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Post 1 - Forum 2--Relating theory, research and practice.

Theory refers to set of ideas to explain a certain thing; it precisely describes how something
works. Generally, theory is a more abstract concept, though it can be “implementable”, but not in
all cases. If we define theory as set of ideas or patterns derived from acute observation of things,
then the practice is the application of these patterns or ideas. However, theory is not a
hypothesis; it is a well-sustained and tested explanation as compared to a mere suggested
explanation derived from an observable phenomenon. In other words, hypothesis calls for a
research, which may end up as a theory. In many ways, research and theory are inseparable terms
as research investigates a hypothesis to determine whether the assumption made is true; if it
holds it waters, then there is a possibility for the hypothesis to become a theory. The scientists
may apply various methodologies of research to determine whether the hypothesis made is
correct or not.

Where did Einstein “get” his Theory of Relativity from? Well, we know his theory was based on
a hypothesis; it is believed the “educated guess” a scientist makes is based on his/her prior
knowledge or observation. For Einstein to come up with the Theory of Relativity, he had to
observe an unexplained occurrence; so that means his theory came from his observation.
However, the question occurs is whether we notice “unexplained occurrence or thing” without
having the ability to critically think. According to The Foundation For Critical Thinking, a
critical thinker is who “raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
precisely.” So without having the ability to critically think; does our mind bother paying
attention to the “unexplained occurrences?” I do not know answer to that, I will let you comment
on it.

Now we know a little, or at least we think we know, how learning takes place inside our brain.
How do we know what we know? Does knowledge transfer from full or almost full vessel
[teacher] to empty vessel [student]? If that’s that case, then what happens inside the minds of
students when the teacher transfers that knowledge to the students’ mind. Let’s suppose, that is
true, which means knowledge is objective; knowledge in the teacher’s mind and the students’
mind is the same. That is the one way to look at it. Constructivists do not agree; they believe
“knowledge is essentially subjective in nature, constructed from our perceptions and usually
agreed upon conventions.” Rejecting the behaviorists’ view, they argue humans construct
knowledge rather than acquiring it through transmission of knowledge from those who know it to
those who do not know it.

Neuroscientists believe, when it comes to learning, each human brain is different in meaningful
ways. Being biodiverse at individual level, we are different and our minds work differently to
learn the same thing; what we do and how we do to learn, actually rewires the brain. If we accept
this argument, then the question arises how the knowledge of brain’s functioning, even if we
knew fully, could ever pin down the mystery of learning.

Keeping that in mind, I would like to argue we would have other theories even if we really knew
how the brain actually worked.
(n.d.). Retrieved December 26, 2017, from http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-
critical-thinking/766

Bradford, A. (2017, July 26). What Is a Scientific Hypothesis? | Definition of Hypothesis.


Retrieved December 26, 2017, from https://www.livescience.com/g00/21490-what-is-a-
scientific-hypothesis-definition-of-
hypothesis.html?i10c.encReferrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8%3D&i10c.ua=1

Difference Between Theory and Practice. (2016, February 05). Retrieved December 26, 2017

Post 2 – Relating Practice, Theory, Research to People, Process and Devices

Learning strategy is an individual’s approach to complete a task. In other words, each individual is
different and they learn things differently; each individual organizes and uses his/her a particular set of
skills to complete the educational tasks. So, the one who has a better strategy [in using skills effectively]
enjoys an effective learning experience. Learning strategies can be defined as well-thought-out steps
taken by a learner to make learning experience easier and enjoyable. However, the learning theory is
defined as a broader framework that explores how knowledge is better processed and understood by
learners. It also helps explain why people learn.

The change with the technological revolution we are witnessing is just beyond any coping mechanism;
the internet has just reshaped the world completely within last two to three decades. In our lives, things
have changed to the degree, which we could have never imagined 30 years ago; but have the teaching
methods and techniques also changed accordingly? Not quite. Now we know little bit more about how
our brain works in the process of learning new things. This technological advancement has introduced
the concept of ubiquitous learning, taking out time and space out of equation, which; therefore, means
students can learn anytime and anywhere. Now learning is not limited to the teacher or classroom;
therefore, the instructional designers should prepare for these changes and design the courses to
address the needs of current time.

Post 3 – Adult and Transformative Learning and Motivation

1. What are the differences, or at least one difference, between andragogy and pedagogy? Do you agree
or disagree with the statement that there are differences?

