dimanche 20 décembre 2009

Multiple Intelligences Theory (Gardner)

Multiple Intelligences Theory (Gardner)

Summary: Multiple Intelligences Theory posits that there are seven ways people understand in the world, described by Gardner as seven intelligences.

Originator: Howard Gardner in 1983.

Key Terms: Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Body-Kinesthetic, Musical-Rhythmic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal.

Multiple Intelligences Theory
Developed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in 1983 and subsequently refined, this theory states there are at least seven ways (”intelligences”) that people understand and perceive the world. These intelligences may not be exhaustive. Gardner lists the following:
Linguistic. The ability to use spoken or written words.
Logical-Mathematical. Inductive and deductive thinking and reasoning abilities, logic, as well as the use of numbers and abstract pattern recognition.
Visual-Spatial. The ability to mentally visualize objects and spatial dimensions.
Body-Kinesthetic. The wisdom of the body and the ability to control physical motion
Musical-Rhythmic. The ability to master music as well as rhythms, tones and beats.
Interpersonal. The ability to communicate effectively with other people and to be able to develop relationships.
Intrapersonal. The ability to understand one’s own emotions, motivations, inner states of being, and self-reflection.

This theory, while widely popular over the last two decades, has its share of critics. Some argue that Gardner’s theory is based too much on his own intuition rather than empirical data. Others feel that the intelligences are synonymous for personality types.

Implications for Classrooms

The verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences are the ones most frequently used in traditional school curricula. A more balanced curriculum that incorporates the arts, self-awareness, communication, and physical education may be useful in order to leverage the intelligences that some students may have.

For more information, see:
Gardner, Howard. (1983) “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.”
Gardner, Howard. (1993) “Multiple Intelligences: The Theory Into Practice.”
Gardner, Howard. (1999) “Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century.”



Summary: Humanism is a paradigm/philosophy/pedagogical approach that believes learning is viewed as a personal act to fulfil one’s potential.

Key proponents: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Malcolm Knowles

Key terms: self-actualization, teacher as facilitator, affect

Humanism, a paradigm that emerged in the 1960s, focuses on the human freedom, dignity, and potential. A central assumption of humanism, according to Huitt (2001), is that people act with intentionality and values. This is in contrast to the behaviorist notion of operant conditioning (which argues that all behavior is the result of the application of consequences) and the cognitive psychologist belief that the discovering knowledge or constructing meaning is central to learning. Humanists also believe that it is necessary to study the person as a whole, especially as an individual grows and develops over the lifespan. It follows that the study of the self, motivation, and goals are areas of particular interest.

Key proponents of humanism include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. A primary purpose of humanism could be described as the development of self-actualized, automomous people. In humanism, learning is student centered and personalized, and the educator’s role is that of a facilitator. Affective and cognitive needs are key, and the goal is to develop self-actualized people in a cooperative, supportive environment.

Related theories include: Experiential Learning (Kolb), Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and Facilitation Theory (Rogers).

For more information, see:
DeCarvalho, R. (1991). The humanistic paradigm in education. The Humanistic Psychologist, 19(1), 88-104.
Huitt, W. (2001). Humanism and open education. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from the URL: http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/affsys/humed.html.
Rogers, C., & Freiberg, H. J. (1994). Freedom to learn (3rd Ed.). New York: Macmillan.

samedi 19 décembre 2009

Design-based research methods

Design-Based Research Methods (DBR)

Summary: Design-Based Research is a lens or set of analytical techniques that balances the positivist and interpretivist paradigms and attempts to bridge theory and practice in education. A blend of empirical educational research with the theory-driven design of learning environments, DBR is an important methodology for understanding how, when, and why educational innovations work in practice; DBR methods aim to uncover the relationships between educational theory, designed artefact, and practice.

Originators: A. Brown (1992), A. Collins (1992), DBR Collective, and others

Keywords: design experiments, iterative, interventionist, theory-building, theory-driven

Design-Based Research Methods (DBR)

In recent years, educators have been trying to narrow the chasm between research and practice. Part of the challenge is that research that is detached from practice “may not account for the influence of contexts, the emergent and complex nature of outcomes, and the incompleteness of knowledge about which factors are relevant for prediction” (DBRC, 2003).

According to Collins et al. (2004), Design-based Research (also known as design experiments) intends to address several needs and issues central to the study of learning, including the following:
-The need to address theoretical questions about the nature of learning in context.
-The need for approaches to the study of learning phenomena in the real world situations rather than the laboratory.
-The need to go beyond narrow measures of learning.
-The need to derive research findings from formative evaluation.

Characteristics of design-based research experiments include:
 -Addressing complex problems in real, authentic contexts in collaboration with practitioners applying integrating known and hypothetical design principles to render plausible solutions conducting rigorous and reflective inquiry to test and refine innovative learning environments intertwined goals of

(1) designing learning environments and (2) developing theories of learning ,research and development through continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign research on designs that must lead to sharable theories that help communicate relevant implications to practitioners and other educational designers.Research must account for how designs function in authentic settings
development of such accounts relies on methods that can document and connect processes of enactment to outcomes of interest (DBRC, 2003).

