Fall 2014: Syllabus P540 Learning and Cognition in Education

Tuesday 1:00-3:30, Room 1204, IU, School of Ed, Section 14004


Instructor: Dr. Curt Bonk, Indiana University



Curtis J. Bonk, Ph.D.

Office: 201 N. Rose Avenue, 2238 W. W. Wright Education Bldg., Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana 47405-1006


Phone: just ask; E-mail: CJBonk@indiana.edu

Office Hours: Tuesdays: 3:45-5:00.

Homepage: http://curtbonk.com/


Instructional Assistant (IA):

Ozgur Ozdemir, Instructional Systems Technology, Doctoral Student, oozdemir@indiana.edu


Course Description:

In this course, we will explore several different theoretical perspectives on learning, cognition, and cognitive development. As we will see, no single theory can account for all aspects of human learning and cognition. By looking at a variety of theories, we can identify a range of principles, perspectives, and tools that may be useful in understanding learning and teaching in a variety of contexts. Keep in mind that this course is essentially a survey of learning and cognition theories. While this means that there is a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short period of time, there are opportunities for you to delve deeper into personal areas of interest.


Primary Course Goals

1. To become conversant with basic assumptions, concepts, and principles of each theory.

2. To grasp possible implications of each theory for different instructional settings.

3. To compare and contrast a range of theories in a variety of settings and age groups.

4. To create, revise, and begin to use your own personal theory of learning.

5. To reflect on how learning theories impact on every aspect of your life.


Learning Approach

I believe that learning is a social, active, and reflective process. As such, the learning activities will include reading, writing, reflecting, and participating in group assignments. While some of our assignments are designed as individual reflection activities, many others are group activities. In addition, I want you to be engaged in hands-on and authentic learning tasks. Thus, the tasks selected here will allow for your active experimentation with learning theories in everyday life.


Available Bonk Videostreams and Podcasts:

  1. Bonk’s Video Lectures (8-pack): http://curtbonk.com/September102008.html (below are some informal podcasts and other video lectures)
  2. Weekly YouTube and other videos: http://curtbonk.com/youtube_videos.htm


Course Books and Resources:

There are 2 highly recommended books for this course (almost required) and 1 optional book. The Driscoll book is highly recommended. Most readings will come from there.


Recommended Highly (I will lecture from this book):

Driscoll, M. (2005). Psychology of Learning for Instruction, 3rd Edition. New York: Allyn & Bacon.


Order any edition: http://tinyurl.com/mgabgeh; http://tinyurl.com/plseoyp; http://tinyurl.com/kquo72t


(Also try Half.com, AbeBooks.com, Half-Priced Books from $0.75 to $40.00 for used older editions)


Optional Text: This book is highly recommended but not required (you can buy this cheaply on Amazon or Half.com as a used book!).


Goldsmith, M., Kaye, B., & Shelton, K. (2000). Learning journeys: Top management experts share hard-earned lessons on becoming mentors and leaders. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.


New Amazon: $3.99; used $.01; ($.75-$2.00 at Half.com)

http://tinyurl.com/l2umh77; http://tinyurl.com/nph4gky


Note: there are books like this that are more K-12 (e.g., Edutopia from the George Lucas Education Foundation). Just ask me for such titles or suggest.




Cognitive Psychology and Instruction by Roger Bruning, Monica Norby and Gregory Schraw (2010, Paperback) Image

Recommended highly: This book is highly recommended (especially for counseling, school psych, teacher education, learning sciences, or ed psych students) but not required (you can buy this cheaply used!).


Roger H. Bruning. Gregory J. Schraw, Monica M. Norby, Royce R. Ronning (2003). Cognitive Psychology and Instruction (4th Edition). Prentice Hall.


Half.com: http://www.half.ebay.com/ (75 cents)



Abe Books ($3.75): http://www.abebooks.com/; http://tinyurl.com/mqvqr42


Half-Price Books (99 cents): http://www.hpb.com/; http://tinyurl.com/pcp8ocw


Note: some instructors use this book in P544 Applied Cognition and Learning Strategies. It is an excellent book for understanding cognitive psychology and its impact in school situations, including chapters on reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, etc.


