post indicates that teaching students with learning disabilities, you incorporate a variety of learning strategies. Upon using various strategies, what happens when a student is not successful in learning? Are you held accountable for students who do not learn? What are your options in moving that student forward?

    Michele Baylor

    Have a Wonderful New Year!!