This site is a concise, one page grid containing different learner and teacher roles based upon different learning theories/philosophies. The grid provides brief information about Humanism, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism. The students? role and the teacher's role are briefly described for each philosophy/theory. A few activities for each philosophy/theory are provided in the last column.
Type of Material:
This site could act as a reference point for teachers in training at all levels and with all subjects. It also offers a beginning point of planning and discussion regarding online instruction considerations and possibilities.
Access to the Internet and a web browser is needed. This site cannot be read or viewed easily in Netscape 4.7 or lower.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Educators will gain an understanding of how different theories/philosophies undergird different approaches to teaching and learning in the online environment.
Target Student Population:
Students and faculty in in teacher education and psychology programs, especially those in online or web-assisted classes will find the site useful.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
An introduction to the psychology of teaching and a basic understanding of each theory presented will make this site more valuable and beneficial to users, but it is not required.
Evaluation and Observation
The site gives a quick overview of theories/philosophies and what roles and activities theyare based upon. Humanism, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism are profiled followed by styles of learning choices. Outlined teacher's role choices include: Coach, Expert/Certifier, Manager, and Facilitator/Mentor. These are each followed by a few ideas for online teaching and learning.
The brevity of the information may lead to confusion on the part of a student. A bit of additional information at this site would increase its significance. A rationale for how and why this page was developed and how it is used by the author would offer users a point of reference and clearer way to implement the site.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The grid could be a good starting place for students to discuss learning theory. Because the site is accessible online, instructors can, with permission of the author, use it with their students. The site could complement an in-class introduction to the pedagogy of teaching. Students could also review the information and conduct their own discussions, debates, or written summaries.
It would be useful to other higher education faculty to know the background of this page, how students in the course with the author use and respond to this grid, and what reflections the author now has from using the page. If one uses this grid, it is recommended to include a series of assignments that take the students? answers and use them for activity selection. Just having students use the grid to determine what they would like in an online environment is useless, if the instructor does not make allowances and design activities for each possible philosophy/theory.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The organization of the information is nicely done. The matrix format with colored key headings across the top allows for quick reference work.
The site is unreadable to those using Netscape 4.7 or earlier. The font is too small and cannot be enlarged to be read. While the user can enlarge the type in some browsers, not all people using the grid would know how to do so.
Comments from Author:
Originally set up as a single Reusable Learning Object, it is a companion piece to the Teaching/Learning Philosophy Chart where faculty can view options about their philosophy and decide how they may want to articulate those philosophies to their learners. Since many faculty aren't well versed in these philosophies, this companion chart provides a quick explanation of options and how they may be viewed in online learning. Students can be given both the Philosophy Chart and the Learner Role chart for analysis. Go to http://www.towson.edu/~mcmahon/generic/philosophychart.html or http://www.towson.edu/~mcmahon/generic/philosophychart.pdf
Faculty can use this tool in a variety of ways and can post their own directions for use. It can be used as an assessment to match online learning potential with faculty/courses/programs. It can be used to help students understand and value why their learning style may be different from a professors instead of just grumbling about it. Appreciating style differences is part of learning about one's learning preferences.
The charts were originally designed to help raise the consciousness of faculty in explaining their philosophy to their online students- typical of what they might do in an on-ground course. In faculty development and online training sessions,
faculty can use these two tools to raise their consciousness of learning and teaching theories. In adult learning a goal is usually student inquiry and student directed learning so that students learn to take responsibility for their own learning. Using these charts will help student choose assignments and construct their own if faculty structure courses to do so.
Faculty from Parsons School of Design in New York, Brevard Community College in Florida and Towson University in Maryland are early participants in using these tools which they use to improve online course development and teaching based on the student responses.