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Behaviorist, Cognitive, and Situative Perspectives on Design Learning

Behaviorist, Cognitive, and Situative Perspectives on Design Learning

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Published by Mel Chua
These notes are from a small group class discussion about various lens and frameworks that can be used to think about teaching and learning design. We grouped things into three general lens – in chronological order, they are: (1) the behaviorist view, which focuses on externally viewable stimulus-responses, (2) the cognitive view, which focuses on the internal mental constructs that individual people construct in their heads to organize information, and (3) the situative view, which considers knowledge to be embodied outside an individual in the artifacts and communities they interact with. They look strikingly different in practice.
These notes are from a small group class discussion about various lens and frameworks that can be used to think about teaching and learning design. We grouped things into three general lens – in chronological order, they are: (1) the behaviorist view, which focuses on externally viewable stimulus-responses, (2) the cognitive view, which focuses on the internal mental constructs that individual people construct in their heads to organize information, and (3) the situative view, which considers knowledge to be embodied outside an individual in the artifacts and communities they interact with. They look strikingly different in practice.

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Published by: Mel Chua on Oct 15, 2012
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Three Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Design
Nicholas D. Fila, Mel Chua, Corey Schimpf, and Farrah Fayyaz9/26/2012 – Design, Cognition, and Learning class notesReleased under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 license – feel free to share! These notes are from a small group class discussion about various lens and frameworks that can be used to thinkabout teaching and learning design. We grouped things into three general lens – in chronological order, they are: (1)the behaviorist view, which focuses on externally viewable stimulus-responses, (2) the cognitive view, which focuseson the internal mental constructs that individual people construct in their heads to organize information, and (3) thesituative view, which considers knowledge to be embodied outside an individual in the artifacts and communitiesthey interact with. They look strikingly different in practice.
BehavioristCognitiveSituative
Viewpointon mindParallelCS history“The mind is a black box. Wedon't care what happens insideit, only what we see outside.”Behaviorism was developedbefore PCs were widespread.Computer scientists were talkingabout the Chinese Room and the Turing Test, which are both aboutthe computer as black box andthe importance of watchingexternal responses.“The mind is an informationprocessing machine. We modelthe heck out of it.”Cognitive theories bloomed atthe same time as the PCrevolution. Expert knowledgewas a hot CS topic; how do wemodel the decision-makingprocesses of experts using acomputer?“Don't talk about a single mind –talk instead about a network of minds, embodied in a world.”Situative theories came of agearound the same time as theinternet exploded, facilitatingcommunication and socialnetworking across a distance in away humanity had never seenbefore.What isknowing?Knowing is stimulus-response.Individuals develop responses orpatterns or responses to variousstimuli or cues. Knowledge is theorganization of these contextualresponses.Individuals develop schemata tohelp them organize andunderstand new information. Thecloser info is to existingschemata, the easier it is toprocess. Knowledge can beconsidered the extent of one’sschemata, or the concepts oneunderstands.Knowledge is situated withincommunities, which includepeople as well as artifacts.Individual knowing can bethought of as the extent to whichone is integrated into thecommunity, thus knowing isattributed to the system ratherthan the individual.
 
What islearning?Learning is sequential, withsimpler tasks acting asprerequisites for more difficulttasks. The learner needs to beshaped to learning environment,not the other way around. Takingthis view of learning may resultin rote/mechanical knowledge.Learning is an act of activeprocess construction that is bestsupported by pedagogies of engagement. Misconceptionsmay develop as a result of lessstrict learning schemes.Learning is about becoming ableto participate in a community of practice, and is entirely situatedin the dialogues and practices of that community. It is a socialconstruct; if the communityaccepts you as having learned,you have learned.HowtransferworksAbility to transfer knowledge isbased on similarity of knowledgeto that required in newsituations. The goal would be toexpose to comprehensive stimuliso that responses are applicableto a broader range of situations. The general schema is acquiredfirst. With practice applying thisschema to different situations,more schemata can beintroduced, so there's sort of atransfer-begets-more-transfereffect. Transfer of knowledge requiresattunement to constraints andaffordances that are common toboth learning and transfersituations. Unlike the cognitiveview, situative theory says thatall knowledge is learned in aspecific situation – even if youare learning a general schema,you encounter a specific variantof it in a particular time andplace. We generalize from there.How tomotivatelearnersExtrinsically, with carrot andstick. There is an emphasis onnegative reinforcement andmastery (get it right beforeyou're allowed to move on).Intrinsically. The motivation tolearn happens when existingknowledge is not sufficient fornew situations.With identity. As one begins toidentify oneself as a member of the community, they are moremotivated to learn andparticipate in the community.Whatdoes itlook like?
Routine
Goals, feedback, reinforcement
Individual learning
A lot of QA engineering
Most lab assignments
Heathkits
Interactive
Non-routine
Most senior design andcapstone/project courses inengineering
Inquiry, social
Identity development
Human-centered design
Any book discussing IDEO
EPICS (community-serviceengineering projects atPurdue)

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