Learning Trends

Week 1 Discussion Output – Introduction and Short Commentary

Hi, everyone.  My name is JellSoL.  I have been teaching and learning with students (from preschool to graduate studies) for 18 years now.  I share my love of reading and doing research with learners from different cultures.  I taught in an accredited international school for 15 years.  I am currently connected with a government educational agency here in the Philippines.  I teach American Literature and Oral Communication to young government scholars of Philippine Science High School, also fondly called as Pisay.  This is my fourth EdX course, but my first class in the Micromaster program.  I am excited to know more about designing an effective and efficient online learning platform.  This audio-video file is a short commentary on learning trends.

The Objectivist Model.  This is the philosophy behind face-to-face classroom lectures –commonly referred to as a traditional teaching strategy and the most common teaching and learning presentation where the teacher, dubbed as the expert, transfers knowledge to students (Janicki, 2013).  This model is synonymous to lectures that define what the general population points as “the school.”  Several years of my life as a student saw me in these lecture halls.  Concepts loaded with technical terms are easily shared through this setup.  For having spelled what teacher-student relationship means, now and then, I see myself giving lectures, being the expert in the classroom transmitting knowledge to the younger generation.  These instances though, are becoming less frequent through the years, as I continue to adapt new teaching and learning approaches.

The Constructivist Model.  Students learn better when they are made more accountable of the learning process.  This model upholds that it is crucial that learners, by themselves, are given opportunities to discover answers and formulate questions; as opposed to be waiting for the experts to impart their knowledge (Janicki, 2013).  This approach marked a paradigm shift from a teacher-centered objectivist perspective to being student-centered constructivist.  A shout-out to my favorite and most beloved mentor, Dr Angel O. Pesirla, thank you very much for being a dynamic expert.  You have always been ahead of your time.  Even before I was bound to learn about teaching and learning trends, before I could learn their names, before such varied and differentiated approaches became the norm, you have already modeled a combination of these objectivist and constructivist outlook in our classes from undergrad to graduate years.

Learning Theory.  The bigger umbrella has the words Objectivist and Constructivist engraved on it.  One of their sub models are the learning theories.  Behaviorism capitalizes on modeling the task through direct instructions (the stimulus), providing feedback and allowing students to practice (the behavioral response or result) (IDC, 2018).  Thus, when given from a different angle, students may miss recognizing the stimulus and so they could not respond.  The example given was on teaching students how to send email messages.  When a teacher solely focuses on the parts of an email message (one stimulus-response scenario), not on why it should be written using a formal register, then students may fail to recognize the same concept at work when made to publish blogs or public posts in social media.

Cognitivism, on the other hand, highlights mental processes in learning (IDC, 2018).  It focuses on how students make meaning out of the given task, how they process information.  It keeps an eye on cognitive load to check if students are really focused on the given material or their attention has been divided for different reasons.  Students are shown models of the required output and are made to pay attention on the process to understand how they are going to go through it themselves to complete the task.  The example given can be taken as an interpretation of the objectivist model (when the teacher shared sample output and discussed required components) and a tap on the constructivist model (when students were made to analyze the process in order to identify then later retrace the steps to come up with the same results).

Learning Design.  The most striking point in Mor and Craftʼs (2012) paper is their opening statement when they shared, “we are also witnessing a shift of emphasis: from distributors of knowledge to designers of learning experiences.”  It is exciting to read an acknowledgement of this new demand in education, but a tad depressing that not everyone in the teaching world can support it as fast as it is evolving.  In summing up definitions shared to make the scope of learning designs (LD) more tangible, it is discouraging to note that both factors highlighted are doubly (or even triply) challenging in a developing country like the Philippines.  When they stressed the need to look into “how” computer systems should be constructed to orchestrate learning resources, local schools in the Philippines have intermittent Internet connection or not connected at all.  When they (Mor & Craft, 2012) pointed out the need “to find effective ways of sharing innovation in technology-enhanced learning (TEL),” teachers who are computer or information technology illiterate still exist in classrooms here and there are educators who are still debating the use of technology in the classroom when the rest of the world has moved on talking about guiding students how to become responsible and mindful digital citizens.  Learning Design as a field may still need to establish its scope, its overall grounding philosophy, and/or its platform.  Yet, does it have to? Is it not enough to take it as a pedagogical framework or as a point of reference when teachers and students acknowledge the need to mold a clear and meaningful learning path?

There are tons of names of approaches, strategies, theories, and models to remember.  At the end of the day, these terms turn into one crucial mass of considerations behind a teacher’s mindset with only one concrete question as he/she writes the lesson plan: how well will students learn?

You might want to check my audio presentation playlist.

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  1. Joseph Hortezuela says:

    Great job, Ms Jell for elucidating these learning theories and models. As teachers, it is necessary that we recognized them so that we will know how students learn best. As for me, I think as teachers we have to combine the different strategies in teaching to address all these models and theories and taking into consideration that our students have unique backgrounds and experiences, that they are now in a more digitalized world and varied social media interactions. We need to address in not only one but varied learning styles and thus we can have objectivist at some points or constructivist at times. It is good to note as well that teaching-learning process has shifted and another way of saying it from your commentary: teachers are no longer the sole source of knowledge for learners but we are facilitators in the learning process of our students. At the end of the day, our primary concern are the students’ welfare if there will be learning and that we can only have that if we can achieve connection from their previous schema or previous learnings such that aside from new knowledge, preconceptions and misconceptions will be addressed as well to create a meaningful learning. If the experience is meaningful for students, misconceptions can be reoriented to become the correct conceptions and be embedded in the long-term memory of students.

    1. JellSoL says:

      Thank you for a very thorough feedback, Sir Jo. Much appreciated. I love your take on how the modern-world facilitators should “reorient” misconceptions. There is always a level of didactic blow when one says “correct.” It causes students to fear making mistakes. “Reorient” has nurturing and collaborative undertones.

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