Summary: Constructionism as a learning theory emphasizes student-centered discovery learning, and educators are currently expanding its reach to the field of educational robotics in order to engage students.
Originators and Key Contributors: Seymour Papert took Piaget’s theory of constructivism and adapted it into his theory of constructionism.
Keywords: constructivism, constructionism, learning theory, discovery learning, educational robotics, technology
Summary: Psychological behaviorism (PB) holds that a person’s psychology can be explained through observable behavior.
Originators and Key Contributors: Watson first developed behaviorism, the umbrella theory that includes psychological behaviorism, in 1912. Skinner further extended the theory with his formulation of radical behaviorism. Staats has argued recently for a psychological behaviorism that emphasizes a person’s psychology and personality.
Keywords: personality, psychology, behavior, behaviorism, language, learning, cumulative learning
Summary: Dopamine plays a role in motivation, and this role is important to understand in the context of game design. Understanding how dopamine motivates can help game designers produce games that are interesting, effective, and ethical.
Originators and Key Contributors: Henry Chase and Luke Clark presented a study in 2010 that suggested that dopamine was not linked to pleasure as previously understood. By studying groups of gamblers, they found that release of dopamine occurred whether there was a stressful situation presented or a rewarding one. In 2012, a team of Vanderbilt researchers published a study with influential repercussions on our understanding of dopamine and its relationship to motivation. They found a difference in dopamine’s effects based on which areas of the brain expressed higher levels of it.
Keywords: dopamine, motivation, addiction, game, reward
Summary: The Montessori Method is an approach to learning which emphasizes active learning, independence, cooperation, and learning in harmony with each child’s unique pace of development.
Originator: Maria Montessori (1870-1952), Italian teacher and physician
Keywords: absorbent mind, sensitive period, prepared environment, autoeducation, planes of development
The Montessori Method is an approach to education which emphasizes individuality and independence in learning. Children are seen as inherently curious and learning driven. Thus, education is viewed as a process which should occur in harmony with the child’s individual developmental pace. It is a holistic approach emphasizing all aspects of development, rather than on attaining specific pieces of information.
Summary: Uses and gratification theory (UGT) is an audience-centered approach that focuses on what people do with media, as opposed to what media does to people.
Originators and Key Contributors: Uses and gratification theory builds off of a history of communication theories and research. Jay Blumler and Denis McQuail laid the primary groundwork in 1969 with their categorization of audience motivations for watching political programs during the time of the 1964 election in the United Kingdom. This eventually led them to develop UGT later on with their colleagues.
Keywords: gratification, media, audience, entertainment, mass media, communication
Summary: Gamification describes the process of applying game-related principles — particularly those relating to user experience and engagement — to non-game contexts such as education.
Originators and Key Contributors: In 1980, Thomas Malone published the study “What Makes Things to Learn: A Study of Intrinsically Motivating Computer Games.” Later, in 2002, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, based in Washington D.C., established the Serious Games Initiative to explore the application of game principles to public policy issues. From that initiative, gamification for education emerged and gradually evolved into a field of study. The term gamification was coined in 2003 by Nick Pelling. Today, many game researchers including Katie Salen, founder of the Quest to Learn public school, Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, and Joey J. Lee, Director of the Games Research Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University, have extended serious advancements in the application of gamification (or “gameful thinking”) to educational contexts.
Keywords: gamification, education, learning, classroom, engagement, motivation
Summary: Attachment theory emphasizes the importance of a secure and trusting mother-infant bond on development and well-being.
Originator and key contributors:
- John Bowlby (1907-1990) British child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, known for his theory on attachment
- Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999), American psychoanalyst known for the `strange situation`
Keywords: maternal deprivation, internal working model, strange situation, attachment styles
Summary: Positive psychology is the study of happiness, flourishing, and what makes life worth living. Seligman points to five factors as leading to well-being — positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment.
Originators and key contributors:
- Martin Seligman (1942-the present), American psychologist, founder of positive psychology
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1934-the present), Hungarian-American psychologist, co-founder of positive psychology, researched the concept of “Flow”
- Christopher Peterson (1950- 2012), American psychologist, The “VIA” and other topics in positive psychology
Keywords: flow, character strengths, well-being, happiness, positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment
Summary: Cognitive dissonance is the negative feeling that results from conflicting beliefs and behaviors.
Originator: Leon Festinger (1919-1989), American social psychologist
Keywords: social psychology, forced compliance, decision-making, error justification
Expertise theory specifies how talent develops across specified fields or domains, focusing on cognitive task analysis (to map the domain), instruction and practice, and clearly specified learning outcomes against which one can objectively measure the development of expertise.
Anders Ericsson, a professor at Florida State University, is the leading figure in the field of expertise theory. However, many others are associated with it as well: Robert Sternberg (Cornell University), Richard Clark (University of Southern California), Benjamin Bloom (late of the University of Chicago), Herbert Simon (late of Carnegie Mellon University), and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Claremont Graduate University). Another notable figure is Malcolm Gladwell, whose work has served to popularize the theory.
Keywords: expertise, practice, instruction, cognitive task analysis