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Learning, Knowledge and Human Development

Learning Module

Abstract

This learning module sets out to provide an introduction to educational psychology. It includes a variety of voices and perspectives from the College of Education at the University of Illinois. Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope offer an historical and conceptual overview of the field, classified broadly under the terms "behaviorism," "brain developmentalism," and "social cognitivism." This is followed by four quite different practical examples of educational psychology at work. Dorothy Espelage discusses her work on the social and emotional conditions of learning in her research into bullying at school. Denice Hood gives an example of the application of psychology to educational counseling. George Reese speaks about "productive struggle" in learning. And finally, Joe Robinson-Cimpian discusses the application of quantitative psychology to analyze test results for the purposes of school and curricular placement.

Keywords

Educational Psychology, Cognition, Learning, Educational Technologies

Overview

The key ideas in this module are introduced in Chapter 6 of New Learning, by Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope. This learning module contains: seven updates, to be posted to Scholar => Community, covering the topics of:

  1. Foundations of Educational Psychology (Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope)
  2. Brain Developmentalism (Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope)
  3. Social Cognitivism (Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope)
  4. The Social and Emotional Conditions of Learning: The Case of Bullying in Schools (Dorothy Espelage)
  5. Student Development (Denice Hood)
  6. Productive Struggle in Learning (George Reese)
  7. Putting Quantitative Psychology Research to Work: Classifying English Language Learners (Joe Robinson-Cimpian)

It also includes the following projects, with assessment rubrics. The first is theoretical in orientation, then the two alteratives offered for the second project are both practice-oriented:

  • Work 1: Outline a Theory of Human Development and Learning
  • Work 2A: Case Study of an Educational Practice ... OR
  • Work 2B: Design a Learning Module

 

1. Foundations of Educational Psychology (Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope)

For the Participant

 
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Behaviorism and Conditioned Response

‘Behaviorism’ is a school of thought within the discipline of psychology that was founded in the first half of the 20th century. Most famous amongst its initiators were John B. Watson, Edward Thorndike and B.F. Skinner. They argued that the only thing we can know with any degree of certainty in the science of psychology is what we can see in the form of observable behaviours.

Here is a, sample some of it for yourself, in original words or videos:

  • Pavlov's notion of 'conditioned reflex'.
  • Watson on the practical importance of studying behavior, rather than consciousness.
  • Skinner's behaviorist psychology.

Notions of Innate Intelligence

In the behaviorists’ view, not everybody’s capacities for behaviour modification are the same. Some people, they argue, are naturally more intelligent than others. They are able to learn more from their experiences – to pick up on the stimuli, respond more intelligently and learn better from positive and negative reinforcement. Such differences in intelligence they attribute to differences in innate mental capacity between one individual and the next. Some people will never be very smart, no matter how much knowledge we try to give them, because their natural stimulus-response mechanisms don’t work so well.

Going right to the source:

Comment: Respond to one of the notions introduced by foundational exponents of educational psychology? What do you make of Skinner's comments about free will? What is the role of the teacher in the behaviorist scheme? Nature or Nurture? What are the dangers and uses of intelligence tests? (Respond to others in the discussion by typing @ in the comment box, and selecting their name.)

Make an Update: Take one key concept of behaviorism, define it and provide an example of this concept in practice. Or, analyze an example of an intelligence test—a whole test, or some questions from a test. What is the test used for? What are its uses and limits?

For the Instructor

This 'For the Participant' material is the first of seven discussion topics for this course. There are two ways to handle this material.

  1. If you have a 'restricted' community (see Community settings in Scholar), the participants can only comment on the update.
  2. If you have an 'unrestricted' community, you might also ask participants to make a full update in the community space, perhaps finding an example of a technology-mediated learning experience which illustrates this idea, or further elaboration upon then idea, perhaps by a different or related theorist.

If you your course participants are not familiar with Scholar, make posts as and when needed from the Getting Started in Scholar learning module. To familiarize participants with the Community area, we recommend this post: "Participating in Community".

2. Brain Developmentalism (Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope)

For the Participant

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Constructivism

Jean Piaget was a leading exponent of a theory of brain developmentalism that is often called "constructivism." Children’s mental capacities grow through four major stages: from sensorimotor or pre-language, to pre-operational language and thought, to concrete operations or logical thought and multiple perspectives and, finally, by mid-adolescence, to the formal or propositional operations embodied in abstract reasoning. These stages occur at certain ages, before which learners are not ready to learn certain things. Learning occurs through processes of assimilation, in which you make the things you experience in the material or social world fi t into your existing mental framework, and through accommodation in which your mental world takes shape in response to the things you experience.

