The Characteristics Of Learning Theories Education Essay

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Cognitivism views learning as an internal process. A more technically correct method of describing connectivism is that of a 'theoretical approach un understanding the mind using positivist, quantitative and scientific methods'. Unlike in behaviorism where the idea of a simplistic 'stimulus - response' is considered learning, Cognitivism goes one step further and states that the mind does not just give any response, it takes in the stimulus, processes the information and gives an appropriate response. This discovery was considered a landmark in educational theory back in the 1960's and paved the way for many of the learning theories we take for granted today. So the mind is a 'black box' which processes the information and the learner is viewed as in 'information processor'. Educationists have taken this to mean many things. The Component Display Theory (Wikipedia, Concept learning, 2010) states that cognition is a matrix that is an interaction between two dimension, one being the level of performance and the other being the types of content of the material to be learned. The Elaboration Theory (Wikipedia, Instructional Simulation, 2010) talks of creating courses which work like the hyperlinking found in web pages. Overall it can be seen that Cognitivism is a theory of great relevance to our current educational practice.


Contributors: Vyogotsky, Piaget, Dewey, Vico, Rorty, Bruner

Constructivism says that "learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it" (Theories, 2008). In other words you don't just generate knowledge. You build it. Building knowledge means that there has to be old knowledge for the new knowledge to build on and this is the case in most instances. In order to build knowledge the student should be allowed to explore the subject area freely, with the teacher playing a more facilitative role. This theory has also many expansions. The Social Development Theory (Wikipedia, Social development theory, 2010) describes how society reaches its aims & objectives. The Stage Theory of Cognitive Development (Wikipedia, Piaget's theory of cognitive development, 2010) explains that intelligence is built in stages. Discovery Learning (Wikipedia, Discovery learning, 2010) speaks of how people, in problem solving situations, use their prior knowledge and experience to solve problems. We owe the method we use today called PBL's or Problem based learning to this learning theory. It is fair to state therefore that constructivism is the sequel to Cognitivism and has equal importance in the modern context.


Whilst all this learning theories were solid, information in the modern age had another problem: it was being updated in a frequency unparalleled in previous generations. So timely knowledge became as important as knowledge itself. Couple this with the constant shift in the social foci and it is easy to understand that a new learning theory which combined both learning theory as well how to keep the knowledge we have current would be needed.

Connectivism then is the product of the digital era (Siemens, 2005). Connectivism says that:

Learning exists in the world and not merely in the head.

Learning can exist in non-human appliances - learning is no more done by teachers exclusively. Computers can easily be a tutor to a student.

Learning rests in a diversity of opinions - many views to one subject is the norm today as compared to only having the teacher's notes.

Inter-relating fields is core skill - it is important now to see connections in different pockets of knowledge to learn better

Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes of information

Capacity to know > current knowledge - knowing where to get information has taken precedence over the information you already know

Currency is the goal of Connectivism

Connectivism is the current learning theory and care must be taken in constructing educational content when thinking of this learning theory.

Describe 'Blooms taxonomy' and its influence in developing educational objectives.

Blooms taxonomy (Bloom, 1956) is a classification of learning objectives within education. It was developed by the psychologist Benjamin Bloom. Mr Bloom's main objectives here was in the "operationalization of educational objectives" (Wikipedia, Benjamin Bloom, 2010) or in other words make educational objectives systematically implementable as well as guide tutors in assessment methods. Blooms taxonomy describes three learning domains:

Educational objectives "describe the goals toward which the education process is directed-the learning that is to result from instruction." (, 2002). Objectives and assessments are linked and so what we plan to assess must then have an appropriate objective and vice versa. This is where the taxonomy comes in. If we require looking the student to merely have knowledge of facts, terminologies, classifications and theories the 'know' level of the domain is what is being addressed and the corresponding keywords can be used in creating the objectives (see figure 1) and this same methodology follows for the other levels of the cognitive domain. When we require students to have a physical skill to be developed then the corresponding levels in the psychomotor domain will need to be addressed depending on the level we would like the student to be proficient in the skill. The affective domain attempts to address creating objectives to measure the levels of the attitude of a certain topic or task but my research does not seem to show very fruitful evidence of its successful execution.