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Of Mice and Men

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Jennifer Jones

on 2 February 2014

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Transcript of Of Mice and Men

Provides the basis for divergent thinking and the application of learning in future situations
Helps students "fully learn new skills and knowledge" (Haynes, as cited by Northern Illinois University, n.d., p. 3)
Better prepares learners for the complexities of the real world
Pros of
Experiential Learning
of Behaviorism (Part I)
"Learner confined to designer's 'world'" (Mergel, 1998, Learning Theories and the Practice section, para. 2)
Learner may not be able to respond if "stimulus for correct response does not occur" (Mergel, 1998, Strengths and Weaknesses section, para. 1)
"Cannot omit invoking a creature's representation of its world ... behavior without cognition is blind" (Graham, 2010, Conclusion section, para. 5)
of Behaviorism
Encourages changes in performance and behavior through use of objectives
Incremental approach may aid mastery of subjects at Bloom's lower levels (Mergel, 1998, Mastery Learning section, para. 1)
Allows task analysis
Enables straightforward evaluation based on objectives
"Learner is focused ... can respond automatically to cues ... WWII pilots were conditioned to react to silhouettes of enemy plans" (Mergel, 1998, Strengths and Weaknesses section, para. 2)

Influence of Behaviorism on Instructional Design
Skinner created early "teaching machine" (1954)
required student to answer question correctly before advancing, providing immediate feedback and reinforcement of correct answers
Led to idea of programmed instruction
Focus on behavior led to development of behavioral objectives
Task analysis and mastery learning theories led to incremental approach to presenting material

Contrasting Learning Theories:
Basic Tenets of Behaviorism
Behaviorism vs. Experiential Learning
Of Mice and Men
A Comparison of Behavioral and Experiential Learning Theories
"Behave is what organisms do" (Graham, 2010, para. 1)
Focuses on connection between environment (stimuli) and behavior
"Introspection ... abandoned in favor of the study of behavior. Behavior was to be evaluated in its own right, independent of its relationship to any consciousness that might exist" (Wozniak, 1994, para. 3)
Emphasizes changes in behavior
"New behavioral pattern ... repeated until it becomes automatic" (Mergel, 1998, Behaviorism, Cognitivism section, para. 1)
While various learning theories drive instructional design, not all are found equally useful in the facilitation of adult learning. This presentation compares and contrasts two of these theories, behaviorism and experiential learning. It examines the basic philosophies and tenets of each, and lists some of their influences upon instructional design. Pros and cons of both theories are brought forth, and a final argument will be made for experiential learning as the theory of choice.
Encourages breaking instruction into "small, incremental steps, sequencing simple to complex, learner participation, reinforcement of correct responses, and individual pacing" (Tennyson, 2010, p. 2)
Creates a "closed" system, where designer determines "what is important for the learner to know" (Mergel, 1998, Learning Theories and the Practice section, para. 2)
Influence of Experiential Learning on Instructional Design
Utilizes multiple interactions: instructor/student, student/student, student/environment (Gentry, 1990, p. 13)
"Instructional design researchers in 2000 are investigating ways that the learner can actively shape the environment to facilitate learning" (Tennyson, 2010, p. 8)
"Emphasis on process rather than outcome" (Gentry, 1990, p. 15)
Designer creates "carefully chosen experiences" (Northern Illinois University, n.d., p. 2) to replicate real-world experiences, encourage reflection, and develop decision-making skills for future situations
ID should include four phases: design, conduct, evaluate, feedback (Gentry, 1990, p. 11)
Encourages use of interactive media and online technology (discussion boards, Blackboard, etc.)
May include simulations, role-playing, apprenticeships and internships, clinical experiences, case discussions, and live cases such as "the development of an advertising campaign for a firm" (Gentry, 1990, p. 19)
May include Computer-Assisted Instruction where "focus is on content", "highly controlled", and "feedback is very likely" (Gentry, 1990, p. 18), and education contracts to help "focus on behavior change" (Standridge, 2002, Contracts section, para. 1)
Basic Tenets of
Experiential Learning
"Learning by doing" (Gentry, 1990, p. 10)
"An active, self-regulated, goal-directed, and reflective learner constructs personal knowledge through discovery and exploration in a responsive learning environment" (Tennyson, 2010, p. 7)
Focuses on involvement of student, including feeling and cognition, in "real-world-like" learning events (Gentry, 1990)
Emphasizes student reflection and application
Includes "phases of experiencing (doing), reflection and applying" (UC Davis, as cited by Northern Illinois University, n.d., p. 2)
of Behaviorism (Part III)
Fails to explain "rapid acquisition of language by young children ... 'lexical explosion'" (Graham, 2010, Why be Anti-behaviorist section, para. 11)
Language acquisition doesn't necessarily require reinforcement
Children, by age of 4 or 5, possess an "almost limitless capacity to understand and produce sentences which they have never heard before" (Graham, 2010, Why be Anti-behaviorist section, para. 11)
My own 2 1/2 year old grandson, after having been introduced to the term "interstate" only once, properly recalled and used it a few days later
of Behaviorism (Part II)
Ignores a dualist theory and reduces human learning to the same level of animals:
"No minds should be spoken of; just behavior - stimuli, responses, and reinforcement" (Graham, 2010, Why be Anti-Behaviorist section, para. 16)
"Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select--doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and, yes, even beggarman and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors" (John B. Watson, as cited by Simpson, 2000, para. 9)
Cons of
Experiential Learning
"What the student takes away from a particular experience is ... somewhat outside the control of the instructor" (Gentry, 1990, p. 9)
Requires much involvement of instructor - "An 'experience' by itself will not insure learning; the instructor has to insure that it is a quality experience" (Gentry, 1990, p. 14)
While outcomes are easily determined, processes (the focus of Experiential Learning) must be inferred
Ultimately, I would choose to utilize experiential learning in my own life for a number of reasons. First, it follows adult learning theories which state that adults bring to the learning environment a wealth of experiences through which and to which they will process and link new learning. Secondly, it agrees with my view of people as divinely and uniquely created beings as it recognizes the cognitive processing abilities of humans and addresses their ability to mentally construct or shape the world around them. Finally, it coincides with Gottfredson's (2002) theory of circumscription and compromise (which I really like): "Individuals often require experiences in new activities and unfamiliar settings in order to diagnose and develop their specific strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and stance toward life" (p. 99).
Gottfredson, L. (2002). Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription, compromise, and self-creation. In D. Brown (Ed.),

Career choice and development
(4th ed.) (pp. 85-148). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Gentry, J. (1990). What is experiential learning? In J. Gentry (Ed.),
Guide to Business Gaming and Experiential Learning
(pp. 9-20). London: Nichols/GP Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.wmich.edu/casp/servicelearning/files/
Graham, G. (2010). Behaviorism. In
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
. Retrieved from http://
Mergel, B. (1998).
Instructional design and learning theory
. Retrieved from http://www.usask.ca/education/
Northern Illinois University. (n.d.).
Experiential learning
. Retrieved from http://www.niu.edu/facdev/resources/
Simpson, J. (2000). It's all in the upbringing.
Johns Hopkins Magazine
. Retrieved from http://www.jhu.edu/
Standridge, M. (2002). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.),
Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology
Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Behaviorism
Tennyson, R. (2010). Historical reflection on learning theories and instructional design.
Contemporary Educational
1(1), p. 1-16. Retrieved from http://www.cedtech.net/articles/11/111.pdf
Wozniak, R. (1994).
Behaviourism: The early years
. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press. Retrieved from http://

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