  • Piaget on child development
  • Pinker on the "language instinct"

Neuroscience

Research into the workings of the human brain began to make headway during the 20th century. There is still a lot that we don’t understand about the brain but, thanks to the research disciplines that are today called "cognitive science" and "neuroscience," we are beginning to understand more.

For a sampling of recent thinking in the field of neuroscience, see:

Comment: To what extent do you think cognitive development and language are "natural?" What are the potential strengths and weaknesses of neuroscience as an approach to the understanding of learning?

Make an Update: Some suggestions—Define and provide an example of a concept in constructivism. What is insightful about this concept? What are the possible limits of the concept? For example, it is argued at times that constructivism assumes overly rigid developmental stages, or focuses too much on the individual mind, neglecting the social nature of knowledge and learning. Or, find and explain an example of recent brain research that has implications for learning.

For the Instructor

3. Social Cognitivism (Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope)

For the Participant

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The Social Construction of Knowledge

A social-cognitivist approach to the question of learning attempts to balance social and cultural factors with the potentialities of the brain. Social cognitivists want to develop a fuller account of the "nurture" side of the nature-plus-nurture mix. Of course, theorists on both sides of the nature-nurture debate agree that an enormous amount is learned in a social context by means of the processes of socialization. The main point of disagreement is the mix – how much learning is social, and how much is biologically based.

Here also are some of the key thinkers and ideas:

  • A key foundational theorist is Lev Vygotsky, who explores the role of language acquisition in learning.
  • The importance of socialization is highlighted in some bizarre cases of children who grew up for a time outside of human society.
  • Another measure of what is specific to human learning is the extent and limits of animal learning.
  • Historian David Christian speaks of the uniqueness of human culture.
  • Terrence Deacon and Merlin Donald use cross-disciplinary approaches to explore the nature of human consciousness.

Distributed Cognition

In the social-cognitivist view, nature provides humans with a range of "affordances." Nature does not provide a blueprint, but a series of potentialities that are filled to a substantial degree by the socio-cultural cognition that is our cultural inheritance. Being external to the individual brain, this is necessarily acquired through learning. This is how nurture allows us to fi ll out the potentialities provided by our human-physiological nature.

Key ideas supporting this view are:

Communities of Practice

If cognition is social, then the most powerful learning is collective rather than individual. Education exercises an individual’s capacity to learn in and with the people and the knowledge resources that are around them. "Situated learning" and "community of practice" are keys to this conception of learning. Education is not an individualised, psychological-cognitive thing. Rather it is a set of relationships with others in a knowledge or learning community.

For some key ideas about communities of practice, see:

Because thinking and learning are so social, cultural differences play an important role.

  • Marika and Christie provide an example in Yolngu ways of knowing and learning
  • Howard Gardner analyzes multiple intelligences, in contrast to older, monolithic notions of intelligence

Comment: What do we mean by the social mind'? In what ways is thinking 'inside your head' also social thinking? How do community and culture shape learning?

Make an Update: Suggestions—Provide an example of a learning experience which exercises 'the social mind'. How does this expand on learning beyond the individual mind? OR What is collective intelligence? What are the processes and benefits of collaborative learning? Illustrate with an example. OR Describe a moment of learning in a community of practice. What are the dynamics of learning in this example?

 

For the Instructor

4. The Social and Emotional Conditions of Learning: The Case of Bullying in Schools (Dorothy Espelage)

For the Participant

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Comment: How do social and emotional conditions affect learning? (This, of course, is just as much the case for higher education, workplace learning, or informal learning in communities and personal life.)

Make an Update: Dorothy Espelage has taken just one area—bullying at school—where she hase used the methods of educational psychology to explore the social-emotional conditions of learning. Take an area of socio-behavioral learning interest or concern to you. What does the evidence tell? What are the main concepts we need to interpret the evidence?

For the Instructor

5. Student Development (Denice Hood)

For the Participant

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Comment: Denice Hood offers one example of application of educational psychology to counselling in college. What kinds of supplementary supports do learners need? What are the purposes, methods and roles of counselling psychologists as they address the needs of learners?

Make an Update: Identify and describe an educational conselling need or practice of interest or relevance to you.

For the Instructor

6. Productive Struggle in Learning (George Reese)

For the Participant

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Comment: Educational psychology is also concerned with the dynamics of learning. In his contribution to this course, George Reese analyzes by way of example the notion of "productive struggle." How can educational psychology help us to understand the processes of learning?

Make an Update: Take one area of the learning sciences. How does educational psychology contribute to our understanding? What evidence does it offer? What interpretative concepts and theories does it provide?

