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Learning Theories

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Article 1: Student Involvement: A Developmental Theory for Higher Education.

A. Astin. 1999.  Journal of College Student Development.

The author describes several learning approaches that faculty and administrators tend to support and builds a case for student involvement as a means for learning.  When we were given this assignment I really did not know the names and ideas behind specific learning theories. This article does a good job explaining the differences between many common theories.   One example is the Content Theory of learning.  The idea is to expose student to as much content and material as possible. However, it places the student in a passive learning role and they often do not invest in their learning.  The author points out that many of these learning theories are good for a specific personality type but not for the student population as a whole.  The main point is that educators should spend less time on what they do (teaching techniques) and more on keeping the student motivated to learn.  The author suggest that all teaching practices should be related increased student involvement. 



Article 2:  What makes a good student? How Emotions, Self-Regulated Learning, and Motivation Contribute to Academic Achievement.  Mega et al. 2014.  Journal of Educational Psychology.

This article focused on how to motivate students to learn.  It focused on the idea that if you can get students to self-regulate their learning they will be better students. It looked at several different theories as to why students do well in a class.   The authors found that emotion was the primary factor that affected student learning and motivation to learn.  Students who had a negative emotion were less likely to do well in a class.  Students who had a positive emotion were more likely to be self-regulated learners and stated more motivated throughout the experience.   These emotions were also applied to how a student responded to failure. 


Article 3: Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education.

A. Kolb and D. Kolb. 2005  Academy of Management Learning & Education.

This is a rather long article.  It focuses on the experiential learning theory and the research to support the theory.  The experiential learning theory focuses on the idea that student knowledge gains through experience with a subject.  The author’s point out that if not done correctly the experiential learning theory will quickly result in students mindlessly entering observed data.  The key to this idea is that students must be invested in the outcome and in their learning. The authors looked at the influence of observational and active experimental activities on concreate and abstract learning outcomes.  The highest outcomes were achieved in a blended type environment. Students must be able to conduct their own research but also must reflect on observe outcomes.  The authors also point out the idea that while learning is best achieved through experience that this does not mean all experiential learning ideas are effective.

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