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Learning Theories And Implications For Educational Technology

1629 words - 7 pages

Learning Theories and Implications for Educational Technology

Abstract
The theories of Vygotsky, Gardner, and Gagne present vary different models of learning. Vygotsky and Gardner see culture as an important factor in how a child learns, and see growth and development and individual thing. Gagne, however, focuses on a formal model of instruction, with the method used depending upon the content being taught. All three theories have a role to play in educational technology.

Learning Theories and Implications for Educational Technology
There are a variety of learning theories that have been presented over the past several decades, each proposing different thoughts on how and where learning takes place and how instruction should be designed. The theories of Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner, and Robert Gagne propose different models of learning and instruction. Thought they are quite different, they each do have a role in instruction in an educational technology setting.

Lev Vygotsky
The social cognition learning model is based on the notion that the way an individual thinks, learns and reasons is primarily is a result of the culture that they are surrounded by. To Vygotsky, intelligence is “much more specific to the culture in which a child was reared.” (Vasta, R., Haith, M.M., Miller, S.A. 1995 as quoted by Kristinsdóttir 2001). According to Kristinsdóttir (2001), “Vygotsky viewed cognitive developments as a result of a dialectic process where the child learns through shared problem solving experiences with someone else.” Parents, teachers, friends, and siblings all aid the development process as they talk and work with a child through task and or problems. Early on in the process the adult or other person who is leading the interaction controls most of what takes place, but as the child grows and develops cognitively, more of the responsibility is taken on by the child. (“Vygotsky and Social Cognition” n. d.) Language takes the center stage in this process, with play and imagination also playing important roles. (“Application of Vygotsky’s Theory” n.d.).
A key component of Vygotsky’s theory is a concept called the zone of proximal development. Social Cognition theory holds that there is a gap between what the child can do independently and what can be done with assistance, called the zone of proximal development. (“Application of Vygotsky’s Theory” n.d.). Ricardo Shutz provided an excellent analogy to help understand the concept of the zone of proximal development: “In mechanics, when you adjust the timing of an engine, you set it slightly ahead of the highest compression moment in order to maximize power and performance.” (2002).

Howard Gardner
Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence proposes that there are multiple ways of knowing and learning, challenging previous held notions that intelligence comes in one form and can be measured in one standardized way. (Smith 2002). The forms of intelligence that Gardner proposed...

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