For the Instructor

7. Putting Quantitative Psychology Research to Work: Classifying English Language Learners (Joe Robinson-Cimpian)

For the Participant

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Comment: What are the institutional uses to which quantitative psychology can be put? What do you consider to be its strengths and limitations?

Make an Update: Describe an applicaton of the quantitiative methods of educational psychology. This could be for broad institutioinal analysis, or it could be a description and analysis of tests and test results in the specialist area of psychometrics. What are the benefits and limitations of such work?

For the Instructor

Peer Reviewed Work 1: Educational Theory (EdM)

For the Participant

Take one of the concepts introduced in this learning module. Or explore a related concept of your own choosing that is relevant to this learning module's themes. Define the concept referring to the theoretical and research literature, and provide examples of this concept at work in pedagogical practice.

For example, taking the themes of this course, you may wish to outline the work and approach of a leading learning theorist or educational psychologist (for instance, Watson, Thorndike, Pavlov, Skinner, Piaget, Chomsky, Pinker, Davidson, Vygotsky, Deacon, Gee, Lave and Wenger, Gardner, or an educational psychologist of your choosing). Or you may wish to look at a group of theorists or school of thought (for instance, behaviorism, the “Direct Instruction” approach, brain developmentalism, neuroscience, constructivism, social cognitivism, or communities of practice). Or you might examine the theory that underlies one of the other areas explored in this learning module: the socio-behavioral conditions of learning; counseling psychology; the microdynamics of learning; or quantitative psychology.

What understanding does the theory or theorist you chose have of the ways in which learning occurs? What paradigmatic approach to education do they represent? What are the implications of this approach for the design and implementation of learning environments, including the use of media and technologies?

A theory work should be 2000 words or more in length. Ideally, it should include media such as images, diagrams, tables, embedded videos (either uploaded into CGScholar or embedded from other sites), web links and other digital media. Be sure to source all material that is quoted or otherwise used. Each work must have references "element" or section, including references to at least 5 scholarly articles or books, plus any other necessary or relevant references, including to websites and other media.

If you are new to CGScholar, visit Section 3 in the Getting Started in Scholar learning module to find out how the Creator app works.

Following is the knowledge processes rubric, against which others will review your work, and against which you will do your self-review at the completion of your final draft. You can view this rubric while you draft your work at Creator => Feedback => Reviews => Rubric. The rubric explores four main knowledge processes, the background, and rationale for which is described in the papers on this page.

KnowledgeProcessRubricEdM.pdf

 

For the Instructor

For new users of CGScholar, we recommend the Learning Module, Getting Started in CGScholar. We specifically recommend at this stage that the admin release the following updates as the project proceeds:

  • 3.1: Starting a Work in Creator
  • 3.2: Using the Creator Workspace
  • 3.3: Using the Structure Tool
  • 3.4: Submitting a Draft
  • 3.5: Offering Feedback
  • 3.6: Revising a Work for Publication

Peer Reviewed Work 2A: Learning Practice Analysis (EdM)

For the Participant

Write a case study of an innovative literacy practice, such as one that uses digital media in the learning process. This could be a reflection practice you have already used, or a new or unfamiliar practice which you would like to explore. Use theory concepts introduced in this course, including theory concepts defined by members of the group in their published Work 1, with references and links to the published works of the other course participants.

Following is the knowledge processes rubric, against which others will review your work, and against which you will do your self-review at the completion of your final draft. You can view this rubric while you draft your work at Creator => Feedback => Reviews => Rubric. The rubric explores four main knowledge processes, the background and rationale for which is described in the papers at this page.

KnowledgeProcessRubricEdM.pdf

 

For the Instructor

Peer Reviewed Work 2B: Create a Learning Module (EdM)

For the Participant

Create a learning module in Scholar which demonstrates how you would translate some of the ideas and principles of this course into practice. A learning module is a hybrid work which crosses the legacy educational practices of lesson plan, syllabus and textbook. Unlike a lesson plan which is mainly written for a teacher’s design purposes, a learning module has both teacher and learner sides. On the left side of the screen you speak to learners in “classroom discourse,” however in the case of the learning module, in a dialogical mode, rather like social media. On the right side of the screen, you speak to other teachers in the professional discourse of the curriculum and pedagogy. Unlike a syllabus, a learning module contains content as well as an outline of coverage. And unlike a textbook which typically summarizes and transmit content that learners are to consume and remember, a learning module curates a variety of web content (links, embedded media etc.) and establishes a dialogue with and between learners which positions them as active seekers and producers of knowledge.

