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By now, you should understand how to conduct a needs assessment and goal analysis, in order to determine the barrier to the optimum performance of your learner. Regardless of what kind of barrier you are dealing with, you, as the Instructional Designer, need to be able to put yourself in the learner's shoes. These three theories are used in the field of Instructional Design as guidelines for understanding how to develop instruction that will be most effective for the learner.

Behaviorism

Based on behavioral changes. Focuses on a new behavioral pattern being repeated until it becomes automatic.

Cognitivism

Based on the thought process behind the behavior. Changes in behavior are observed, but only as an indicator to what is going on in the learner's head.

Constructivism

Based on the premise that we all construct our own perspective of the world, based on individual experiences and schema. Focuses on preparing the learner to problem solve in ambiguous situations.

Schema
An internal knowledge structure. A person adjusts his mental model to incorporate new experiences and make sense of this new information. A person's schema is constantly readjusting.

 

Each of these three theories is equally important. How do you decide which theoretical strategies to use? When deciding which strategies to use, it is vital to consider both the level of knowledge of your learners and the cognitive processing demands. Think about the nature of the learning task or the level of cognitive processing required to perform it and the proficiency level of your learners. Some theoretical strategies overlap in the level of cognitive processing required. Take this into account. Incorporate strategies from different theoretical perspectives as needed.


 

Part I - Theory

 

How is knowledge processed or How do learners learn?
How does instruction differ?
What are the problems and strengths of these theories?
How do I design appropriate instruction?
What is the learner like?

 

 


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