This paper presents information about three theories of learning: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. It then makes makes connections between these theories and instructional design. The author's stated purpose for the site was individual clarification of understanding of the relationship between learning theory and instructional design. Her efforts to explicate the relationship between learning throies and instructional design is should be useful for others as well. The effectiveness of this site will depend on how the instructor intends to use it. The first time I planned to use it with my Foundations of Instructional Technology students, I told them to access the site a couple of weeks before we would discuss it. At that time, one of the students stated that she had already seen the site. She then produced a copy and told the other students how helpful she had found the site in her own efforts to connect the various theories to instructional design.
Type of Material:
This paper is classified as Reference Material.
The site can be viewed directly in the web browser or the user can download a PDF file that requires the use of the free Acrobat Reader plug-in. There is no direct link to the free plug-in.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
1) Students can learn about different theories and the relationships between those theories and instructional design. 2) Students can gain insight into the relationships between the evolution of instructional design in relation to the evolution of learning theories. 3) Students can begin exploring how theories impact the instructional design process.
Target Student Population:
This site is appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate students in instructional design. The site would be very useful in the following courses: Foundations of Instructional Technology (Undergraduate or Graduate); Instructional Design (Undergraduate or Graduate); Educational Psychology (Graduate); and Learning Theories (Graduate). This site will be appreciated by students who are grappling with the application of learning theory into the instructional design process.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
If students already have some knowledge about learning theory and instructional design, this web paper can contribute to the development of a deeper understanding or insight into the relationship between the two.
This paper presents information about three theories of learning (behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism) clearly and concisely. The paper is organized in a logical manner and the connection between the learning theories discussed and instructional design is maintained throughout the paper. The citations that are provided are up-to-date and there are links to the majority of the citations used in this paper. Major learning theories and theorists are referenced accurately if in brief. This paper provides an excellent starting place for developing a deeper understanding of the relationship between learning theories and instructional design. The paper very effectively uses analogies to help clarify understanding of the development of learning theories and the classification of learning theories. The historical linkages made between learning theory and instructional design were well organized and can help students clarify their own understanding of the topic.
This is not a paper for an introductory level student because the information is presented with little detail and too few examples. However, it would be a good review paper for students who already have some prior knowledge about learning theories and instructional design.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The author's stated purpose for the site was individual clarification of understanding of the relationship between learning theory and instructional design. This writing to clarify understanding provides a good example for students. The topic is often difficult for students in instructional technology to understand and the site provides an excellent starting place for developing a deeper understanding of the relationship. Definitions and explanations provided in this paper are clear and concise,
which should aid student understanding of the material. Links to references used for this paper are provided, which would allow students to explore topics further. Instructors could assign students to follow up on one or several references to increase their depth of understanding.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The content is logically organized within the structure of the website. The user can view directly on the web without a plug-in. However, the document can also be downloaded as a PDF which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
While not a severe problem, it would be useful to divide the paper into shorter sections and allow linking back and forth between the different areas so that students could move say between the history of learning theory and instructional design back to learning theory summaries.
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