Humanistic Theories that Guide Online Course Design

Humanistic Theories that Guide Online Course Design

Mary Sue Cicciarelli (Duquesne University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch702


Humanism comes from one of three schools of psychology in which theories are categorized. The other two schools are the schools of behaviorism and cognitivism. 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. Theories from the school of humanism focus on students’ affective needs which means that the theorists center their attention on feelings, emotions, values, and attitudes (Tomei, 2007). Colonel Parker, once deemed the Father of Progressivism of the nineteenth century by John Dewey, promoted creating curriculum with the child at its center. He wanted the school to be a replica of home, an inclusive community, and a budding democracy for the students. Parker’s work and thought on curriculum would eventually be an apparent part of John Dewey’s progressive work (Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 1996).
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Humanistic Theories And Online Design

When we look at the past, we see that theorists such as Elliot Eisner and Elizabeth Vallance thought of schooling as a way for individuals to gain personal fulfillment. They thought of it as a means to provide a way for people to discover and create their own identities. Curriculum, at that time, had the responsibility of fostering personal development in many different ways. Theorists began to present their theories through models of teaching and learning (Pinar, et al., 1996). For example, the phenomenal field theory, self-actualization theory, theory on nondirective teaching, theory of moral development, theory of immediacy and social presence, and cooperative learning theory came about.

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