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Learning Theories

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Reference 1

McAllister, L., Whiteford, G., Hill, B., Thomas, N., & Fitzgerald, M. (2006). Reflection in intercultural learning: examining the international experience through a critical incident approach. Reflective Practice, 7(3), 367-381. And: Intolubbe-Chmil, L., Spreen, C. A., & Swap, R. J. (2012). Transformative learning: Participant perspectives on international experiential education. Journal of Research in International Education, 11(2), 165-180.

I am cheating here because this actually includes two references. In these paper the authors describe their perception of what goes on in a student’s mind during a study abroad course. They write that in such courses, student find themselves in a more or less unfamiliar environment-a new country, a new culture, new surroundings. In the struggle to make sense of the unfamiliar the student has to put together the new experiences in a way that makes sense to him and that this is when the real learning takes place.  They call this a “critical incident” or “dissonance”.  This resonated with me because I had noticed the same general phenomenon in my students, but was never able to express the idea as well as these authors.


Reference 2

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415.

When I first integrated my own personal learning experiences into my ideas about learning in general I realized I learned the most by doing. So I always tried to include active learning experiences in my classes and especially tried to make my lab classrooms very active. I wrote my ideas into grant proposals and was lucky enough to get some of them funded. So I wanted to include a citation on active learning for this assignment but there are so many to choose from and no one original research paper stood out. Therefore I chose this recent high-profile paper that summarizes a large body of literature from many different studies and seeks to move the STEM education field on to new questions.


Reference 3

Fox, R. (2001). Constructivism examined. Oxford review of education, 27(1), 23-35.

I am a strong believer in constructivist learning and again I think this is based on my own experiences. The whole notion of constructivism resonates with me and so I wanted to include a citation on constructivism. Again, there are many choices but I was surprised to notice that a majority of the papers are fairly old. I chose this one-because it is more recent than most, and because it presents a critical overview. This review is also interesting because it picks apart the idea of constructivism as too empirical and too individualistic-thus too fuzzy and not useful for generating questions.

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