Reminder Note: You can purchase these books cheaper or used online at Amazon.com or Half.com, AbeBooks.com, Half-Price Books. Try to avoid buying new books. Some articles will be posted to Oncourse.


Other P540 Course Resources:

1.      Interactive Multimedia P540 Glossary (with many videos and articles—designed by one of my former students (Umida Khikmatillaeva): http://learningplanet.shutterfly.com/

  1. Cool Resource Provider and Top Ten Summarizer Sign Up Page: http://www.trainingshare.com/p540.php
  2. Wikibook on “The Practice of Learning Theories”: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Learning_theories_in_practice


P540 Resources from Other Instructors:

Dr. Joyce Alexander who has kindly placed her P540 lecture notes and resources on the Web. Modules: http://www.indiana.edu/~p540alex/Summer2003/units.html

Resources: http://www.indiana.edu/~p540alex/Summer2003/resources.html.


Instructional Design and Learning Theory Databases (from Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education):

Instructional Design: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/index.html

It includes ID Models: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/models/index.html

Mini ID Glossary: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/glossary.html


Greg Kearsley’s old Theory into Practice (TIP) Database:

  1. Learning theories: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/index.html
  2. Learning Domains: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/domains/index.html
  3. Learning Concepts: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/concepts/index.html

 (Note: this contains 50 major theories of learning and instruction).


Proposed Course Activities and Schedule


Learner-oriented Activity (Based on Driscoll 3rd edition)

Week 1


(Aug 26th)


Driscoll Ch 1 Intro to Theories of Learning and Instruction

Cunningham Article: May You Teach in Interesting Times (Oncourse)


Review: Dr. Alexander: Approaches to the Study of Learning: ttp://www.indiana.edu/~p540alex/Summer2003/unit1.html

Week 2


(Sept 2nd)


Driscoll Ch 2: Radical Behaviorism

Gredler Chapter on Skinner (Posted to Oncourse)

Review: Other articles posted to Oncourse.

Week 3

Social Learning Theory

(Sept 9th)


Driscoll: Ch 9: Self-efficacy beliefs, pages 316-323 (if you have the 3rd edition); pages 310-316 (if you have the 2nd edition)

(Bruning 4th Ed addition: Ch 6, pages 110-117; Beliefs About Self)

Review: Explore Web links in Oncourse related to Albert Bandura

Week 4

Cognitive Information Processing

(Sept 16th)


Driscoll Ch 3: Cognitive Information Processing

(Bruning 4th Ed. addition: Chapters 1-5 on Info Processing Theory)

Review: How People Learn, by Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (Eds.) (2 parts): see Oncourse.

Week 5

Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning

(Sept 23rd)


Driscoll: Chapter 9 Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning

Various motivation articles posted to Oncourse.

(Bruning 4th Ed. add: Ch 6, pages 117-136; Ch 7 on Beliefs & Cog)

Due Sept 23rd: Reflection Paper #1

Week 6

Meaningful Learning & Schema Theory

(Sept 30th)


Driscoll: Chapter 4 Meaningful Learning and Schema Theory

(Bruning 4th Edition addition: Chapters 11-14, Learning to Read; Reading to Learn, Writing; and Cognitive Approaches to Mathematics)

Week 7

Catch-up week

(Oct 7th)


Catch up: Motivation, Learning Strats, Metacognition, Schema Theory.

Week 8

Cognitivism and Piaget

 (Oct 14th)


Driscoll: Chapter 6 Cognitive and Knowledge Development (Piaget)

(Bruning 4th Ed. addition: Chapter 15 Cog Approaches to Science)


Due October 14th: Reflection Paper #2

Week 9

Contructivism and Situated Learning


 (Oct 21st)


Driscoll: Chapter 5 Situation Cognition and Chapter 7 Interactional Theories of Cognitive Development (Vygotsky and Bruner)

(Bruning 4th Ed addition: Chapter 9 Classroom Contexts)


Week 10

Contructivism (Oct 28th)


Driscoll: Chapter 11 Constructivism


Week 11


Constructivism (Nov 4th)


Constructivism Continued…


(Early) Nov 4th: Reflection Paper #3 (or anytime after)

Week 12

Instructivism & Instructional Design

 (Nov 9th)


Articles assigned from David Merrill on ID (see Oncourse)

Chapter 10 Gagne’s Theory of Instruction

Review: Articles and videos posted to Oncourse.

