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 -


  1. I agree. In behaviorism of technology, a buzz sound will let you know that you hit the wrong button. Trail and error is a positive action.

  2. Brenda Mckoy Responding

    Michele which of the three theories of learning do you really feel would be a compliment to Digital Learning? I enjoyed your summary an insight into Downe's(2006) fourth epistemological framework " knowledge as composed of connections and netoked entitles.
    I see knowledge as levels of throught that is process through short term and long term memory banks. What are your thoughts on the subject?

  3. Hello Carolyn,

    Thank you for your comments. Is trial and error a strategy that you use in teaching? Briefly explain.

  4. Hello Brenda,

    I would lean towards an educator as a Concierge. Bank (2007) suggests that we need to push students into the diverse learning possibilities. He believes that teachers should have quick access to resources. This style of learning has minimal guidance and permits learners to explore on their own.

    The short-term memory is what students will need regularly for completing various tasks. The long-term is what students will need to assist with their future learning.


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


  5. Hello Michelle,

    Great post! Students do have to have hands on experiences that provide concrete learning experiences. The learner will have learning expereinces that happen through trial and error. I agree with you that we must provide a learning environment that promotes critical thinking and problem solving.

    Sandra Dykes

  6. Hi Michele,

    As educators, we are always searching for what works best. In that regard, the process lends itself to trial and error, among other things, as you articulated very well.

    However, as a constructivist, I'm always trying to bring the best out of learners by focusing on their experiential approach to the learning process. Often times, this may result in a bit of hit and miss, but my toils over the years in the classroom tell me I've got as pretty good handle on a student's highs and lows based on that student's experiential approach.

    As a disciple of Gardner, Piaget, and Vygotsky -- all steeped in mold of pragmatism, multiple intelligences, and learning from toddler to the adolescence stage -- I got an up close and personal view of experiential learning while working with gifted and academicly talented students at a college preparatory middle school in one of my North Florida school districts. I, of course, have gifted endorsement in my teaching certificate, but working with these bright, energetic youngsters with unquestionable skills in verbal linguistics, math, spatial relationships, and an assortment of other gifted areas, taught me a lot about learning experience and putting it to maximum use as a constructivist educator in the classroom.

    Thanks, Michele, for planting an excellent seed for discussion in your blog comments.


  7. I concur with your philosophy; I think a cognitive apprenticeship is how everyone learns. I too, have another take on Rogers’ theory. I think he is really emphasizing compliance. In other words, if you can get people to comply, they have made a choice and are obligated to behave consistently with that decision, what do you think?

  8. Hello Sandra,

    Thank you for reading my post. The critical thinking component is based on Bloom's critical thinking skills.


  9. Hello Fred,

    You have touched on Gardner, Piaget, and Vygotsky who are our pioneers of education. As we progress as scholarly practitioners, we will continue to incorporate their views in order to strengthen our writings.

    Thank you for elaborating on my post.


  10. Hello David,

    What strategies would you enforce or use to get people to comply? In reality, people do not always act the norm in making a decision. Any thoughts?