The role of new technologies in contemporary education is well-recognized and largely studied by numerous scholars. There are various opportunities for the integration of these technologies into the educational process as well as considerable challenges. This paper aims to discuss several questions and concerns related to theories and models of learning and instruction behind new technologies.
Theories and Models of Learning behind New Technologies
As it is mentioned by Reiser and Dempsey (2018), from the theoretical perspective, the concept of learning should be distinguished from the intuitive notion that many people have. According to the authors, learning is generally defined as “a persisting change in human performance or performance potential” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018, p. 53). It is evident that this is a considerably broad notion, and in every particular theory, the concept of learning is further elaborated variously. Reiser and Dempsey (2018) argue that major psychological theories of learning are the following: behavioral learning theory, cognitive information processing theory, schema theory, situated learning theory, Gagné’s theory of instruction, connectivism, and constructivism.
Also, it is mentioned that several main principles guide any approach to learning and teaching. The observation and assessment of human behavior is a highly important aspect as well as the use of instructional strategies to direct student’s attention and to enable them to learn complex skills (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018). Also, providing opportunities for participation in collaborative activities and communities at large is another highly important principle.
The observation of theories of learning implies that they are highly useful. However, there also are significant concerns related to some of these theories. It is possible to exemplify constructivism as it has both advantages and disadvantages in terms of implementation. Reiser and Dempsey (2018) mention that all approaches to learning efficiently solve some problems, simultaneously creating others. The primary characteristic of the constructivist approach is that students rather than teachers are responsible for all major aspects of the learning process, such as “choosing an area to work on or an approach to solving a problem; determining roles of team members; judging sources and methods; evaluating quality and appropriateness of solutions” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018, p. 63). Students might not be prepared to take such a responsibility. In particular, they could not be motivated or emotionally mature enough to work effectively without external guidance from teachers and instructors. Complex and authentic learning environments, in which they are put, requires the use of prior knowledge that might be insufficient in some students.
However, it is also important to mention that the application of new informational technologies to the educational process is within the scope of this paper. When considering opportunities provided by instructional design technologies supported by new information technologies, it is possible to state that the constructivist approach might be beneficial in this situation (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018). The reason is that students are in general much more familiar with social media technologies, and thus the use of these tools in the educational process could be easier guided by students (Jankauskaitė, 2015).
Therefore, the primary conclusion that could be made is that new emerging technologies could be efficiently supported and reinforced by the use of certain learning models and theories, such as constructivism. The influence of social media technologies on instructional design could be hardly underestimated. In the context of the contemporary classroom, it is appropriate to develop a new strategy for communication between students and teachers.
Jankauskaitė, D. (2015). Social media as a tool for improving teaching and learning experience. Signum Temporis, 7(1), 54-59.
Reiser, R., & Dempsey, J. (2018). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.