To synthesize knowledge, one must both understand the viewpoints of a diverse set of writers and the critical components of their related theories, concepts and assertions as they relate to a performance problem.
For this competency I chose:
This paper on the problem and proposed solution to the dilemma English language learners (ELL) face every day in our public school system demonstrates each of the three sub-competencies integral to the synthesis of knowledge. In this assignment, we were asked to construct our own instructional model. As part of the process, we were to research learning theories, comparing and contrasting them, and then present the rationale behind proposing a new theory or model. Finally, we were to present our proposed model.
I work with ELL students and know that most of the existing learning models fail to attend to some of the unique needs of this Learner population. Meyer in a study looking at the Barriers to Meaningful Instruction for ELL Learners (2001), showed that ELL students experience cognitive, cultural, learning and language load. I have had many talks with my students about their struggle to learn, understand and excel over a 6 year period. I truly believe there is a remedy; but, traditional methods will have to be set aside if we are to see success. I proposed a new instructional model based on the premise that children learn their native language through dialogue with family and friends, and much of their learning is based on cultural schema. In a traditional US classroom setting, there is little time for dialogue and little if any attempt to construct concepts for cultural connection.
Sub-Competency 1: This sub-competency deals with reading and understanding educational literature relating to Educational Technology, and as I thought about how to best demonstrate this type of ability, I realized that presenting arguments and examples in discussion is one way we show our knowledge and understanding. For that reason I am offering my discussion posts from EDCI 566 (HTML | PDF) in which the class debated/discussed Clark and Kozma's Great Media Debate. I am adding the links after I create the pages.
In this artifact, I argue for a learner-centered systems approach to the place of media in Instructional Design. I also cite Morrison, Sweeney and Hefferman (2006) and Alaka (citing Kolb, 2011) in making a case for balance between effectiveness and cost considerations:
Given this line of reasoning — that 1) because some media span multiple learning styles; and, 2) the multiple representations can potentially enable a learner to become more versatile at receiving instruction — is it possible that versatility should play a role in the consideration/choice of medium and perhaps even be weighted more heavily than cost (Krause Response to Christian Vester, March 13, 2015)?
In a conversation with Dr. Jea Choi (also in this discussion), I present several educational tools (technologies) that are specifically purposed for assisting in making learning universal (Krause, 2015), demonstrating an ability to respond to an inquiry by appropriately researching technologies that address the performance gap. While reading and understanding is important, in this discussion, I found myself wondering if Clark still held to his contention that media is merely a vehicle; so, I wrote to him and asked. His response was most gracious, and he offered more current publications for my review.
Sub-Competency 2: For Sub-Competencies 2 & 3, I offer my final paper for EDCI 531 entitled, An Instructional Model for English Language Learners to Reduce Cognitive, Culture, Learning, and Language Load. In conducting my research, I used the work of seven authors. Because I was proposing a new model, this was a little different from a typical Literature Review in that I looked more at existing theories of learning to find information that helped explain the phenomena that I was seeing as well as to help me hypothesize what was causing (and could fill) the gaps related to ELL learners—a modified Grounded Theory approach. The paper provides an overview of Behaviorism, Cognitivism and Constructivism, and explains how each theory and the related methodologies adversely affect ELL learners either in the immediate or later in their educational career. I used the literature review to formulate a holistic methodology that integrates Friere (Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 2005) and Vygotsky's focus on dialogue as a tool integral to the creation of verbal thought (Meyer, 2001) coupled with Krashan's (1981) contention concerning the movement toward an active ELL learner (Krause, 2014). This examination of the literature demonstrates my ability to describe and use the principles that make up the basis of the prevailing learning theories.
Sub-Competency 3: As a result of my research, in synthesizing the various schools of thought as they related to the current condition of our ELL learners, I proposed an initial four-part solution based on the disparity I have observed between existing instructional models and language learning as it occurs naturally within a family/cultural setting. This solution combines methodology derived from Cognitivism, as discussed by Driscoll (2005), Sweller (1994) and Ertmer and Newby (1993) by placing the learner in an active role in the learning experience; but, also includes an emphasis on active dialogue (between the learner and instructor) and an emphasis on cultural cues (Meyer, 2000) which are critical to learning for all students yet glaringly absent for ELL students. This proposal demonstrates my ability to apply what I knew/understood about learning theory, diversity, and pedagogy in proposing a solution to an instructional problem.
Room for Growth
The process of seeking explanations for observed phenomena, combining the understanding with solid instructional theory and methodology, and using it to address a performance gap became more clear through this assignment. Written early in the program, I believe these papers provide evidence of a solid basis of understanding of learning theory as it applies to educational technology, and of the process of literature review, synthesis and application of data to the solution of problems.
It is my hope that someday I might be able to find a venue to test my theory. I learned so much from studying the theorists and seeing the evolution of instructional practice over time. I believe that the importance of dialogue, using the Learners to help create the learning environment, and scaffolding through the creation of cultural connections is deserving of further study. Finally, I believe there is more that can be done to reduce cognitive load among ELL students and research should be conducted to see if there is a tie-in between dialogue and cultural considerations to other special populations as well.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1937-8327.1993.tb00605.x
Krause, T. (2015). An Instructional model for English language learners to reduce cognitive, culture, learning, and language load. EDCI 531. Purdue University.
Krause, T. (2015). Discussion posts. —The great media debate. EDCI 566. Purdue University.
Meyer, L. M. (2000). Barriers to meaningful instruction for English learners. Theory Into Practice, 39(4), 228-236. doi: 10.1207/s15430421tip3904_6
Sweller, J. (1994). Cognitive load theory, learning difficulty, and instructional design. Learning and Instruction, 4(4), 295-312. doi: 10.1016/0959-4752(94)90003-5