Psychological Foundations in Instructional Design
Learning is a process that takes place through various interactions. Skinner, a behavioral theorist, supported this assertion by further confirming that a person could entirely understand, explain, and predict learning based on observable events (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012, p.35). I support this theoretical perspective since learning is more enhanced though experience.
Experience is developed when a learner interacts with real physical objects and problems where solutions must be provided as opposed to dealing with theoretical constructs. Hypothetical constructs take much time to develop mental schemas, which invoke the knowledge of a given individual on a particular subject.
Attempting to understand learning from the perspective of observable events implies also that the learning process involves engagement of a number of participants. This strategy not only creates an environment that favors brainstorming hence making learning easier but also fosters information and knowledge sharing among the participants in the learning process.
Indeed, one can consider learning as a cultural process that is driven by instructional processes that are aimed at creating awareness for issues that are to be learnt.
Therefore, the roles of articulation of the real observable events with the knowledge being developed are pivotal in helping to build mental images that serve as blocks for easy reference in the mind of the learner (Proctor & Vu, 2006). This case underlines the significance of Skinner’s theory that learning is best understood via observable events.
Another important paradigm for understanding the learning process is by considering Gallwey’s contextualization of the game theory. The psychologist argues that all games are composed of two main elements: inner and outer game elements (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012).
The main difference between these two games is that the outer game is played against opponents while the inner is played within the mind of the player. Its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety.
This premise can be best understood in the context of the learning process by considering the information processing theory that identifies four main pillars for information processing in human beings. These are thinking, stimuli analysis, situational modification, and obstacle evaluation (Proctor & Vu, 2006).
Thinking practice encompasses various actions that entail the discernment of incentives that people acquire from the outer environment and then program and amass them in the cerebral recesses. Stimulus analysis is “the process by which the encoded stimuli are altered to suit the brain’s cognition and interpretation processes to enable decision making” (Proctor & Vu, 2006, p.253).
Situation modification involves the utilization of experience in the effort to ensure that a person can handle similar issues in the future. The process calls for analysis and encoding of memories.
In the obstacle evaluation pillar, it is maintained that people must take into perspective the nature of problems or obstacles that one is subjected to in the effort to determine with precision the cognitive ability, intellectual ability, and or problem solving skills possessed by such an individual.
In the context of the gaming theory discussed before, the outer aspect of the game involves the interaction of the external stimuli through enhancement of the thinking process to determine the best possible strategies of defeating the opponent.
In the inner aspect of the game, with the help of situational analysis and the obstacle evaluation, an individual develops internal strategies, which often involve gaming within the mind of the players, which are then translated into physical movements on the playing ground.
Constructivism in Practical and Historical Context
The theory of constructivism can be related to the process of constructing a building. The theory argues that people learn through attaching a meaning to the things they encounter. Constructivism is similar to construction of a building in the sense that it holds that knowledge is structured starting from the most fundamental to the most advanced levels in the memory of an individual.
Its retrieval also calls for consecutive evaluations of the information layers (Shaki & Gevers, 2011). From the paradigms of this theory, learning process is a social activity, which calls for collaboration and negotiations of various learning community members.
These members include the learners and instructors. Learners collaborate and negotiate through engagement with each other. An instructor facilitates information sharing by engaging learners in challenging activities (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012, p.45).
For the effectiveness of the learning process, planners and architects act as meaning makers. This goal is accomplished through “focusing on problem solving and critical thinking and higher order cognitive outcomes” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012, p.47). This way, planners and architects can ensure that learners articulate knowledge and the real world experiences.
Meaning can also be created through integration of emotions and the effect. This step entails a holistic approach to learning in the sense that it truncates into a more precise representation of expertise together with the realistic life experiences (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012, p.47).
The results of a learning process through instructions are similar since the overall goal is to transfer knowledge to learners for use in seeking solutions to problems and obstructions. However, they are different since different instruction processes result to the development of different strategies for handling problems. This situation affects the effectiveness and efficiency of problem resolutions by learners in the future.
The Learning Sciences
Technological revolution influences cognitive revolution in various ways. Before the onset of the computer mediated learning, two main trends gave rise to the emergence of new perspectives of cognitive psychology, which were helpful in enhancing educational learning process.
The first wave was marked by the deployment of alternative models for learning, which were far removed from the pure behavioral approaches to psychology. In the second instance, as Reiser and Dempsey (2012) note, “ the emergence of the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science legitimized the mixing and matching approaches from disciplines as varied as computer science, anthropology, and linguistics” (p.53).
In this sense, it is crucial to reckon that the rising of computer mediation in the learning process gives way for technology to contribute to design-minded approaches to educational psychology.
Indeed, this case had the largest impact on education because the design approaches that were enhanced through computing formed the theoretical paradigms of visualization of how information is stored within the human brain rather than a computer. Many information losses through forgetting accompany the information transfer processes between short and long-term memories.
Studies done on judgment development or environment have had a significant bang on the advancement of instructional plan. Instruction design is based on the mechanism of memorization of information that is shared among learners and instructors (Hmelo-Silver, 2004).
Such information is normally based on the experiences of the instructors and learners. Therefore, environmental stimuli are incredible in influencing the thinking process of learners since it forms the easiest and the most direct mechanism of attaching meaning to information that is communicated during the instruction process.
Hmelo-Silver, E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and how do students learn? Educational Psychology Review, 16(3), 235-266.
Proctor, W., & Vu, L. (2006). The cognitive revolution at age 50: has the promise of the information processing approach been fulfilled? Journal of Human Computer Interaction, 23(5), 253-284.
Reiser, R., & Dempsey, J. (2012). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Shaki, S., & Gevers, W. (2011). Cultural characteristics dissociate magnitude and ordinal information processing. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42(2), 639-650.