This blog post is in response to two conversations linked below on cognitivism and behaviorism among three important thinkers: Bill Kerr, Stephen Downes, and Karl Kapp.
Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism are learning theory _isms that do not stand still, according to Kerr. “They evolve; they listen to criticism, and move on.” I think it is important to keep this in mind, especially with the use of technology, because as new technologies are developed, discoveries are made on innovative learning ideas, prompting learning theories that may have been labeled as outdated to be rediscovered. Connectivism, the learning theory of the digital age, has evolved out of the other three theories mentioned.
The idea of humanizing machines, rather than dehumanizing humans relies on Cognitive Information Processing (CIP), an important concept to build upon as referred to by Downes with his rejection of behaviorism and support of cognitivism. The human mind is more complex than any computer system and to study human behaviors and cognitive processes is critical to meet all learners’ needs.
One learning theory alone does not describe how all learners gain new knowledge and apply this new knowledge in different situations. As stated by Kapp, “We need to take the best from each theory and use it wisely to create solid educational experiences for all learners.” Each learning theory also relates to Bloom’s Taxonomy levels of intellectual behavior, beginning with the lower levels of learning and extending to higher order thinking skills and learning:
Behaviorism: memorize, recognize, label
Cognitivism: procedural, rule based learning
Constructivism: problem-solving, collaboration, creativity
Connectivism: cyclical, filtering, construct
Original Blog Posts:
Bill Kerr’s Blog
Karl Kapp’s Blog
Additional Learning Theory References: