Synthesize Knowledge

  • Demonstrates ability to read and understand educational literature related to Educational Technology
  • Demonstrates ability to describe fundamental theories of human learning
  • Applies knowledge of human learning, diversity, and effective pedagogy to solution of problems



I came to the Learning Design and Technology program with a degree in psychology, and I was already familiar with many of the theories of learning we were to discuss in our Learning Theories course.  I had a working knowledge of the relevant theories: behaviorism, cognitive information processing theory, schema theory, cognitive load theory, and situated learning theory.  However, while I could read and interpret research literature based on my prior studies, my understanding of these theories was very much from a psychological perspective.  This course gave me the opportunity to take what I knew of learning and expand upon it within an educational perspective.

However, the one learning theory I hadn’t studied prior to joining the program was constructivism, and of the theories we covered, constructivism had the least appeal to me from a perspective of personal educational philosophy.  As a learning goal, I felt I needed to challenge that perception and in doing so, find the value in constructivism as an educational approach.  So the application of constructivism to distance education appealed to me as a natural combination of basic theories (constructivism) and an area of instructional design that I already had an interest in and hope to pursue further (distance education).  By the end of the paper, I came to the conclusion that it is acceptable to feel more comfortable with one educational approach than another.  The key issue is not one’s comfortability with one theory over another but that as an instructional designer we are prepared to use all of them, so that a match the instructional approach is optimally matched to the learner’s need.

Meeting the Competency

The literature review paper for EDCI 53100 demonstrates ability to read and understand educational literature and to describe fundamental theories of human learning through a discussion of literature related to the topic under examination.  The reviewed research ranged from review studies that encompass a variety of learning theories (Ertmer and Newby, 1993), important investigations of distance education (Bourdeau & Bates, 1996), and a variety of recent articles that discuss both constructivism (i.e, Hmelo-Silver, Duncan, & Chinn, 2007) and instructional design (Dalsgaard & Godsk, 2007).  Additionally, the paper links consideration of these topics to the real world problem of student retention in distance education (Lee & Choi, 2011).

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