Emerging Perspectives in Learning and Instruction

Emerging Perspectives in Learning and Instruction
Instructional Psychology & Technology 692R
(Section 001)
Spring Term 2006
Instructor: Stephen Yanchar, Ph.D.
Office: 150-H MCKB
Phone: 422-2608
e-mail: [email protected]
Office Hours: by appointment
Class Time: MWF 12-1:50
Room: 150-B MCKB
Course Overview and Purposes: The purpose of this seminar to help you become familiar with
theoretical perspectives on learning and instruction that are not widely visible in psychology and
instructional technology or that have gained some measure of prominence only in the last several
decades. In other words, you will study theories of learning and instruction that have been
developed independent of, or as responses to, historically prevailing theories of learning such as
behaviorism, cognitivism, and social learning theory. Through this process, your perspective
should be broadened in a way that makes you more aware of the assumptions of traditional
learning theories and more aware of alternative conceptions that can inform your thinking and
Course Procedures: In this interactive seminar, we will read, critically examine, and discuss key
writings by theorists who have developed these emerging perspectives. When possible, our
seminar will also be visited by professors or other experts in the field who can bring fresh and
helpful perspectives to our discussions. Class time will be devoted to the careful analysis of
formative concepts and the open exchange of viewpoints in pursuit of a broader appreciation and
a deeper understanding of the fundamental ideas that inform these emerging perspectives.
Student Assessment: Grades will be based on the following course requirements:
1. Brief Reading Presentations: You are expected to lead our group discussion of a course
reading at least twice during the term. In your presentation, you will: (a) provide an
overview of the author’s thesis, supporting arguments, and assumptions; (b) demonstrate
how the reading relates to other readings we have discussed during the term; and (c)
facilitate a group discussion of the reading’s meaning, plausibility, and contribution to
2. Critical Reflection Papers: Approximately four times during the term, you will be asked
to write a 2-3 page critical reflection paper on a set of readings. Your task will be to
examine and evaluate the arguments and assumptions presented in these readings. Note
that I am not asking for summaries of the articles and chapters we discuss, but critical
assessments of key ideas that underlie these emerging perspectives in well-thought-out,
well-written, internally consistent, and defensible position papers. All references and
quotes should be properly documented, all claims reasonably supported. Moreover, your
critical assessments must be written from a theoretical or practical perspective of your
own—behaviorist, cognitivist, constructivist, postmodernist, public school teaching or
administration, instructional design, project management, etc. For example, you may
wish to consider how some of the emerging perspectives we discuss inform your practice,
lead to desirable outcomes, help solve theoretical or practical problems, or deal with
theoretical issues such as human agency and moral responsibility. To help prepare you
for these assignments, we will discuss this type of writing in class. In all likelihood, the
first of these reflection papers will be assigned after the Brown, Collins & Duguid (1996)
chapter, the second after the Lave and Wenger (1991) book, the third after the Putnam &
Borko (2000) article, and the fourth after the Gruender (1996) article.
3. Final Exam: Your final exam will be another reflection paper, somewhat broader in
scope than the first three. This fifth reflection paper could also be viewed as an early
version of a scholarly work and turned into a thesis, dissertation, conference presentation,
or publication. Although the development of this paper into a fully-completed,
publishable (or presentable) work is not required, I expect it, like the other papers, to be a
well-thought-out, well-written, internally consistent, and defensible examination of a
substantive idea or viewpoint. I will provide more details about your final exam in class,
as soon as possible.
Tentative Course Schedule
Course Introduction, Overview of Perspectives, Preliminary Assignments
Yanchar (2005)
Greeno et al. (1998)
McLellan (1996); Brown, Collins, & Duguid (1996)
Reading day
Lave & Wenger (1991, foreward, section 1)
Lave & Wenger (1991, section 2)
Reading day
Lave & Wenger (1991, section 3)
Lave & Wenger (1991, section 4)
Reading day
Anderson, et al. (1996); Greeno (1997); Anderson, et al. (1997)
Reading day
Kirshner & Whitson (1998); Cobb & Bowers (1999); Putnam & Borko (2000)
Hay & Barab (2001)
Reading Day
Duffy & Cunningham (1996)
Gruender (1996)
Reading Day
Brown (1992); Barab & Squire (2004)
Tentative Final Exam Period
Course Bibliography:
Anderson, J. R., Reder, L. M., & Simon, H. A. (1996). Situated learning and education.
Educational Researcher, 25(4), 5-11.
Anderson, J. R., Reder, L. M., & Simon, H. A. (1997). Rejoinder: Situative versus
cognitive perspectives: Form versus substance. Educational Researcher, 26(1), 18-21.
Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. The
Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13, 1-14.
Brown, A. L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in
creating complex interventions in classroom settings. The Journal of the Learning
Sciences, 2, 141-178.
Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1996). Situated cognition and the culture of
learning. In H. McLellan (Ed.), Situated learning perspectives (pp. 19-44). Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.
Cobb, P., & Bowers, J. (1999). Cognitive and situated learning perspectives in theory and
practice. Educational Researcher, 28(2), 4-15.
Duffy, T. M., & Cunningham, D. J. (1996). Constructivism: Implications for the design
and delivery of instruction. In D. Jonassen (ed.), Handbook of research for educational
communications and technology (pp. 170-198). New York: Simon & Schuster
Greeno, J. G. (1997). Response: On claims that answer the wrong questions. Educational
Researcher, 26 (1), 5-17.
Greeno, J., & the Middle School Mathematics Through Applications Project Group
(1998). The situativity of knowing, learning, and research. American Psychologist, 53, 526.
Gruender, C. D. (1996). Constructivism and learning: A philosophical appraisal.
Educational Technology, 36 (3), 21-29.
Hay, K. E. & Barab, S. A. (2001). Constructivism in practice: A comparison and contrast
of apprenticeship and constructionist learning environments. The Journal of the Learning
Sciences, 10, 281-322.
Kirshner, D., & Whitson, J. A. (1998). Obstacles to understanding cognition as situated.
Educational Researcher, 27(8), 22-28.
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation.
New York: Cambridge University Press.
McLellan, H. (1996). Situated learning: Multiple perspectives. In H. McLellan (Ed.),
Situated learning perspectives (pp. 5-17). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology
Putnam, R. T., & Borko, H. (2000). What do new views of knowledge and thinking have
to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher, 29(1), 4-15.
Yanchar, S. C. (2005). A contextualist alternative to cognitive psychology. In B. D. Slife,
J. S. Reber, & F. C. Richardson (Eds.), Critical thinking about psychology: Hidden
assumptions and plausible alternatives (pp. 171-186). Washington DC: American
Psychological Association Press.
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