Week 13

Connectivism (Nov 18th)


Oncourse articles on Connectivism.


(Bruning Ed. add: Chapter 10 on Tech Contexts for Cog Growth)


Due Nov 18th (latest): Reflection Paper #3

Week 14

Self-Directed and Informal Online Learning




Personal Exploration Week

(Dec 2nd)


Bonk articles on Self-Directed and Informal Online Learning

Driscoll: Ch 12 Toward a Personal Theory of Learning and Instruction


Course Catch-up Week: Options (Counseling Majors: Critical Thinking from Bruning book or other; Other Majors: choice from Chapter 8 of Driscoll on brain bases for learning and memory, critical thinking, or anything of interest—2-4 articles or book chapters)


Week 15

Final Papers

(Dec 9th)

Turn in Final Papers and Jeopardy Competition


Due Dec 9th: Final Wikibook Chapter, Track Theorist, YouTube video or video blog, Glossary, or Super Summary Papers, Other/Student Choice (and third reflection papers)


Course Policies:

Lateness, Incompletes, Plagiarism, Paper Submission Policies. I am flexible. You can turn in any paper late (you have 2 free cushion days (48 hours) on any paper). However, on the 3rd day late you will lose 5% and you lose 5 percent for every day beyond that. A grade of "I" will be given for medical emergencies, extreme situations, and unforeseen emergencies only. All other policies and regulations (e.g., regarding "academic honesty and plagiarism") as stated in the Graduate Bulletin apply in this course (this is a required note in any IU syllabus). Unless I am traveling, I respond to email within 48 hours; more likely, within an hour or 2 or quicker.


Classroom Courtesy: Using your laptops or mobile devices to take notes in class or look up course information is a courtesy. Please do not abuse it by reading the news, checking email, posting to Facebook, or distracting your peers in some way during class. If I observe such behaviors, I will ask you to check your technology at the door for the remainder of the semester with my instructional assistant, Ozgur Ozdemir, who will return it after class.


Submitting Assignments

You can submit papers to me in class, via email, the drop-box in Oncourse, campus mail, or fax. Just let me know which you choose if you do not bring to class. Email or FTF work best.


Course Points. There are 270 points in this course, as follows:

  1. 30 points = Participation on Class Discussion

30 points = Cool Resource Finder and Top Ten Summarizer

30 points = Class Attendance

  1. 30 points = Reflection Paper #1 (choice of 8 options)

30 points = Reflection Paper #2 (choice of 8 options)

  1. 30 points = Reflection Paper #3 (choice of 5 options)
  2. 90 points = Pick from 6 choices: Super Summary Paper, YouTube vide or Video Blog, Wikibook Chapter, Track a Learning Theory, Personal Glossary, or Student Option



Course Grading: I reserve the right for a quiz or test at some point during the semester which will increase the point total here. We will use 90-80-70-60 scale for the course.


270 pts or more = A+

252 = A

243 = A-

234 = B+

225 = B

216 = B-

207 = C+

198 = C

189 = C-


Course Requirements and Assessments


I. Class Discussion, Cool Resources, and Class Attendace

We will typically cover a chapter or unit each week. My Webstreamed class lectures, virtual presentations, and podcasts can be found online. See: http://curtbonk.com/streamed.html#p. Each week, you are asked to read the chapter assigned, watch 2 assigned YouTube or TED videos (from several posted), and come to class. If you miss class, you must watch or listen to any relevant lecture materials I have posted (see http://curtbonk.com/youtube_videos.htm). If there are multiple parts to a video, you are encouraged to watch all parts. On a couple of weeks during the semester (when I am at a conference), we will meet online or have an optional face-to-face meeting. See syllabus.


