Tutors use different learning theories to impact on how students acquire, retain and recall knowledge. Learning theories explore how learning occurs which can further provide the tutor with guiding principles on which techniques, strategies and instructional tools to use to stimulate desire and promote learning (Pritchard, 2013). Generally, learning can be defined as something we understand in which we have all participated. Participation can occur in a wide variety of sets ranging from the confines of a classroom to open spaces where conversations lead to insights or deeper understanding of a particular topic. Therefore, learning can be understood from different contexts for example researchers would define learning differently from or students learning about the solar system depending on the time spent investigating and experimenting in the field together with other factors that exert influence on the time. In this case, Mr. Johnson prepares an exciting lesson plan to engage the whole class and specifically two foreign students Raul and Anita who have recorded dismal performance in class. The tutor's lesson plan is bold enough to acknowledge such facts that the two students are still not proficient with their English language, which is the official language in classroom communications in addition to them not being accustomed to the new school environment complicating their learning process, especially in-group discussion. The lesson plan seeks to balance the needs of these two students with the possibility of engaging them and not affecting the learning processes of the rest of the class. The instruction material is exhaustive enough to take into account performance goals need, learning situation and learners in question. It is multidimensional having incorporated different theories approach in the instructional design process to provide optimal learning to each student.
Mr. Johnsons lesson plan applies four learning principles: behaviorism, cognitive information processing, social cognitive theory, and constructivism. In our analysis is crucial to outline core components and underlying principles of these theories to effectively link them with the lesson plan that Mr. Johnson is about to use. Behaviorism theory is based on the belief that learning occurs when new behaviors are acquired through associations between stimuli and responses hence the instructor shapes a positive reinforcement (Pritchard, 2013). Rewards for positive reinforcement of these behaviors can vary widely e.g. comments in books, stickers, and points of recommendation, certificates, and verbal encouragement. Usually, the teacher present the information say in form of a lecture and the student is tasked with demonstrating his/her understanding of the material provided through assessments tests, promised rewards and punishment which act as main stimuli. The pattern is repeated to provide an automatic reinforced response. Conditioning of these reflex responses can occur when a natural reflex responds to a stimulus the introduction of a new topic will biologically trigger student interest since they are biologically wired to grasp much at the begging of any new topic that stimulates interest. This form of conditioning is called classical conditioning. Response to stimuli can be reinforced by providing rewards making the response more probable in future in case of a positive reinforcement the latter form of conditioning is defined as behavioral or operant conditioning (Pritchard, 2013). For example, Mr. Johnson lesson plan daily objectives are to have student compare and contrast the differences and similarities on the planets in the solar system with respect to orbit and rotation of the planets in the solar system. The students will also describe implications of being too close or too far from the sun which will eventually lead to their understanding of how sunlight affects human and plant life. Such expected outcomes are termed as a stimulus that will motivate the student to seek understanding in line with the provided guidelines based on the instructional materials provided in class to demonstrate their understanding.
Cognitivism is concerned with how the learners brain store retrieve information for later use. New information is transferred and assimilated through information processing approach comparing it with schema, which is an internal cognitive knowledge structure inside the learner, which already exist. Usually, the cognitive information processing consists three stages: the sensory register receives inputs then processed in the short-term memory and then transferred in the long-term memory for storage and retrieval (Mitchell et al, 2013). Successful retention of the knowledge gained is dependent on a deeper level of processing that generates linkages between old and new information. The instructor achieves this through explanations, demonstrations, illustrative examples, outlines, corrective feedbacks, repetition, and interactivity. For example, a new topic is presented in a systematic way to connect with the learners specific existing cognitive structure in which they understand they are then confronted with a problem, which requires them to find a solution, which typically has a discovery approach learning process to help the learner understand in terms they can relate (Pritchard, 2013). Mr. Johnson clearly uses this theory in this lesson plan when he illustrates the solar system concept using one student as the sun and having others represent the eight planets based on their distance to the sun. The task is again repeated with a lit candle representing the sun and students representing the planets in a bid to determine how planet differ in temperature in relation to their distance to the sun. All these illustrations form a mental picture of the student, which eventually link to how sunlight is important to the survival of plant and people based on its hotness or coldness. The learners also gain a deeper understanding of how the planets orbit around the sun at the same time rotating on themselves, which affects the timelines of day and night. However, the theory has limitations, as it does not account for processes taking place in the mind that cannot be observed. The technique also advocates for passive student learning where the teacher is at the center hence not important to nurture problem-solving skills.
Social learning theory proposes that people learn through imitations, modeling or observing others behaviors. Hence, new knowledge and behaviors can be acquired simply by observing a model, which could be a person who is demonstrating the behavior. The theory considers special past experiences that the learner acquired knowledge and new behaviors and the environment the individual performs the behavior (Pritchard, 2013). Such past experiences influence reinforcements; for example, observable consequences that follow another person behavior presently will positively motivate and influence the possible future occurrence of such behavior. The technique has its advantages since it attends to pertinent clues, code for a memory in form of a visual image, the learner can accurately reproduce the observed activity in addition to possessing sufficient motivation to apply new learning. Like in a classroom, students are motivated by higher GPA, popularity with fellow classmates, such goals direct behaviors and can influence non-performing students to perform better to perfectly fit in such social context and avoid the punishment that comes with the dismal performance like mockery. The theory also encompasses another aspect like behavioral capability, which refers to a learner's actual ability to perform a certain behavior say being actively involved in classroom activities and learn from the consequences of their behavior, which affects the environment in which they live. Self-efficacy relates to the learner's confidence in his or her abilities to perform a behavior taking into consideration environmental barriers and facilitators (Mitchell et al, 2013). Different research on learning theory have outlined the influence learning models can have on a student. Largely it depends on how much power the model seems to have, how capable the model can be and the nurturing capability the model seem to infuse. In the given classroom lesson plan Anita and Raul are evidently facing language and cultural barriers, which are adversely affecting their overall performance. Having different cultural background may adversely affect their group participation especially when required to communicate in English. This can be evident in their antisocial behavior of not interacting with the rest of the class. Specific activities in the lesson plan ensure their participation for example when the observe a mock of solar system demonstrated by other students. The technique of having the student sit down and collectively discuss and demonstrate the solar system with its orbit and different planed infuses a social approach in which students are able to learn from each others responses. However just like the prior discussed theories social learning theory do not account for individuality efforts and students remain passive and not active. Emotions and motivation are still not considered important or and connected to the learning process.
Constructivism bases its principle on how learners construct their own meaning based on their current or past knowledge, social and motivational interaction and how they affect knowledge construction (Mitchell et al, 2013). In its premise, the theory makes connections between facts and new understanding with the educator tailor task to produce students responses in addition to encouraging them to analyze, interpret and predict information. The learner plays a central role in mediating and controlling learning with the teacher serving the role as a coach or facilitator to monitor the learning process (Pritchard, 2013). The tutor provides activities, tools, and a suitable environment to encourage self-analysis, reflection and information processing by the learner. Knowledge is usually constructed, not acquired where a student is required to explore and seek information independently. Later the student is required to collaborate with their peers to expose them to an alternative point of views. The theoretical approach also emphasizes problem-solving and deep understanding of concepts. In Mr. Johnsons, lesson activity number one the students are provided with materials to construct a 3D visual representation of the solar system which encourages the students to use their own imagination based on their previous knowledge. The collective task ensures every student especially Raul and Anita understands that concept since it is a physical task that involves their participation. The effect will be to stimulate learning process through these physical tasks to encourage students to generate knowledge through them providing visual and deeper understanding of the new topic. Such a learning approach provides a situation and environment with skills, contents, and tasks having a realistic and authentic representation on the complexity of the real world, in this case, the solar system and support of life in the different planet. Like behaviorism, the cognitivism theory technique gives knowledge that is absolute and accounts less for individuality learning effort with little emphasis on affective characterizes.
Constructivism first occurs at a social level than in a personal level. According to Jean Piaget constructivism on a personal level when a state of disequilibrium or imbalance is created when a learner encounters an experience. In such a case the learner, alter his/her thinking associating it with what they already know to restore such mental imbalance by assimila...
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