Discovery Learning (Bruner)

Discovery Learning is a method of inquiry-based instruction, discovery learning believes that it is best for learners to discover facts and relationships for themselves.



Contributors

  • Jerome Bruner (1915 – )

Key Concepts

Discovery learning is an inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory that takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his or her own past experience and existing knowledge to discover facts and relationships and new truths to be learned[1]. Students interact with the world by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments.

As a result, students may be more more likely to remember concepts and knowledge discovered on their own (in contrast to a transmissionist model)[2]. Models that are based upon discovery learning model include: guided discovery, problem-based learning, simulation-based learning, case-based learning, incidental learning, among others.

The theory is closely related to work by Jean Piaget and Seymour Papert.

Proponents of this theory believe that discovery learning:

  • encourages active engagement
  • promotes motivation
  • promotes autonomy, responsibility, independence
  • develops creativity and problem solving skills.
  • tailors learning experiences

Critics believe that discovery learning:

  • creates cognitive overload
  • may result in potential misconceptions
  • makes it difficult for teachers to detect problems and misconceptions

Additional Resources and References

References

  1. Bruner, J. S. (1961). The act of discovery. Harvard educational review.
  2. Bruner, J. S. (2009). The process of education. Harvard University Press.

Situated Cognition (Brown, Collins, & Duguid)

Summary: Situated cognition is the theory that people’s knowledge is embedded in the activity, context, and culture in which it was learned. It is also referred to as “situated learning.”

Originators & proponents: John Seely Brown, Allan Collins, Paul Duguid

Keywords: activity, authentic domain activity, authentic learning, cognitive apprenticeship, content-specific learning, context, culture, everyday learning, knowledge, legitimate peripheral participation, socio-cultural learning, social construction of knowledge, social interaction, teaching methods

Situated cognition (Brown, Collins, & Duguid)

Situated cognition is a theory which emphasizes that people’s knowledge is constructed within and linked to the activity, context, and culture in which it was learned[1][2].

Learning is social and not isolated, as people learn while interacting with each other through shared activities and through language, as they discuss, share knowledge, and problem-solve during these tasks.

For example, while language learners can study a dictionary to increase their vocabulary, this often solitary work only teaches basic parts of learning a language; when language learners talk with someone who is a native speaker of the language, they will learn important aspects of how these words are used in the native speaker’s home culture and how the words are used in everyday social interactions.

(more…)

Educational Robotics and Constructionism (Papert)

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

(more…)

Psychological Behaviorism (Staats)

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

(more…)

Dopamine, Games, and Motivation

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[1]. 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[2].

Keywords: dopamine, motivation, addiction, game, reward

(more…)

Montessori Method (Montessori)

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[1]. 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.

(more…)

Uses and Gratification Theory

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[1]. This eventually led them to develop UGT later on with their colleagues[2][3][4].

Keywords: gratification, media, audience, entertainment, mass media, communication

(more…)

Gamification in Education

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.”[1] 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[2][3]. 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

(more…)

Attachment Theory (Bowlby)

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

(more…)

Positive Psychology / PERMA Theory (Seligman)

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

(more…)