Education | Learning and Cognition in Education
P540 | 5791 | Matthew P. Nussbaum


Why are we here?
IU (from the Chancellor’s Welcome)
“…to strengthen a sense of social responsibility and an appreciation
for the contributions that can be made by public-spirited individuals
whose efforts enhance the quality of life of their fellow citizens.”

IU School of Education
“…to improve teaching, learning, and human development in a diverse,
rapidly changing, and increasingly technological society. We (1)
prepare reflective, caring, and highly skilled educational
practitioners and scholars who lead in their chosen professions; (2)
inform educational theory and practice through research; and (3) work
in partnership with a range of constituents to effect change from the
local to national levels throughout the world.”

IU School of Education - Educational Psychology Department
“…to prepare: (1) scholars who will broaden the knowledge base in the
areas of human development, learning, teaching, research methodology,
and school adjustment; (2) researchers and evaluators proficient in
the use of rigorous methods of qualitative and quantitative methods
for inquiry and assessment; and (3) inquiry-based practitioners to
work toward the solution of both individual and social problems as
these affect school performance and life functioning.

Educational Psychology students learn to approach decision making and
problem solving from a data-based orientation, to apply critical and
reflective analysis to knowledge production, and to work toward the
overall intellectual and affective betterment of humankind.”

P540 – Learning and Cognition in Education
“…to survey theoretical positions in the areas of learning and
cognition, with emphasis on their relevance for the design of
classroom learning situations.”

We are a community of public-spirited, reflective, caring, highly
skilled, proficient, leading practitioners and scholars who together
are embarking on a journey (…a critical, reflective, analytical
journey)to survey the theoretical positions in the areas of learning
and cognition, with an emphasis on their relevance for the design of
learning situations in order that we might enhance the quality of
life for our fellow citizens, effect change throughout the world,
work toward the solution of both individual and social problems,
and work toward the overall intellectual and affective betterment of
humankind,

REQUIRED RESOURCES

Driscoll, M. (2000). Psychology of Learning for Instruction, 2nd
Edition. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

EXPECTED CONTRIBUTIONS	

Participation
Each participant will be expected to keep up with the reading and
participate in the class discussions in a civil manner; having
thoughtfully taken notes (not extensive) on each day’s reading
assignments.  I know you are graduate students, and thus I assume a
higher level of motivation. I also realize that attending this class
is not the only, nor the most important time commitment that you
have. Nevertheless, participatory attendance is highly valued in this
course. I will take regular attendance. More than two absences should
be discussed with me because it might adversely influence your final
grade

Why am I Here? 		
Each of you are making some significant sacrifices (financial, time,
family, career-on-hold) to be here as part of this learning
community.

Why? (…beyond the fact that it is a required course in your program)


Re-read the shaded paragraph on the front page of this syllabus and
reflect on:

page 1) Who are you and how you fit (or hope to fit) the desired
traits of:“public-spirited, reflective, caring, highly skilled,
proficient, leading…?”

page 2) What is the “learning situation” (learning environment, field
of interest) in which you hope to relevantly apply these newly
understood theories of learning?

page 3) What motivates you to have the dream to:enhance the quality
of life for our fellow citizens, effect change throughout the world,
work toward the solution of both individual and social problems,
and work toward the overall intellectual and affective betterment of
humankind?”

On the day that these are due (due date = Tuesday, January 21), these
papers will be read by others in our learning community, as a means
to broaden our academic and relational boundaries. 	

At the Movies
Each member will be expected to submit a three page paper and lead a
10-12 minute learning exploration for our learning community related
to the paper.  We will do one (and sometimes two) each class period
beginning January 23. Your 10-12 minute segment will include the
following:

You are to choose a 2-5 minute segment from a movie/TV show of your
choice.  The video clip should be of some “learning experience” – a
setting where instruction and/or learning is taking place. You are
responsible for obtaining and returning the video tape or DVD.

You are to lead us in a brief, critical, reflective, and analytical
discussion about the learning as it relates to the movie clip (this
can be before, during, and/or after the clip). To assist you in this,
you will prepare a three page paper.  At the top of each of the three
pages, the participant should articulate a single question, which
they then go on to explore on that page. The three pages are:

page 1) What intrigues you about this situation?

page 2) What learning principles might you draw from this event?

page 3) How might the hypothesized principles observed influence or
shape the design of a typical learning situation in your field of
interest? (i.e., How might this help shape design for deaf education?
How would this affect how a religious leader teaches in their
synagogue, church, or mosque?)

I am serious about the page limit in this assignment.  I want you to
work on two things in writing these papers: first, cultivating your
observation skills (i.e. to see through the eyes of a researcher);
and second, learning how to concisely articulate your observations
and subsequent hypotheses. Your grade for this assignment is based
primarily on the quality of the paper, not the presentation.  A
presentation that is noticeable poorly prepared, or noticeably superb
may have some effect on your grade on the assignment.

All good things come in threes…
You will notice that these three writing assignment are each three
pages in length. This means (1) no more than three pages (your paper
can be less than three pages); (2) double-spaced; (3) 10-12-point
font; (4) one inch margins; (5) accompanied by a title page.

