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Reflections Week 2

This week we discussed the learning theories of behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism and social-constructivism. My undergraduate degree included a psychology component so much of it was familiar though it had been a while. It was an interesting experience trying to remember the famous names associated with each of the learning theories as they were mentioned. As an undergrad I probably leaned more towards behaviorism. In retrospect that was probably due to the strong behaviorist structure of my own primary and secondary education.

I was asked to reflect on what learning theory my teaching practice would fall into and how the various learning theories fit into the curriculum where I teach. I am having some trouble deciding whether it is cognitivist or social constructionist or both. It could be argued that there is a behaviorist basis to it also but I think this argument could be made to almost any form of teaching as any successful teaching method should result in a change in behavior.

I think the class is certainly getting the impression that social constructivism is the most popular learning model amongst researchers and academics and that an educator dictating to a class room of silent students is not the optimum method of teaching.

We were also introduced to experiential learning styles of Kolb’s Learning cycle and Race’s ‘ripples’ model of learning and threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. I like the idea of troublesome knowledge. It is interesting to analyse what it is that blocks a learner from being able to fully understand a new concept and how that learner can be helped.

Kolbs cycle of learning Diagram of Race's ripples model of learning.