Module 8. Learning Theories
This module provides an introduction to some dominant learning theories pertinent to online educators.
This module addresses the following standards:
- The online teacher understands concepts, assumptions, debates, processes of inquiry, and ways of knowing that are central to the field of online teaching and learning. OTE.1.K.3
- The online teacher understands the relationship between online teaching and advancing technologies. OTE.1.K.5
- The online teacher understands the techniques and applications of various online instructional strategies (e.g., discussion, student-directed learning, collaborative learning, lecture, project-based learning, forum, small group work). OTE.4.K.1
Read the following article about constructivism, and consider:
- What are the benefits of constructivism when thinking about learners?
- What are the limitations of constructivism?
- Is constructivism social/external or cognitive/internal?
Hein, G. (1991). Constructivist learning theory. Institute for Inquiry.
Note: This article is written in the context of museums, but it provides a good overview of the theory and many of the suggestions are applicable to online learning.
Read the following article about connectivism, and consider:
- How does connectivism differ from other learning theories?
- How do the principles of connectivism apply in our changing world?
- How is learning a networked process?
- What does this mean for teachers?
- What does this mean for students?
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.
Watch this video on behaviorism, and consider:
- Can the pigeon read?
- How does behaviorial conditioning influence our everyday actions as people and learners?
- What role should behavior conditioning play in an online classroom?
- What are the limitations of behaviorism?
Watch this video on rhizomatic learning, and consider:
- How is this similar to or different from the concepts explored above?
- How do online educators need to cope with complexity?
- How do we teach students to effectively operate in uncertainty?
- How does this differ from the connectivist (or networked) view of learning?
Discussion and Reflection Questions
- What is learning?
- What did you learn that was new to you?
- Which learning theories or approaches are most valuable for online educators?
- How do these theories influence how we design and lead online courses?