Your learning module should:

  1. have a clear rationale in terms of learning objectives and, if applicable, curriculum standards.
  2. include at least 8 updates, each of which on the left side includes at least some curated media and a comment request that will prompt rich dialogue among students, and on the right side speaks to teachers about the underlying pedagogical rationale, possible supplementary resources, teaching suggestions, and standards mapping.
  3. include least one peer reviewed project , with peer assessment rubric.
  4. include at least one information or knowledge survey.
  5. demonstrate pedagogical coherence and completeness. Optionally, creators could use the Learning by Design pedagogy, described here.
  6. be well formed in terms of the learning module two column format and heading structure, with all media and other curated content fully sourced.

For model K-12 learning modules, visit the Literacies and Learning by Design collections in the Scholar Bookstore. For model college and higher education learning modules, visit the Higher Education collection. For a selection of learning modules created by participants in the Learning Design and Leadership program, visit that collection. For instructions on how to create a Learning Module in Scholar, visit section 5 of the Getting Started in CGScholar learning module.

Following is the peer review rubric for the learning module, against which others will review your work, and against which you will do your self-review at the completion of your final draft. You can view this rubric while you draft your work at Creator => Feedback => Reviews => Rubric. The rubric explores four main knowledge processes, the background and rationale for which is described in the papers at this page. If you want to use the L-by-D icons to mark activity types explicitly, you can copy and paste web icons located at this link.

LearningModuleRubric.pdf

 

For the Instructor

For new CGScholar who have not previously created a learning module we posting the following updates from Getting Started in CGScholar:

  • 5.1: Finding and Using Learning Modules
  • 5.2: Creating a Learning Module
  • 5.3: Designing a Survey
  • 5.4: Adding a Project and a Survey to a Learning Module

Peer Reviewed Work 1: Annotated Bibliography (EdD)

For the Participant

Create an annotated bibliography of approximately 5 references. These should mostly be different from the ones you present in your updates.

The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to demonstrate that you can select the key publications of scholars who have also addressed a particular topic, as peer-reviewed articles or books. Your commentary will demonstrate that you can make astute synthesis and analysis of each publication, and connect publications in a way that is indicative of your understanding of the topic addressed in these publications.

Finding and Selecting References

  • On the web. Be sure to supplement a general web search with Google Scholar. Not only does this narrow your search to scholarly articles and books. It has useful information about how widely a work and an author has been cited. However, be careful with this information—quantity does not necessarily mean quality or relevance to your interests. Less cited works may be very good or highly relevant.
  • In the library. Search for journal articles and e-books that are behind paywalls on the web.
  • Read review articles. Look for review articles that address your topic.
  • Follow the gossip! When you find an article or book that you really like, or that you find very helpful, look for who this author is citing. If their work is helpful, they will probably have a good eye for things that you will also find helpful. Look out particularly for citations that may be obscure and not necessarily popular in the sense of garnering a large number of citations. Think of academic writing as a kind of gossip network. Who is talking about whom?

Web Tips

Requirements and Considerations

Write an introduction to your annotated bibliography which explains your interest, your topic, and your research question. What makes this your general field, and why are you here?

Cite each reference formally and in full. Write one or two paragraphs for each reference, summarizing its content and explaining its significance to the field and to the issues you will be addressing in your dissertation.

Peer Review Rubric and Annotation Codes

KnowledgeProcessRubricEdD.pdf

When addressing the peer review rubric, consider:

  • Your introductory rationale for selecting and grouping these works (your experience, interest, project focus)
  • The concepts and theory used by the scholar(s) who authored the book or article.
  • Main empirical findings, if the work is based on empirical study.
  • The methodology of the work, and how this has been usefully insightful in this case.
  • The significance of the work in terms of its impact on the academic field, and the frequency with which it is cited. (Though of course, some works you may want to argue are important in their implications for the whole field, even if not widely known or cited.)
  • Practical applications and real-world consequences, actual or potential. Creative and innovative extensions

If you have created an annotated bibliography in other courses in this program, do not include any references from there. Do not use references included in the course materials or in your or your peers' weekly updates. These should all be new references.

Use the following outline by creating the format in the CGScholar Structure tool:

  • Introduction: Write an introduction to your annotated bibliography which describes the concept or issue you have decided to address and why, and the connection between the items you have selected
  • Source 1/2/3/4/5 and a title or other brief descriptor
  • Citation: Cite each reference formally and in full
  • Search Terms Used or Author Key Words
  • Source: If you can, include a PDF of the article or a book, or a link to its source.
  • Summary: For each reference, summarize its content and questions. Use the following format as a guide: a) Key Concepts (The concepts and theory used by the scholar(s) who authored the book or article.) b)Theory or Theories Methodology and Research Design and how this has been usefully insightful in the study c) Findings d) Significance The significance of the work in terms of its impact on the academic field, and the frequency with which it is cited (e.g. in Google Scholar - though of course, some works you may want to argue are important in their implications for the whole field, even if not widely known or cited.) This may also include practical applications and real-world consequences, actual or potential and creative and innovative extensions.

Ask any questions or share suggestions in the comments area.

For the Instructor

For new users of CGScholar, we recommend the Learning Module, Getting Started in CGScholar. We specifically recommend at this stage that the admin release the following updates as the project proceeds:

  • 3.1: Starting a Work in Creator
  • 3.2: Using the Creator Workspace
  • 3.3: Using the Structure Tool
  • 3.4: Submitting a Draft
  • 3.5: Offering Feedback
  • 3.6: Revising a Work for Publication

Peer Reviewed Work 2: Literature Review (EdD)

For the Participant

Choose an issue, theme or topic within the scope of this course and write a literature review of 2000 words or more, addressing this issue. If you have an idea for your dissertation already, you may wish to choose a topic that intersects with that idea.

The literature review should not merely be descriptive—it should be analytical and critical. However, at the same time it should be a fair representation of the perspectives and voices of a range of people across the field. What are the main issues arising for this issue, theme or topic? The main challenges to be addressed? The questions being asked by the intellectual and practical leaders in relation to this issue?

Sources

  • This may be a continuation of what you produced in your Annotated Bibliography.
  • Include at least 10 scholarly sources.
  • 5 of these sources must be new to you (not used in previous courses, admin updates, your or your peers' updates, or in your annotated Bibliography).
  • The remaining sources may be from your Annotated Bibliography, updates, etc.

Structure and Process

One possible structure for the literature review might be as follows:

  1. Introduction: how this literature review ties into your experience and research Interests.
  2. The issue, topic or theme: why it is significant and what are the challenges being addressed, as reported by the literature? (You may also wish to structure your literature review around sub-themes, in which case, be sure you cover points 2-6 in each of your subthemes.)
  3. A synthesis of key concepts and theoretical frameworks, as reported by the literature: compare and contrast approaches.
  4. A synthesis of methodologies of research and application employed to address these issues, topics and themes; their strengths and weaknesses, as reported by the literature.
  5. A synthesis of main empirical findings and practical implications.
  6. Gaps in the literature; open questions and where further work is needed.
  7. Conclusion: where this issue is heading, the tasks ahead for people addressing this issue.
  8. References: list sources cited, Including any media.

The Textual Features of the Genre, Literature Review

The literature review is a delicate play between the voices of the field, and the way you bring them together in a synthesis and interpretation. It will map out an issue, theme or topic, fairly representing varied voices, analyzing their differences, and critically interpreting the nuances.

References

  • Boote, David N. and Penny Beile. 2005. "Scholars before Researchers: On the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation." Educational Researcher 34(6):3–15.
  • Galvan, Jose L. 2006. Writing a Literature Review: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Glendale CA: Pyrczak Publishing.
  • Machi, Lawrence A. and Brenda T. McEvoy. 2016. The Literature Review. Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin.

Web Tips

Here are some resources addressing the textual dynamics of a literature review:

References: On Academic Writing

You may also wish to take a moment to reflect on academic writing in general. Much academic writing is (frankly!) poor writing. Here are some readings and source books:

  • Strunk, William and E.B. White. 1979. Elements of Style. New York NY: Longman. (A classic!)
  • Sword, Helen. 2012. Stylish Academic Writing. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
  • The University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. 2017. The Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press. Online edition.
  • Coursera Academic Writing Course.

You cannot be too obsessive about style and textual consistency! Two requests:

Always proof everything you submit, including first drafts for peer review.
As a reviewer, always note typos and suggest textual revisions to peers using the annotations tool.

Peer Review Rubric and Annotation Codes

KnowledgeProcessRubricEdD.pdf

Some questions to address in the literature review:

  • What motivates your concern for this issue?
  • As a body of work, what practical questions does this literature set out to address?
  • What is the empirical range addresed in this issue, theme or topic?
  • Who are the most influential and most cited thinkers?
  • What are the main theories, interpretative frameworks, or paradigms which order knowledge when addressing this issue, theme or topic?
  • What kinds of research methodology are used?
  • What range of practices does this field spawn? What are its most exciting and promising areas of innovation?

Ask any questions or share suggestions in the comments area.

For the Instructor