Thursday, February 4, 2016

Death by -ism

After reading the posts and comments by Bill Kerr, Karl Kapp, and Stephen Downes, I created the graphic combining the learning theories and Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. Karl Kapp suggests that the lower levels could best utilize the Behaviorist theory, while Cognitivism addresses the middle levels and the top levels are best described by Constructionism. This graphic neatly puts Bloom's and the three -isms into place, but leaves out the fourth -ism  Connectionism. Perhaps Bloom's needs yet another revision, adding another level for learning which is best explained by the Connectionism theory. It might say forming PLNs & networks. I have challenged @gsiemens on twitter to define his theory in the allotted 140 characters. He answered me with, "knowledge exists in connections. Learning is growing/pruning those connections." So I see another level may be needed as well, one that says-> Pruning & Cultivating Connections.
I do agree with Karl Kapp that different ways of learning are best explained by different theories and that teachers should not limit themselves to one theory but should be able to use an arsenal of methods (grounded in various theories) to educate students. Bill Kerr also considers each -ism to be valuable for various ways of understanding learning.
George Siemens connects the three first -isms to the three epistemological traditions or ways of looking at informations and knowledge.
Objectivism & Behaviorism
Pragmatism & Cognitivism
Interpretivism & Constructionism
Driscoll contends that Objectivism and Interpretivism are often considered as opposites and Pragmatism ties them together. (p. 13)
Piaget is a prominent cognitivist theorist who addressed the different developmental stages through which children grow. These stages are important to know for designing learning environments. Other cognitivist theorists have posited other useful ideas for teaching, like Vygotsky's ZPD, and Gardner's MI Theory. It should be noted that these theorists could fit into other theories as well.  So while Kerr thinks -isms change, it may be better to change the -ism instead. The above mentioned posts are not so much about Cognitivism but about learning theories in general. All three men were involved in an an open course in 2008 called Connectivism & Connective Knowledge.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Written for coursework during my journeys at Walden.... 


Richard said...


I like how you connected the ism's to Bloom's.

My district is big on Bloom's and higher order thinking skills. It is definitely understood that behaviorism is on the lowest end of things and the various other isms move up the hierarchy.

By the way, what software are you using for the graphic organizer.

Kimberly Arlia said...

I like the graphic you provided. In reading your blog it reminded me of Erik Erikson's stages of life and how it changed from seven to eight and finally a consideration of a ninth stage. As knowledge expands and viewpoints change - so to must learning theories. And as you stated it isn't necessarily the -ism that changes, rather it is the usage that varies.

Karl Kapp said...

I like how you pulled together the concepts into a nice and neat graphic (if only learning was that neat and tidy).

The graphic nicely shows the relationships. I think Connectivism is closely related to Bandura's social learning theory in that we learn by observing and connecting with others. Maybe the graphic should be surrounded by a circle labeled Connectivism?