Relations between behaviorism, constructivism, cognitivism and connectivism
Constructivism holds that humans are active participant to knowledge production and sharing. This perspective is similar to social cognitivism by McLeod (2016) who states people have agency and they act and readjust their behavior based on outcomes. Similarly, proponents of behaviorism argue that rewards and punishment or stimuli urge people to act based on information from experience. Behaviorism is more mechanical and doesn’t emphasize the fact the mind builds on already existing schemas or knowledge.
As for cognitivism, it emphasizes thought process. Perception, behaviors or actions are rooted in experience and a thought process. Thus, individuals’ perception and understanding are based on what they have already experienced. Knowledge production and acquisition are dependent on the individual's motivation. Cognitivism therefore brings back the concept of agency. Individuals can learn either through their own creativity or from others.
This leads us to talk about connectivism. Indeed, connectivists such as George Siemens, hold that individuals acquire knowledge not in a linear fashion but rather through a network or networks. Individuals learn from, within and across groups. Thus today, we learn not just from the teacher in the classroom, but on the internet, on television, the printed media, through professional development centers, etc. As we navigate all these groups, we learn, store, process and retrieve information as needed.
Learning and cognitive load: I watched a video on French grammar titled “Learn French Grammar Video #1”, which is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NNDDwB5C-s
As I watched the video, I realized that the PowerPoint is crowded and the presenter just read exactly what was on the slides. A learner can do exactly this kind of exercise without understanding what the grammar point is all about. Putting myself in the shoes of a learner, I was trying to figure out the objectives of the lesson. I was distracted by the crowded slides, the narrator’s reading, and the lack of guided practice. The presentation of the lesson was overwhelming and I had to mobilize a lot cognitive resources to follow what was going on. As recommended by cognitivism, when extraneous elements are an obstacle to learning, there have no place on any given slides. My working memory was overwhelmed at the end of the lesson.
On the other hand, I watched a presentation on how to insert a YouTube video into a PowerPoint, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoMJuiUqRp8
The instructor was narrating the process while showing and doing at the same time how to insert a YouTube video into a PowerPoint 2016. I could follow the entire process and at the end of the lesson, I was able to do it myself. I was able to focus on the essential elements (intrinsic and germane elements) that were helpful in the learning process. And the instructor was very clear and specific and there were no extraneous elements to overwhelm my working memory.The lesson learned from these presentations is that when information is overwhelming, and learning objectives are unclear, learning hardly occurs. It is always important to keep in mind the Zone of Proximal Development principle to allow the learner to absorb and really learn what is taught.
Baker, T. (2012). Connectivism for EFL Teachers: A Theory of Learning For A Digital Age. Kindle Edition.
Guyan, M. (2017, July 20). Five Ways To Reduce Cognitive Load In eLearning. Retrieved November 18, 2017, from https://elearningindustry.com/5-ways-to-reduce-cognitive-load-in-elearning
ITTrainingSurgery (2015, November). Learn how easy it is to insert a video from YouTube into a PowerPoint 2016 presentation. Super simple. Retrieved November 18, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoMJuiUqRp8
Linguistmail (2009, December 25). Learn French grammar video 1/20. The verb to be, subject pronouns, questions, feminine forms. Retrieved November 18, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NNDDwB5C-s
McLeod, S. A. (2016). Bandura - Social Learning Theory. Retrieved from November 18, 2017 www.simplypsychology.org/bandura.html
Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. New York, NY: Routledge.