By definition pedagogy is child-focused teaching approach and andragogy is an adult-focused teaching


approach. One of the key differences between andragogic and pedagogic approaches is believed to be
the adult learners’ ability to direct their learning as compared to the child learners being solely
dependent on the teacher. Is it true? Well, it sure seems so in the conventional school environment
where everything is done to create a learning environment based on the assumption that the children
are not able to direct their learning. It is argued that children are not trusted that they can make choices
about their learning. Are children truly not able to self-direct their learning or they are not really trusted
that they can lead their own learning process? Switzerland government ran Villa Monte, a school model
which has no teachers, no exams and no report cards. According to Mirjam Schöning (2015), in Villa
Monte “children from 4-18 years of age arrive every morning and decide entirely for themselves what
they want to do during the day, whether they prefer to roam the woods, cook, practice for a theater
play, or program a robot.” Undoubtedly, these children had very happy childhood; however, they did
have a knowledge deficit in the early days of their college life, “but that content deficit is typically made
up within six months.” So, the argument that pedagogy is different in terms of self-guided learning calls
for further scrutiny as to whether each component of pedagogic or andragogic approaches is well tested
and proven to be true.

2. What do you think is the prime source of motivation in:

a) The classroom given the assumption that young people are not there by choice.

It’s always a difficult task to motivate the learners to learn what they don’t want to learn. Absent
intrinsic motivation, humans, according to behaviorists, are naturally get motivated to some extent by
an external reward such as pay increase or high grades and punishment. However, it is argued that the
need to survive - when the situation becomes a do-and-die battle for an individual - can be a huge
contributing factor to one’s motivation in “forced learning.”

b) Compliance training

Compliance training involves mandatory training for adult learners to learn something that is required
by their organization. If this training is just one-off event, then, in most cases, learners don’t get
motivated; they just attend the training without really paying attention to the content of the training. If
the training is designed in a way that it offers follow up sessions and it has something in it for the
learners; it may help motivate the learners.

c) Organizational and Individual Development Training

If it is clearly stated and communicated as to why this training is important for the learners and how it
will help them satisfy their needs for intrinsic motivation, then the learners can be motivated to
participate in it with little more enthusiasm.

d) Do benefits and salary motivate?

Yes and No. They are not the constant source of motivation; people get excited and motivated around
the time when their salary is increased and they lose their motivation again after sometime. If the job is
a matter of survival for people, they will find their motivation for it, even if they are underpaid. You
might have a highly paid CEO with less motivation and an underpaid worker with the greater motivation
for what they do, depending on how much they want to do, what they do. Going to work every day
doesn’t mean each employee is also motivated to do what they do.

References

Schöning, M. (2015, April 08). Children in Charge: Self-Directed Learning Programs. Retrieved January
09, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/children-in-charge-self-directed-learning-mirjam-
schoning
Post 4 – Motivation and Transformational Learning

Provide an example in your life of transformative learning. Why was it transformative? Who or what
made it transformative? Additionally, consider the ethics involved in pursuing transformation in your
learners. Do they want to be transformed? Do parents or community want transformation? Do you
pursue it anyway?

An example of transformative learning in my life involved an English language teacher, Muhammad Ali,
who successfully worked with the students with low self-belief about their ability to learn English. He
would give all those students a chance to learn English who were denied admission to other language
schools; and it was his constant talk with the students how they are capable of learning like any other
student actually made him very successful at what he was doing. I remember this teacher spending
countless hours, even after his duty time, to just lift the students’ spirit when they were feeling down.
The students who had really required this transformation to make difference in their lives made
incredible efforts to learn English and they, eventually, became very successful in their professional
lives. I think people, in most cases, accept transformation if it goes well with their traditions and values.

2. What learning strategies motivate you?

For me, the only learning strategy works really well when I am given a chance to have face-to-face
meaningful discussion after a lecture or a reading assignment. I need to have a clarity of concept about
the topic; if I am able to construct my thoughts in an organized manner, it means learning was
successful. Therefore, I learn best when I teach.

Take a stab: What learning theories are being applied this week? This is intended to get you thinking
about future readings and activities.

This week, I think, more than one theory is being applied. Why am I writing this or posting to this forum?
Well, because I will get some points and if I don’t then I might fail my course. So, reward and
punishment; I think behaviorist learning theory is being applied, at least at the minimum level. Since we
are constructing our own knowledge based on our past learning experience about the transformative
learning, therefore, the constructivist approach is also applied.

What assumptions are you seeing being made about you in this week's activities - namely readiness to
accomplish the tasks?

It is safe to say that we are assumed to be ready and capable of learning about the topic. We are
expected to read all the materials assigned for this week and come up with meaningful discussion points
for a fruitful learning experience. We are also assumed to be highly motivated to learn about learning
theories and we all had a transformative learning moment in our lives at some point.

Post – Reflection on brain structure, function and operation

Do you see the model of desire, motivation, success leading to further motivation to be a valid one?

Well, apparently it sure seems that success and motivation lead to more success and motivation.
However, let me ask you; how many times in your life it has happened that you wanted to be good at
something so bad and once you achieved that; you started losing the intensity of the motivation for it
once you had. Why did Michael Jordan, at the age of 30 when he was at the peak of his NBA career,
decide to retire from Basketball? John Stewart, the famous host of The Daily Show, said: “That’s not
enough anymore, or that maybe it’s time for some discomfort,” when he decided to leave the show. Ron
Friedman, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychologist and the founder of ignite80, answers to these points,
saying “what we often fail to anticipate, however, is that once we’ve scaled that mountain, it can be
surprisingly chilly on the other side. After a period of massive productivity we have to revert back to life
as usual and settle back into an established workplace routine.” This is not meant to dispute that
success doesn’t not motivate; it is just another aspect of how an extraordinary success can no longer be
a motivational factor anymore.

Has this look at how neuro- and cognitive sciences see the brain been of value?

This new look at how neuro and cognitive sciences see the brain have been very valuable for me. I still
do not know a lot about it; with the very basic knowledge I gained about it this week, I would like to dig
deeper into this area of learning. It was fascinating to know how chemically learning can be addictive
with dopamine and opioid mutually facilitating each other in this process. It was also fascinating to know
how 85% of the brain, the other brain, works to facilitate communication among neurons. It has
definitely opened another area of interest for me to look into.

What impact does it have on how you look at the act of developing training or teaching or learning?

The lines from The Maritz Institute White Paper that sums up my problem about act of developing
training or teaching or learning from this week readings were, “when developing training for business
environments, we spend most of our time focused on the content we want people to know rather than
how they will learn.” I think the little information we got about how brain works this week definitely got
me interested in learning how the learners actually learn.

Think of your schooling and/or significant educational or training experiences. Where was your
upbringing similar or contrary to the Schumann/Scherer model?

As for as my schooling experience is concerned, it was totally contrary to Schumann/Scherer model. The
only learning strategy applied back then was to make us memorize the content to pass an exam, which
was all about our memory test. The key stimuli our teachers loved was hard punishment to make us
memorize the content in a learning environment which was never intrinsically pleasant. However, the
only aspect of Schumann/Scherer model I can remotely relate to my schooling experience is the
improved social image when I was able to score really well in my tests.

What changes in your k-12 or university experience do you see being necessary if the Schumann/Scherer
model is valid? Do you see a need for changes if you believe there are problems with the
Schumann/Scherer model?

At my workplace, I would like to see more clearly defined how action is relevant to the goals and needs
of the students. So often, it is observed that students get frustrated because they are not clearly told
how a certain action would help them achieve their learning goals. It is also noticed that situation is
always not intrinsically pleasant for students as, in some cases, they do not get to pick the language of
their choice.
Post – Behaviorism and Cognitivism

Discuss the Behaviorist and Cognitive elements in the strategies we covered in the Hattie text: Mastery
Learning, Keller's PIS Model, Worded Examples, and Feedback.

There are elements of behaviorism that can be detected in Mystery Learning as they both put
responsibility of the student’s success or failure on the instruction and not on lack of ability on the
student’s part. This strategy also requires high levels of teacher feedback and correction mechanism to
ensure that students are successful in their learning. Keller’s PSI model allows students to read on their
own pace but students must satisfy mystery requirements in each step before moving to the other one.
It tries to maximize the number of operant behaviors that could be reinforced. Worked examples are
designed to support initial acquisition of cognitive skills through introducing a formulated problem,
solution steps and the final solution (Renkl, 2005).

Address the difference between the theories and the strategies.

Learning strategy is an individual’s approach to complete a task. In other words, each individual is
different and they learn things differently; each individual organizes and uses his/her a particular set of
skills to complete the educational tasks. So, the one who has a better strategy [in using skills effectively]
enjoys an effective learning experience. Learning strategies can be defined as well-thought-out steps
taken by a learner to make learning experience easier and enjoyable. However, the learning theory is
defined as a broader framework that explores how knowledge is better processed and understood by
learners. It also helps explain why people learn.

Address the types of learning activities you believe are supported by Behaviorism.

I think the activities that include drills, low-task activities, exercises, extensive feedback or correction
can have elements of behaviorism. All learning activities that encourage teacher’s observation of
learners’ behavior and subsequent steps to either discourage or reinforce that very behavior are
typically supported by behaviorists.

Please provide your thoughts on Guthrie and the effect of learning environment on what is actually being
learned.

Guthrie was very focused on forming good habits, as the students are likely to repeat the same things in
the same situations. It is true that it is very hard to unlearn or undo bad habits. However, it is hard to
prove that people/students will react to a given situation the same way always.

How are these theories and the strategies informing the design of your Capstone project? If you have
not gotten that far, discuss in terms of an education or training issue you are working with.

These theories have gotten me more interested into learning how actually learning takes place inside
the human brain. Now I am trying to pay more attention to understand how we learn things and why
some of us are good at certain things and not so good at some other things.