People of all ages learning in various ways Intellectual development for people of all ages

Implementing Educational Theory in the Learning Process

Learning theory has made tremendous advances in the past few years as we’ve discovered how the brain makes connections, studied classroom environments and compared teaching techniques to see which work best. In spite of all these discoveries, though, most classroom learning environments are structured about the same way they were 200 years ago. To be fair, we must recognize that there have been some advances, but most schools stop short of doing everything they can to increase the intellectual development of their students. Education must be built upon scientific learning, progress measurement, and individual learning orientations.

The majority of learning theory is very general in nature, meant to apply to all kinds of learning and several different subjects. Our founder, Dr. C. Victor Bunderson, and our vice president, Dr. Van Newby, worked together on a study called How to Build a Domain Theory: On the Validity-Centered Design of Construct-Linked Scales of Learning and Growth. In this paper, they explain the concept of Domain Theory, which involves the creation of several, more useful learning pathways, each applied directly to a specific subject matter. These learning pathways outline the individual steps that one must take and barriers one must overcome to learn a specific subject or lesson, dividing the learning process into smaller, more measurable pieces. We can then use these pieces to understand students’ learning process and help them overcome their individual barriers to learning.
Continual Progress Measurement Ideal Learning Conditions
Learning Pathways formed by Theory Individual Learning Styles
Child reading newspaper: early reading is one example of the way learning pathways can be created for education.

Learning Pathways in Beginning Reading

Let’s use early reading as an example. Learning to read is a complex domain with several intermediate steps. First, a student must learn to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Next, she needs to understand the sound that each letter represents. Third, she places these sounds in order, according to the way they are written. Finally, she needs to learn more complex things, like combined sounds (Sh, Ch, and Th, for example) or sight words with silent letters (knife, pneumonia, through, etc.).

Learning to read is a complex domain with many intermediate steps.
These steps are just a few of those that would be outlined in a complete learning pathway for learning to read. Domain theory's learning pathways apply to any learning process, no matter the subject: reading, mathematics, art, accounting, public speaking, dancing, or whatever else you’d like to learn.
Learning pathways formed by domain theory must be put into action in the classroom for students to be successful. When we understand the steps people must take along these learning pathways, we can customize instruction to the person receiving it. Seeing education as a series of steps or “progressive attainments,” as Bunderson and Newby write, we can use computers to measure learners' progress on these small, intermediate steps, helping them to develop new talents and skills more quickly.
Applying Learning Pathways as Part of a Complete Package for Better Education Computers can be a powerful tool to help learners understand new concepts.
Domain theory is fascinating, but only one part of a complete system that will transform education. With continuous progress measurement and feedback, we can apply learning theory in an instantaneous fashion, using the knowledge gained through measurement to understand how well students are grasping the intermediate steps to learning a specific concept, and then tailor instruction to fit the individual’s learning needs. This instructional design is completely customized, working at the pace of the individual and reacting immediately to the learner in a smooth, intuitive lesson flow. The flow of the teaching is only increased by the addition of the third fundamental element for ideal learning conditions, learning style information. By presenting the lessons people have trouble understanding in a different manner, more suited to the individual, we can help students to learn in the ways they already excel. This way, learning will be more applicable and more fun!
Our Vision for Intelligent Education Systems

Currently, teachers present lessons and then give tests to see how well their students have learned, oftentimes repeating material for the benefit of the one or two people in the class who don’t understand. With this new ideology and learning system, teachers (and intelligent computer systems) will have the information they need to understand:

1.      How students are performing in their learning of a specific subject

2.      What areas each individual is struggling with

3.      What practice each individual needs to improve in a certain domain (subject)

4.      How to present information, fitting the lesson plan to the individual’s own learning orientation style

With this information, teachers will teach more efficiently and students will learn more quickly. By implementing educational theory in the classroom and in our day-to-day lives, we will be able to improve intelligence, reasoning and critical thinking abilities, and students’ skills much more quickly and effectively, allowing our children and us to become more happy, fulfilled, and successful.

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