Design-based research vs. traditional evaluation

The following excerpt highlights the difference between the goals and contributions of design-based research methods can offer and traditional evaluation:

“In traditional evaluation, an intervention (e.g. a textbook, an instructional program, a policy) is measured against a set of standards. During formative evaluation, iterative cycles of development, implementation, and study allow the designer to gather information about how an intervention is or is not succeeding in ways that might lead to better design. Then the intervention is ‘frozen’, and the rigorous summative evaluation begins….Like formative evaluation, design-based research uses mixed methods to analyze an intervention’s outcomes and refine the intervention. Unlike evaluation research, design-based research views a successful innovation as a joint product of the designed intervention and the context. Hence, design-based research goes beyond perfecting a particular product. The intention of design-based research…is to inquire more broadly into the nature of learning in a complex system and to refine generative or predictive theories of learning. Models of successful innovation can be generated through such work — models, rather than particular artifacts or programs, are the goal.” (DBRC, 2003).



Summary: Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective.

Originators and important contributors: Vygotsky, Piaget, Dewey, Vico, Rorty, Bruner

Keywords: Learning as experience, activity and dialogical process; Problem Based Learning (PBL); Anchored instruction; Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD); cognitive apprenticeship (scaffolding); inquiry and discovery learning.

A reaction to didactic approaches such as behaviorism and programmed instruction, constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate (tabula rasa) but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation.

NOTE: A common misunderstanding regarding constructivism is that instructors should never tell students anything directly but, instead, should always allow them to construct knowledge for themselves. This is actually confusing a theory of pedagogy (teaching) with a theory of knowing. Constructivism assumes that all knowledge is constructed from the learner’s previous knowledge, regardless of how one is taught. Thus, even listening to a lecture involves active attempts to construct new knowledge.

Vygotsky’s social development theory is one of the foundations for constructivism.



Summary: The cognitivist paradigm essentially argues that the “black box” of the mind should be opened and understood. The learner is viewed as an information processor (like a computer).

Originators and important contributors: Merrill -Component Display Theory (CDT), Reigeluth (Elaboration Theory), Gagne, Briggs, Wager, Bruner (moving toward cognitive constructivism), Schank (scripts), Scandura (structural learning)

Keywords: Schema, schemata, information processing, symbol manipulation, information mapping, mental models


The cognitivist revolution replaced behaviorism in 1960s as the dominant paradigm. Cognitivism focuses on the inner mental activities – opening the “black box” of the human mind is valuable and necessary for understanding how people learn. Mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problem-solving need to be explored. Knowledge can be seen as schema or symbolic mental constructions. Learning is defined as change in a learner’s schemata.

A response to behaviorism, people are not “programmed animals” that merely respond to environmental stimuli; people are rational beings that require active participation in order to learn, and whose actions are a consequence of thinking. Changes in behavior are observed, but only as an indication of what is occurring in the learner’s head. Cognitivism uses the metaphor of the mind as computer: information comes in, is being processed, and leads to certain outcomes.

Theories and Models of Learning for Educational Research and Practice

Theories and Models of Learning for Educational Research and Practice. This knowledge base features learning theories that address how people learn. A resource useful for scholars of various fields such as educational psychology, instructional design, and human-computer interaction. Below is the index of learning theories, grouped in somewhat arbitrary categories. 


Summary: Behaviorism is a worldview that operates on a principle of “stimulus-response.” All behavior caused by external stimuli (operant conditioning). All behavior can be explained without the need to consider internal mental states or consciousness.

Originators and important contributors: John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, E. L. Thorndike (connectionism), Bandura, Tolman (moving toward cognitivism)

Keywords: Classical conditioning (Pavlov), Operant conditioning (Skinner), Stimulus-response (S-R)


Behaviorism is a worldview that assumes a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli. The learner starts off as a clean slate (i.e. tabula rasa) and behavior is shaped through positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement. Both positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement increase the probability that the antecedent behavior will happen again. In contrast, punishment (both positive and negative) decreases the likelihood that the antecedent behavior will happen again. Positive indicates the application of a stimulus; Negative indicates the withholding of a stimulus. Learning is therefore defined as a change in behavior in the learner. Lots of (early) behaviorist work was done with animals (e.g. Pavlov’s dogs) and generalized to humans.

Behaviorism precedes the cognitivist worldview. It rejects structuralism and is an extension of Logical Positivism.

Radical behaviorism

Developed by BF Skinner, Radical Behaviorism describes a particular school that emerged during the reign of behaviorism. It is distinct from other schools of behaviorism, with major differences in the acceptance of mediating structures, the role of emotions, etc.