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Learning Theories for Online Education Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 22nd, 2019

Learning Theories for Online Education

The process of acquiring skills and knowledge in a given discipline requires an inclusion of such elements as additional resources to accelerate the learning progress. Learning as a process has theories that view it from different perspectives. In learning, teachers use different resources, such as charts, blackboard, models, recorded or live radio and television programs, and computer programs to aid the entire progress.

I am going to discuss how WIKI, as an educational resource, can be used to support the three key theories of learning, namely behaviourist, cognitivist, and constructivist. Here are the points I will cover in this wiki, (1) WIKI support of learning theories, (2) the main pedagogical strength of WIKI, (3) WIKI weakness, and (4) how to use wiki tools in personal teaching.

Learning Theories

Wiki is a website space where people can share ideas, pictures, edit contents, and any other piece of information (Dorman, 2007). In a classroom, Wikis enable teachers to access learners’ works and to give feedback instantly.

The idea of timely feedback supports Behaviourism, as the teacher can encourage hardworking learners and even discourage negative attitude of some learners towards his/her subject (Dorman, 2007). Reacting to the information presented by other learners and offering personal information, students learn to search for interesting themes and react adequately to the particular information.

Students are discouraged to provide negative comments as their personal articles may be also negatively commented. Therefore, students follow their language. So, being positively assessed this semester, there are high chances that when the facilitator introduces Wiki in the next learning session, the learners are also likely to answer the questions correctly (Mergel, 1998).

In cognitive theory, the method helped learners to comprehend “…the relationship between marginal cost, total cost and average cost” (Lim, 1998). Considering this research result in detail, it should be stated that students’ cognitive abilities have increased with the use of Wiki based programs. This is the reason of constant reference to background knowledge, possible solutions, other variants, etc. Students always remain in search.

Therefore, the behaviour of students depends on their ability to assess objectively their personal abilities and the attempts of other students by means of commenting their works. The independence involved in Wiki enables learners to brainstorm on issues and come up with their own meanings. Moreover, Wiki also supports constructive learning, which asserts open-ended learning.

For example, students may admit after some time that the Wiki changes their thoughts from the initial fixed minds meant to recite answers. The creativity is brought-up. This showed the emphasis on unique learning style for each student and the hands-on problem solving. As an example, the following case may be considered.

One Economics tutor at Pacific Junior College (PCJ) in Singapore used Computer Based Learning (CBL) to improve the students understanding of the underlying concepts. This activity involved the use of several software programs, similar to Wiki. These programs encouraged students post personal information devoted to the class and comment on the ideas of others.

Notably, at the end of the program, most students answered the Economics questions correctly (Teaching Guide for GSIs – Theories of Learning, n.d.). It may be explained by constant reading of small pieces on information and similar comments.

Moreover, reading either some data or a comment, students involve all their economic knowledge to comment something. Thus, the learning is completed in out of class activity that has increased its productivity.

Pedagogical Strength

The main pedagogical strength of Wiki is that it promotes participatory learning making learners feel some level of social interaction (Wetzel, 2009). Teachers and learners located at different parts can edit or comment the same document remaining in the interaction. Therefore, learners are free to think for themselves with minimal support from teachers.

Self education is involved as students learn to be self-organized and polite with others. The students at PJC developed more problem solving skills; hence, CBL empowered them to solve the real-world problems simultaneously.

This process is not just application of the early learned ideas to obtain solutions to existing problems, but it involves high order thinking in pursuit of solutions (Teaching Guide for GSIs – Theories of Learning, n.d.).

Pedagogical Weakness

Although Wiki is an advantageous educational tool, anyone can access the pieces of information stored in the application, hence, potentially affecting confidentiality. In a CBL class, a teacher plays a passive role, or he/she is just a facilitator in the meaning that students leave their comments, quarrel, offer arguments etc. without his/her direct intrusion.

Therefore, coming from personal experience, I may say that some learners can access irrelevant sites or do unnecessary work. The study at PJC, the CBL could not give clear details of the models and their sophistication to the learners (Teaching Guide for GSIs – Theories of Learning, n.d.).

Another weakness is evident in the Montessori system, where children can easily communicate to people all over the world using computers, but fail to communicate to their classmates.

Having an access to the web, students are more interested in this interactive communication as the class consists of children aged 3-9 years old. This creates a barrier on the way to simple eye-to-eye communication. This leads to poor development of social skills among children (Smith, 2009).

Personal Teaching

In my own teaching process, I will divide learners into small manageable groups of 3 to 4 individuals and then organize individual sessions that run for a period of one theme learning, the time will depend on the number of classes I will devote to the issue. The process is doing to be under my supervision constantly.

Though Wiki has immensely changed the learning process, I cannot fully substitute it with my traditional classroom attendance. Therefore, it will be flexible to administer all of them in my teaching sessions.

In addition, I will constantly organize lectures that are inclusive to give my learners opportunities to ask questions, before allowing them to access the Wiki program. This will assist the learners to understand the theoretical aspects; they can later relate these ideas to their own studies. Additionally, I will give the learners a lot of project works that can engage them, thus making them think for themselves.

Reference List

Dorman, J. (2007). . Slide share. Web.

Lim, C. P. (1998). . Computers in Higher Education Economics Review, 12(1). Web.

Mergel, B. (1998). Learning Theories of Instructional Design. University of Saskatchewan. Web.

Smith, T. L. (2009). The Montessori System in Theory and Practice. New York: Kennelly Press.

Teaching Guide for GSIs – . Graduate Student Instructor Teaching and Resource Center UC Berkeley. Web.

Wetzel, D. R. (2009). 5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom. Suite101. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Learning Theories for Online Education." December 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/learning-theories-for-online-education-2/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Learning Theories for Online Education'. 22 December.

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