Edtech 503 Discussion 3 Learning Theories Case Study

Based on learning theories and the pedagogical approaches (Instructivist, Constructivist, and Connectivist), as presented in the book, which pedagogical approach or approaches do you feel would be more appropriate to use in your instructional design project and why? Please, make a short introduction of your project to understand better your instructional decisions.

An instructional design project that I am exploring involves having the students use the application PowToon to make a video as an extension of their reading assignment.  In the class students read a story which has a central idea of a problem and a solution.  Students use the theme to create a storyboard and make a video.  The students are South Korean middle school second language learners who study privately online after school.

This project uses a combination of Instructivist and Constructivist pedagogical approaches.  A Constructivist approach engages the student through problem solving in authentic situations.  For this project students will think about authentic topics and deliver a message in a multimedia format.  Prior to using PowToon students will discuss and share their opinions of the common problems they experience in their daily lives and think through the problem and develop appropriate solutions.  My guess is that these will be related to school, friends, and home but I may find them to be different from my assumptions. A difference in culture may lead to additional surprises.  The project will give students the opportunity to work on an authentic task through the creation of a presentation using PowToon.  Students can view examples of work done by others to see how people are using this tool in an environment outside of school.  Constructivism promotes the idea of multiple perspectives.  Although this lesson has students learning, practicing, and completing the task individually, students will still have the opportunity to view the ideas of others and share the finished product with classmates.

Because the lesson will be taught individually, it requires a lot input from the teacher.  It helps to personalize the instruction and stresses key ideas from the Instructivist approach.  The instructor “presents content, monitors, and guides learner performance in a practice environment, and provides feedback.”  The instructor will need to scaffold this project into manageable chunks.  First by leading the discussion to get students thinking about topics and exploring solutions.  The instructor should show examples, share classmates’ ideas, and provide website links to encourage students to explore outside sources.  The introduction of the multimedia tool will also likely need to be divided into sections depending on the needs and prior knowledge of the students.  At the very least the instructor will need to consider how to explain the tool and process for second language learners: the program interface, the steps for creating the video, possible mini-tasks within the program, and an example of a finished video.

In case study #2, Michael Bishop encountered many different barriers getting his educational games piloted in various school districts. What are some of the barriers that stood out to you, and what do you (as an instructional designer) recommend he could have done to overcome these challenges?
Although many of Michael Bishop’s colleagues reviewed the game with positive results, the game’s recurring problem of taking too much time to complete made it incompatible for implementation in school systems.  School district officials were not comfortable with students using one or two weeks’ worth of class time to play a game.  The problem was further accentuated with schools that had limited computer resources. Even though the game developed critical thinking skills and allowed students work out problems in authentic situations (virtually), the bottom line was that it didn’t alleviate students’ poor exam results on state standards whether this was directly the result of the game or due to other factors.  Michael argued that the games and technology based learning correlated to higher outcomes on standardized tests but doesn’t have evidence or data to support this.  I would recommend that he find examples that support his claim.  It he could also reexamine the students needs and collect data the knowledge and skills that the games are designed to develop and then examine the tests to assess how well the three are aligned. After making a better assessment of the situation he can then make adjustments and go through the learning activity. He may find out that these are similar to the advice offered by Craig Dawson: create checkpoints, assignments, and due dates.  I would agree that these do seem like sound advice.  And the reason being that they add more Instructivist elements to the current scheme, which at this point has minimal guidance from the teacher and a questionable use of class time.   The Instructivist approach stresses “observable behavior, and/or internal mental associations and states of knowledge.”  It increases the role of the teacher to provide more structure and guidance.  The teacher can add assignments, quizzes, and other activities to better document what the students are learning.
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