Behavioral Theories that Guide Online Course Design

Behavioral Theories that Guide Online Course Design

Mary Sue Cicciarelli (Duquesne University, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-881-9.ch012
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Abstract

Behaviorism comes from one of three schools of psychology in which theories are categorized. The other two schools are the schools of cognitivism and humanism. It is believed that one school of theory is not better than the other, and individuals are encouraged to apply the theory that is the most appropriate for the student. During the first several decades of the twentieth century, experimental psychologists, William James and his student, Edward L. Thorndike, began to question the use of memorization as a tool for education after their experiments showed that memory was not improved after memorization. Thorndike continued their efforts by promoting the idea of stimulus-response behavioral psychology. It was believed that stimulus-response behavioral patterns could be used by educators to change human behavior and that factors in the environment served as a stimulus for the behavior response. Psychologists would focus on knowledge of how people responded to feedback when performing a task, and they began to think of individuals as self-correcting human beings. Later, other behavioral pioneers such as Ivan Pavlov, B. F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, and Benjamin Bloom would develop additional experimental products to show that the environment had an impact on learning and that all behavior is learned. Because of their beliefs, programs have been developed to help people reduce phobias, learn to read or calculate, develop specific skills, and even increase their ability to relax (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2000; Pinar, Reynolds, Slatery, & Taubman, 1996).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cognitive Theory: Cognitive theory comes from one of three schools of psychology in which theories are categorized. Theories from the school of cognitivism guide students to process information in ways that are meaningful to the student. These theories are based on declarative and procedural learning tasks that are authentic.

Online Learning: A form of learning in which learners interact with each other and the instructor through either asynchronous or synchronous modes of learning.

Online Instructors: Qualified individuals who have had the schooling or training to teach or guide learners to gain new knowledge and abilities in an online learning environment.

Behavioral Theory: Behavioral theory comes from one of three schools of psychology in which theories are categorized. Theories from the school of behaviorism hold that the environment has an impact on learning and that all behavior is learned.

Humanistic Theory: Humanistic theory comes from one of three schools of psychology in which theories are categorized. Theories from the school of humanism focus on learner’s affective needs that include their feelings, emotions, values, and attitudes.

Instructional Design Theory: Use of theory by professionals when designing, developing, managing, and evaluating a learning experience.

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