Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning theories, frameworks, and approaches

So I'm building a concept map for my application of candidacy for the Open and Networked PhD program with Wikiversity and P2Pu. The related P2Pu challenge requests a creative work that describes your area of study. My areas of study are self-directed life-long learning approaches (Heutagogy) and software architecture. One of the concept maps I am creating attempts to answer the question "what is life-long learning?" I started to visualize the terms;  pedagogy, andragogy, heutagogy, behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism. I began to struggle with how these terms relate to each other within a concept map... so this micro learning journey began and inspired this blog post. How best do I visualize the connections and relationships among all these terms?

I read, I reflected, and I settled upon two main categories for the following reasons;

1. Approaches to teaching and learning
This set of terms describe ways of teaching and learning. And they describe how a person can learn and provides ways to plan and conduct learning.
  1. Behaviorism - a large amount of repetition to achieve the desired action.
  2. Cognitivism - sequenced learning. Learning is a determined journey, that with direction desired learning can be achieved.
  3. Constructivism - a persons learning is built upon previous learnings and knowledge. New learning are put into place based on this previous knowledge.
  4. Connectivism - knowledge is stored in your friends, the information appliances and the objects around you.
  5. Others - there are many other approaches, but I see the above four as the most generalized set
  6. Inquiry - I'd also include inquiry based approaches, cause they work really well... IMO.
2. How I perceive the learning theories
All of the theories are about how humans learn (or can be taught, depending on your perspective). I believe the biggest factor in applying learning theory is age. I do believe children learn differently than adults. I also believe adults can learn a lot from how children learn.
  1. Pedagogy - how kids are educated [taught or learned (let's say K12... could overlap into higher education and before kindergarten)]
  2. Andragogy - directed education strategies for adults
  3. Heutagogy - self-directed learning by adults (strategies for the adult to learn without the direction of others)
So there you have it, three theories and six approaches... I do believe that all six approaches can be used within each of the three theories (with varying degrees of success). All this reading and reflection influenced the organization of my concept map to look as follows; more on this to come...

DRAFT Knowledge Domain for the Educational Technologist v0.2