Unit 4.3

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To students of instructional design the introduction and subsequent "sorting out" of the various learning theories and associated instructional design strategies can be somewhat confusing. It was out of this feeling of cognitive dissonance that this site was born. Why does it seem so difficult to differentiate between three basic theories of learning? Why do the names of theorists appear connected to more than one theory? Why do the terms and strategies of each theory overlap? The need for answers to these questions sparked my investigation into the available literature on learning theories and their implications for instructional design. I found many articles and internet sites that dealt with learning theory and ID, in fact, it was difficult to know when and where to draw the line. When I stopped finding new information, and the articles were reaffirming what I had already read, I began to write. The writing process was a learning experience for me and now that I have finished, I want to start over and make it even better, because I know more now than I did when I began. Every time I reread an article, there were ideas and lists that I would wish to add to my writing. Perhaps in further development of this site I will change and refine my presentation. Reading about the development of learning theories and their connection to instructional design evoked, for me, many parallels with the development of other theories in sciences. I have included some of those thoughts as asides within the main body of text. Besides behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism one could discuss such topics as connoisseurship, semiotics, and contextualism, but a clear understanding of the basic learning theories would be best. In education there are three big ways to teaching. Behaviorism, Humanism, and Constructivism play a major role in every school. While all three are different in nature, they all affect the way a teacher teaches, and in turn how the students learn. In this unit we will focus on constructivism. Constructivism is basically a theory - based on observation and scientific study, about how people learn. The process is essentially learner-centered. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. Many others worked with these ideas, but the few major contemporaries to develop a clear idea of constructivism as applied to classrooms and childhood development were Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner.