Friday, December 30, 2011

Module 2: Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

Module 2 - Blog Post Discussion 

Conversations in blogs about cognitivism and learning theories in general are abundant. The two conversations linked below are examples of fascinating discussions in 2007 on cognitivism and behaviorism among three important thinkers: Bill Kerr, Stephen Downes, and Karl Kapp. While the discussions are several years old, the issues and questions they raise are still relevant today. Read these two blog posts, and then form a response to post in your own blog. Be sure to link to these posts in your blog and add tags for “learning theory” and “cognitivism,” along with any other topics you explore.

My Response:

As I read about cognitivism and learning theories on both blogs, the three theorists address cogent points. Downes indicates that humans are like computers. Machines do a variety of math such as algebra and chess. For instance, Downes states that if machines continue to evolve by displaying visceral emotions. At this point, behaviorism could regain it place in society (Downes, p. 3). These are convincing arguments, but we must remember that humans construct computers and that we are responsible for how computers think and learn. The more we perfect them the less there are jobs available for individuals.

Kerr argues that the essence of good educational design is when you take a portion from each theory. For example, students are very culturally diverse with different learning styles. In this 21st century advanced technological society, we should meet the students where they are and not where we want them to be. Kapp indicates that using the technological resources in assisting students to move forward in life and in their learning. I agree with Kerr and Kapp that we must continue to take a part of each theory that works best for students in order to create educational experiences. Kapp emphasizes that creating learning uses an entire tool kit of philosophies, techniques and ideas. Kapp suggests that some ideas are better than others and that we should not generalize because we are all different individuals.
Kerr concludes by stating that learning theory, like politics, is full of _isms: constructivism, behaviorism, cognitivism, and connectivism. He believes that _isms are important and that we should use them as a filter and not as a blinker. Kerr suggests that in order to have a tremendous change, we must have a theory to justify it and help us think about it. Downes argues that he depicts cognitivism as a response to behaviorism and a philosophy of learning. For instance, the learner is a complex information-processing system and to understand how learning occurs, one must understand how information processing occurs within the human brain…in the cognivitist’s view, learning occurs internally and through the social interactions with others.

As an instructional designer, it is important to consider the _isms in order to accommodate all the various learning styles and individuals. I agree with Kerr’s comments that each _ism has a place in education and that it is entirely up to instructional designers to take a portion of each _ism and apply it to each instructional design. For example, Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning incorporates from a cognitive perspective by taking chunks of information and breaking it down into smaller pieces. To design a lesson using the behaviorist approach is to break down into smaller steps in order to shape the learner’s behavior. No matter what theory we use or if we use a combination of philosophies, the best instructional design has each of this school of thought for creating multiple learning styles, meeting the needs of all learners’ abilities, and creating challenges for engaging and motivating all students.


Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Michele Baylor

Module 2:  Cognitivism as a Learning Theory
I responded to the following community members:
Fred Davis 
Debbie Morris

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

EDUC8845:  Learning Theory and Educational Theory

Hello Community Members!!!

Allow me to introduce myself again! I am Michele N. Baylor and we currently enrolled in the Learning Theory and Educational Theory class this quarter. I believe that some of the purposes of our collaborative grouping are a) to reflect upon our weekly readings, b) to allow our voices to be heard through our writings and verbal communication skills, and to build an effective networking community of scholarly learners and practitioners. This is my second class that is using a blog as a learning instrument. I believe that together we can share in a rewarding and challenging experience in this class.

Question 1:  What are your beliefs about how people learn best? What is the purpose of learning theory in educational technology?
My philosophy of learning is that people learn by trial and error, and by modeling and using a guided approach to learning.  Individuals have the ability to use their prior knowledge in any situation or learning environment.  The purpose of learning theory in educational technology is to seek and understand the different learning styles of individuals and how each individuals use technology in education.  The learning theory in educational technology correlates to Rogers’ (1995) diffusion process.  Rogers defines diffusion as the process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.  The innovation-decision process is the “process through which an individual (or other decision-making unit) passes from first knowledge of an innovation, to the formation of an attitude toward the innovation, to a decision to adopt or reject, to implementation and use of the new ideas, and to confirmation of this decision.” 

Question 2:  What are the critical elements of a learning theory? Did Driscoll and Siemens miss any key questions or criteria? Provide a thoughtful critique of their discussion of learning theory.

Driscoll (2000, pp. 14-17) classifies learning into three epistemological frameworks:

·         Objectivism – reality is external and objective, and that knowledge is gained through experiences.

·         Pragmatism – reality is provisional, and knowledge is negotiated through experience and thinking.

·         Interpretivism – reality is internal, and knowledge is constructed.
These three epistemological frameworks provide a foundation for three theories of learning:

·         Behaviorism – when we do not know what occurs inside the learner, focuses its efforts on managing external, observable behaviors, and finds much of its existence in objectivism.

·         Cognitivism – a continuum from learning as information processing (a computer model) at one end, to learning as reasoning and thinking on the other, finds much of its identity in pragmatism.

·         Constructivism – learning involves each individual learner making sense and constructing knowledge within his or her own context; it finds its foundation in interpretivism.
Downes (2006) describes a fourth epistemological framework as the view of knowledge as composed of connections and networked entitles.  Siemens (2006) reveals that knowledge is distributed across networks and the act of learning is a diverse network of connections and recognizing attendant patterns.

Question 3:  Critique Siemens’s “metaphors of educators.” Which of these metaphors best describes the role you believe an instructor should take in a digital classroom or workplace? Is there a better metaphor to reflect your view of the role of instructors?

As I was reviewing the “metaphors of educators:” master artist, network administrator, concierge, and curator, I could relate to each metaphor.  The role an instructor should take in a digital classroom or workplace to take into consideration the following:

      ·         How do students learn?

·         Consider all of the knowledge and learning styles of his/her students?

      ·         The available resources and technological aspect of the class.

·         The objectives, goals, and expectations of the class.

In this 21st century digital age, I would recommend that an instructor seek all four metaphors and combine them into one. This will give more students an opportunity to become more independent learners and to enhance their critical thinking and writing skills.  

Siemens (2008) explains “metaphors of educators” thoroughly; however, there remains the challenge of today’s educational systems meeting the demands of global completion.  I   

Rogers, E. M. (2003).  Diffusion of innovations (5th ed). New York:  Free Press

Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from

 Michele Baylor

Module 1:  Learning Theory and Educational Technology

I responded to the following community members:

Alison Parker -