Students of instructional design are taught early that learning theory is invaluable to understanding how people learn and interpreting how the mind serves as the central mechanism that facilitates learning.  Any veteran designer will quickly alert newer ones of the importance of studying learning theory, for it builds a core foundation of knowledge that those designers can use to guide their development of learning content.  However, not all research is good research, and the ability to discern the difference depends heavily on how well designers can identify the good from the bad.  For this week’s post, two articles that discuss learning theory and how the brain functions to learn were retrieved via Google Scholar, and after reviewing them, their value have been assessed with regard to their contributions to learning theory research.  For insights, review the information provided below:

Brain and Learning Research: Implications for Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners

By Fara E. Green

The value of this article is seen in three distinct areas:

  • It provides a review/overview of Learning Theory Research – 50% of the article provides an extensive review of learning theory. It covers both the behaviorist and cognitivist perspectives while also addressing how emotion impacts learning. The most pressing point that is emphasized is the perspective of unifying cognitivism with other research that addresses brain-based learning.
  • It summarizes the different implications made from research review and how they impact learning in secondary education – A central thesis of this article is that the learners that appear in classrooms represent a diverse selection of learners. Given the implications that the behaviorist and cognitivist schools of thought have concerning learning and the different ways the major conclusions, the article goes to great depth to juxtapose each implication to teaching methodologies and necessary approaches teachers should consider and take when developing content for their students.
  • It has been cited as evidence in numerous other publications – According to Google Scholar, this article has been cited in at least 96 other publications, which substantiate it as a major resource to consider when researching and reviewing information concerning learning theory and application. For instructional designers who specialize in creating learning content for secondary education application, the information contained within this article has been peer reviewed to the extent that other researchers affirm its standing and conclusions.

Understanding a Brain Based Approach to Learning and Teaching

By Renate Nummela Caine and Geoffrey Caine

The value of this article is seen in two distinct areas:

  • It calls for educators to gain a more informed understanding of brain based learning research – The authors describe within the article a causal relationship that suggests that innovation in creating stimulating content can only be achieved by reviewing brain based research, making it possible for educators to build environments that would maximize learning. In making this claim, the article sets out to define the best understanding of brain based learning by dividing that definition into distinct principles that address different areas of the research.
  • The article provides a roadmap of how to interpret the different brain functions as they relate to developing content – Each of the principles are elaborated on with insights provided on what educators can do in the classroom to make effective use of brain based learning.
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