Monthly Archives: July 2014

Week 6, Unit 5 reading and discussion on theory

This week we continued our development and knowledge of learning theory as we read the following articles.

Seeley, et al on Situated Cognition

J Kolodner on the Learning Sciences

C Hoadly on Community of PracticeCHAP12HOADLEY

Video from MIT on Anthropology

As we watched and read, we were asked to think about the following questions:

1. What are anthropology and ethnography? Why did cognitivist educational researchers begin to find it necessary to incorporate elements from these studies into their studies (and to make cognitive science “scruffy”)?

2. In “The Learning Sciences: Past, Present, and Future,” Janet Kolodner tells a kind of “story” about the emergence of the “Learning Sciences” as a field. What does her account indicate about the way fields and research agendas change and re-form?

3. What is a community of practice and why is it important to teaching and learning?

4. What do Seely Brown, Collins & Duguid define as being “indexical” language, and why might it be so important in teaching and learning?

Here is my initial response:

As I read the articles and watched the videos, certain ideas jumped out at me.

First, I see that learning theories evolve and emerge, and both anthropology and ethnography  have had some influence as both are concerned with the study of people in terms of culture and society.  In particular, anthropology studies how groups of people apply knowledge to solve human problems. (http://www.aaanet.org/about/whatisanthropology.cfm)

In terms of developing learning theory, culture plays an impact on constructivist learning theory, and newer ideas including situated learning and communities of practice.

As I read the article by Kolodner, I couldn’t help but think, the evolution of Learning Science is a microcosm for a community of practice.  The emergence and growth of the field and journal , mirrors how a community of practice works together.  One thing I found interesting is the distinction between learning sciences (LS) and Instructional design systems (ISD).  I see the two as complementary.  The role of ISD is to integrate sound theory from LS that has been tested , and shown to be an effective tool for learning.

Lastly, the article by Seeley, et al was fascinating to me.  They set forth that learning is situated and culturally dependent.  I see a  lot of overlap w/ constructivism as constructivism asserts that “learning is subjective…it is constructed through discovery, interactions …with others, society.’ (Larson & Lockee p 77).    It is how people use the knowledge in context rather than the knowledge by itself that makes for true learning.  I thought there were some excellent examples of how learning is situated from the acquisition of language to developing math skills.  I like that emphasis is on the process (something I always tell my physics classes), and that there is more than one way to solve a problem.

 

Ed Tech 504 Jigsaw Summary of article

In this week of class, we formed small groups, read an article, and wrote a 500 word summary of the article.  We then commented on each others’ summaries, and answered any questions that came up regarding our summary.  The ensuing discussions on the Moodle board, I thought, really enhanced everyone’s summaries.

Condensing the summary into 500 words was no easy task.   The article discussed the science of learning (the study of how people learn), and the science of instruction (the study of how material is presented including strategies and tools to facilitate learning).  The author argues that the best instructional tools need to founded on the science of learning, and must be tested in order to determine if they are successful.  The author tested several strategies, and developed a list of the ten principles for multimedia learning.  The list is intended to help instructors help their student select important ideas, organize the ideas, and ultimately integrate the ideas into their knowledge.

Here is the link to the article we reviewed. Mayer_2009 (1)

Below is our summary of the article.

Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction

This article shows the reciprocity between the disciplines of the science of learning and the science of instruction working together to determine the best instructional practices based on research from both disciplines.  Mayer uses the science of learning to identify and test instructional strategies to inform the science of instruction.

Science of learning is the process a learner goes through as they create change in their knowledge by selecting what needs to be learned, organizing the information in a way to help make meaning, and integrating the information with prior knowledge to create meaning. Science of instruction is the presentation of material to facilitate learning.  Multimedia learning is any learning that involves both words (spoken or written) and pictures (static or dynamic). Learners have two channels to process verbal and visual information, each channel has a finite capacity at any given moment in time.  The author demonstrates that in order for instruction to be meaningful the strategies must be tested in a controlled experiment to determine if the strategy suggested by the science of learning is effective in increasing learner knowledge.  After testing several strategies, the author developed the ten principles of multimedia learning.

