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 […]

Game Reward Systems

Summary: The phrase game reward systems describes the structure of rewards and incentives in a game that inspire intrinsic motivation in the player while also offering extrinsic rewards. Game reward systems can be modeled in non-game environments, including personal and business environments, to provide positive motivation for individuals to change their behavior. Originators and Key […]

Online Collaborative Learning Theory (Harasim)

Summary: Online collaborative learning theory, or OCL, is a form of constructivist teaching that takes the form of instructor-led group learning online. In OCL, students are encouraged to collaboratively solve problems through discourse instead of memorizing correct answers. The teacher plays a crucial role as a facilitator as well as a member of the knowledge […]

E-Learning Theory (Mayer, Sweller, Moreno)

E-learning theory consists of cognitive science principles that describe how electronic educational technology can be used and designed to promote effective learning. Contents Contributors History Key Concepts Resources and References Contributors Richard E. Mayer Roxana Moreno John Sweller History The researchers started from an understanding of cognitive load theory to establish the set of principles […]

Online Disinhibition Effect (Suler)

Summary: The online disinhibition effect describes the loosening of social restrictions and inhibitions that are normally present in face-to-face interactions that takes place in interactions on the Internet. Originators and Key Contributors: In 2004, John Suler, professor of psychology at Rider University, published an article titled “The Online Disinhibition Effect,” which analyzed characteristics of internet […]

Learner-centered design

Summary: Learner centered design focuses on creating software for heterogeneous groups of learners who need scaffolding as they learn while completing constructivist activities.

Originators and Key Contributors: Elliot Soloway, Mark Guzdian, Kenneth E. Hay

Keywords: constructivism, learner-centered design, learners, scaffolding, software

Learner-centered Design

Learner-centered design (LCD) theory emphasizes the importance of supporting the learners’ growth and motivational needs in designing software. In addition, since learners have different learning needs and learn in different ways, the software must be designed for the specific learner-audience.

The concept of scaffolds is central to learner-centered design. In order to support learners optimally, software should be designed with scaffolds that will support the learners as they need it. Examples of scaffolds in software are hints, explanation and encouragement to help learners understand a process, and questions to help learners reflect on what they are learning.

Software scaffolds that support learners best are adaptive, meaning that they change according to what the learner needs in any learning moment. When a learner needs more support, the software provides an increase in feedback to help the learner grow, stay engaged, and progress in mastering a skill. When the learner is reaching mastery, the software will provide reduced scaffolds in response to the learner’s increased skill level.

In focusing on learner-centered design, four elements must be addressed in designing the software. They are: