Friday, June 5, 2015
Behavioral theorists view learning as an extrinsic event which can be observed and measured by others. This is the traditional learning theory in education, the one most researched, peer-reviewed, and most funded in the USA. It stems from the epistemological tradition of objectivism which assumes reality is an outwardly observable event. Melding the behaviorist theory with Driscoll’s definition of a learning theory as persistent change as a result of experience, one would get a theory of learning which involves an observable and persistent change.
Siemens considered metaphors that involved making connections from four educators. John Seely Brown saw educators as master artists or ateliers who worked with students in a learning studio. Clarence Fisher considered educators to be network administrators who enabled students to form their own learning networks. Curtis Bonk viewed the educator as a concierge who could invite students to partake of possible offerings. George himself thought of educators more like curators or expert learners who set up learning spaces for students.
Another possible metaphor is the conductor of a symphony orchestra, where each student is playing a different instrumental part (differentiation), learning the same basic concepts but using different paths. When one plays music, one constructs not only the physical sound, but the phrasing, the mood, and the emphasis of the notes. This is important in constructing the overall sound, or in this case, learning.
All these metaphors have to do with learners constructing knowledge. Behaviorism, however, has more to do with teachers writing on "tabulae rasae", sequences of substeps, and rewarding acceptable behavior while punishing unacceptable behavior.
Some educational applications of behaviorism in classrooms include contracts, rewards, punishments, reinforcements, and extinction plans. Those are the obvious ones, but should not any student act that has been learned through the student’s experience and is observable by someone else be included? This would include quizzes like those created at Quia, tests one can create with a tool like Surveymonkey, or recitations like those recorded on Podomatic.
Those types of learnings are best explained by behaviorism in the digital age and are those that can be tested with one correct answer which is observable. In this way, learning is extrinsic and measurable.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc
Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from http://it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/Paper105/Siemens.pdf
Photo courtesy of jurvetson covered under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license and available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124348109@N01/3346659199
Posted by Lisa Durff at 4:43 PM