Within these ten principles, Mayer developed five principles specific to reducing extraneous processing.  The first two principles, coherence and signaling, address the need to stay focused on the main goal by reducing or avoiding extraneous information and highlighting the essential information. Redundancy is most easily summarized by, “…people learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on-screen text.” The spatial contiguity principle states that people learn better when corresponding images and text are in close proximity to each other. The final principle to reduce extraneous processing is the temporal contiguity principle; it states that people learn better when corresponding narration and animation occur simultaneously rather than successively (2008, p. 763).

In addition to the above mentioned principles, Mayer also discusses three principles for managing essential processing.  Segmenting, pretraining, and modality encompass the ideas of breaking the information into small chunks, providing background information before the learning, and presenting information as spoken text instead of printed text (2008, p. 765).

When extraneous processing has been reduced and essential processing has been managed effectively, learners must be enticed to engage in generative processing. Based on cognitive learning theory, Mayer developed and tested the effectiveness of the multimedia principle, which demonstrates that people learn better from words and pictures, than words alone.  Last, the personalization principleindicates that a conversational style of instruction because a sense of partnership has been established  (Mayer, 2008). Throughout the article,  the effectiveness of conducting applied research on cognitive theories of learning is demonstrated to resulted in sound instructional theories. Mayer refers to this as  “conducting basic research on applied issues” (2008, p. 767). These instructional theories can be used to design instruction, which can be used to further test and develop theories of learning, thus defining a reciprocal nature between the science of learning and the science of instruction.

 Mayer, R.E. (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction. American Psychologist, (63) 8, 760-769.http://edtech.mrooms.org/pluginfile.php/91214/mod_resource/content/0/Mayer_2009.pdf

 Written by: Cheryl Brown, Caroline Cooney, and Beth Swaby

Some comments from our Instructor include:

“The science of learning is NOT the process…, but rather the study of learning” (the process of).  Also, our instruction thought the summary would have been better if we tied the summary to one of the “big three” learning theories, behaviorism, cognitivism, or constructivism.”  Lastly, he felt that some of the sentences could have been clearer.

Here is our updated summary (not for a better grade, but for the sake of making the summary clearer.)

Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction

This article shows the reciprocity between the disciplines of the science of learning and the science of instruction working together to determine the best instructional practices based on research from both disciplines.  Mayer uses the science of learning to identify and test instructional strategies to inform the science of instruction.

The science of learning is the study of learning which includes how people learn.  According to Mayer, the process of learning includes selecting what needs to be learned, organizing the information in a way to help make meaning, and integrating the information with prior knowledge to create meaning.  Science of instruction is the presentation of material to facilitate learning.  Multimedia learning is any learning that involves both words (spoken or written) and pictures (static or dynamic).  Learners have two channels to process verbal and visual information, each channel has a finite capacity at any given moment in time.  The author demonstrates that in order for instruction to be meaningful the strategies must be tested in a controlled experiment to determine if the strategy suggested by the science of learning is effective in increasing learner knowledge.  After testing several strategies, the author developed the ten principles of multimedia learning.

Within these ten principles, Mayer developed five principles specific to reducing extraneous processing.  The first two principles, coherence and signaling, address the need to stay focused on the main goal by reducing or avoiding extraneous information and highlighting the essential information. Redundancy is most easily summarized by, “…people learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on-screen text.” The spatial contiguity principle states that people learn better when corresponding images and text are in close proximity to each other. The final principle to reduce extraneous processing is the temporal contiguity principle; it states that people learn better when corresponding narration and animation occur simultaneously rather than successively (2008, p. 763).

In addition to the above mentioned principles, Mayer also discusses three principles for managing essential processing.  Segmenting, pretraining, and modality encompass the ideas of breaking the information into small chunks, providing background information before the learning, and presenting information as spoken text instead of printed text (2008, p. 765).

When extraneous processing has been reduced and essential processing has been managed effectively, learners must be enticed to engage in generative processing. Based on cognitive learning theory, Mayer developed and tested the effectiveness of the multimedia principle, which demonstrates that people learn better from words and pictures, than words alone.  Last, the personalization principle indicates that a conversational style of instruction is best because a sense of partnership has been established (Mayer, 2008). Throughout the article,  the effectiveness of conducting applied research on cognitive theories of learning is demonstrated to result in sound instructional theories. Mayer refers to this as  “conducting basic research on applied issues” (2008, p. 767). These instructional theories can be used to design instruction, which can be used to further test and develop theories of learning, thus defining a reciprocal nature between the science of learning and the science of instruction.