Keep in mind that the quality of your writing does matter, if for no
other reason that the quality of your writing matters after your
graduate.  I am not directly evaluating your writing skills, but poor
writing communicates poorly what you have or are learning.

Out in the Field
The purpose of this assignment is to help you shift from the position
of participant in learning environments (that is, being a student or
a teacher), to the position of an observer (that is, being a
researcher).  Each participant will be responsible for helping
organize and lead a portion of the class. You will be expected submit
a three page paper and lead a 15-17 minute learning exploration for
the learning community related to the paper. Your paper and leading
segment will be derived from the following:

You will spend 3-4 hours observing a group of people learning
something.  This could be an elementary school class. You
could “shadow” a high school student for part of a day. You could
observe a sports team practicing, an orchestra rehearsal, or a how-to-
sew seminar, or a religious service or training seminar. You are
encouraged to choose something that is in your field of interest.
Basically, the requirement is to find a setting where

(1) learning is taking place,
(2) in a group of people,
(3) over a sufficient amount of time so that you can observe 3-4
hours of activity.

You are to lead us in critical, reflective, and analytical discussion
about the learning as it relates to your field experience. To assist
you in this, each participant will prepare a three page paper with
the following format:

page 1) What did you observe? Thus, your first page is focused around
describing the setting and the participants. Explain what, if
anything, people seem to be learning, and how they are learning it.
Pay particular attention to the relationship between individual and
group activity. Be critical, reflective, and analytical.

At the top of pages 2 and 3, the participant should articulate a
single question, which they then go on to explore on that page (and
which will serve as potential questions for the discussion that you
will lead).

page 2) One question (and thus, one page) focused around a question
which sets what you observed in dialogue with one of the significant
learning theories (or theorists) studied in this course. (i.e., How
might Piaget describe what is happening? or How might Cognitive
Information Processing help explain the phenomenon observed?)

page 3) One question (and thus, one page) focused around a question
that draws from the observed learning experience and the discussed
learning theory in order to shape the design of a typical learning
situation in your field of interest.

*In order to help you be better prepared for your opportunity to lead
us in discussion, all Out-in-the-Field papers are due on April 1.

Final Project Paper

Below are eight potential questions for the final project in the
course. Four or five of them will be selected for your actual paper
and communicated to you on April 3.  The paper will then be due on
April 29.

All of the questions for this project deal with the educational
issues addressed in the film, Searching for Bobby Fischer. Please
type your responses (double spaced) and staple the pages together.
Answer each question concisely. Your paper is limited to a total of
12 pages.

We will be watching the movie in class on April 1 and 3.  You are
encouraged to watch the movie on your own as well, preferably with
others in the class.  Discuss the issues and your answers to the
questions, but each person should turn in their own paper – make sure
it reflects you own opinions.

1.How are behavioral learning strategies used by the people in the
movie? Consider the role of the child, parents, teachers, mentors,
etc.

2.How are information processing strategies used in the movie?
Again, consider multiple roles.

3.Consider the various mentors and teachers (including the parents)
and their “method” for motivating or influencing Alex.  What does
their methodology communicate about their epistemology – especially
concerning human nature? Do they view Alex as a blank slate? a noble
savage? a ghost-in-a-machine?  What do their actions display
concerning the nature/nurture debate?

4.How are social cognitive learning strategies used by people in the
movie? Consider multiple roles…

5.How is constructivism used in the movie? (consider multiple roles).
Be sure to define what you mean by “constructivism” since we have
discussed and read about many different approaches to the
construction of knowledge.

6.Consider Aristotle’s observation concerning the three essential
components of a good persuader, communicator, and/or teacher (logos,
ethos, pathos). Viewed through that lens, evaluate Alex’s mentors and
teachers.

7.Which application of learning theories (e.g. behaviorism, cognitive
information processing, constructivism) appeared to be move effective
in helping Josh learn to be a championship-caliber chess player?
Which was least effective?

8.Reflecting on our P540 class, how have we used behaviorism, social
cognitive theory, information processing, and various constructivist
theories in the course? Consider such things as my role, your role,
the curriculum, technology, assessment, the learning environment, etc.


GRADING

The assignments in this course are graded according to the following
percentage weights.

Participatory Attendance = 15%
Why am I Here? = 15%
At the Movies = 15%
Out in the Field = 25%
Final Exam Project = 30%

Basic Grading Philosophy:

…a grade of "A" will be given to work which shows extraordinary high
achievement, unusually complete command of the subject matter,
represents an exceptionally high degree of originality, creativity,
and synthesis/application .

…a grade of "B" will be given to work which is very good, solid,
above average quality. Good synthesis/application are expected.

…a grade of "C" will be given to work of satisfactory quality with an
average level of synthesis/application.

Incompletes:
A grade of incomplete will only be given in the case of a medical or
personal emergency.

Just a suggestion…

As we study each theory, take time to construct your own 1-page
overview of the summary.  You will find this helpful  (1) forthe
final project in this course; (2) as a “quick reference guide”
throughout your graduate coursework; (3) as helpful preparation for
qualifying exams.