A. Participation in Any Discussion Face-to-Face or Online (30 Points):

In this Web course, your completion of weekly activities and regular participation in course discussions will be essential to your success. There are 30 points allocated to participating in weekly in face-to-face class sessions as well as any online discussions. 27-30 for high participators; 24-26 for medium participators; 21-23 for low participators; and 0-20 for others.


B. Cool Resource Provider and Top Ten Summarizer (30 Points).

Each week, we will have at least 2 people in charge of bringing in 1-2 cool resources to the class session that extend the class as well as bring in some cool resources. This pair will also take on the role of a Top Ten Summarizer. In effect, they will provide a list of the top ten points from the article or chapter readings for the week. They must start with the summary from last year as a base and build on it, extend it, delete it, modify it, etc. The online sign-up sheet for these two roles can be found in Oncourse Resources (see http://www.trainingshare.com/p540.php).


In effect, the Cool Resource Providers will explore the Web resources for the week and present them to the class. The team will submit a list to me of 5-10 resources prior to class and also post it to Oncourse. Typically, just 1 or 2 of these resources will be shown in class. Such resources might include online psychology tests, simulations, animations, models, videos (e.g., YouTube or Vimeo), researcher Websites, or audio clips, etc. as well as paper-based information. A corresponding handout is helpful but not required. The presentation will take 4-5 minutes followed by questions and answers from the class. As Top Ten Summarizers, they will also post ten key points for the week on the right side of the marker board. They will also have a top ten list handout for the class. This too will take about 4-5 minutes or 10 minutes total.


You will likely be a Cool Resource Provider and Top Ten Summarizer just once during the semester. This is a mastery assignment—you get full credit if done well.


C. Class Attendance and Warm-up Quizzes (30 Points—mainly for attendance).

My assistant, Ozgur Ozdemir, will take attendance each week. It will be worth 30 points. She will also design a weekly warm-up quiz in the form of a crossword puzzle, maze, matching exercise, etc. based on terms in the Driscoll book. Most of these will be just for fun, but we might give bonus points for high scores on some of them. We might also treat 1-2 of them as a quiz (most likely with advance notice).


II. Reflective Writing Activity #1 is Due September 23rd and Activity #2 Due October 14th (Pick 2 tasks from 8 options below)


You have 3 total reflective writing papers to complete. Two are in this section with eight options. The first one is due September 18th and the second one is due October 14th. Except for last four options, these will be 2-3 page single-spaced papers. Try to skip a space between paragraphs, however. Use 12 point times roman font and one inch margins or something similar that looks nice and does not make me go blind. Please include your name and option description. I have no preferences. Each paper is worth 30 points.


Option A. Learning Journeys or Edutopia book (30 Points)

I recommended the book, “Learning journeys: Top management experts share hard-earned lessons on becoming mentors and leaders,” for a reason. The book is filled with 37 stories and lessons in life from some of the world’s best known management mentors and leaders. A used copy of this book can be bought online at Amazon.com or Half.com for under $10 and sometimes as low as $1. (If you do not want to select this particular book because you are a K-12 educator, feel free to find a similar book in your field if you can find one, or perhaps buy an autobiography that is filled with rich learning experiences. I must approve any alternative book selection, however. Please read 4-5 stories from the “Learning Journeys” book (or 4-5 chapters for an alternative book) and link aspects of them to different learning theories in a 2-3 page single-spaced paper (one of these pages might be a chart of course terms alluded to in the chapters you read and a description of how these relate to class). For K-12 people, there is a book called Edutopia from the George Lucas Education Foundation that you could select. Or you might suggest and get approval for a different book. In your paper, please describe the learning principles, ideas, and guidelines embedded in the stories that you chose. How does the story validate or refute the theory? How might it be applied in still other ways? What is missing from the story that you might like to know more about? You might send your learning journey review to the expert who wrote it for potential feedback. If you do, a copy of your email would be worth 2 extra points and any feedback would be worth one more. These will be graded for: (1) appropriate relevant linkages to class concepts; (2) completeness of your review; and (3) coherence and organization (10 points each).


Option B. Learning and Cognition Trends Paper (30 Points)

From your perspective, what trends in learning and cognition theory seem to be particularly important today? Perhaps it is forming learning apprenticeships. Maybe you are interested in active learning or constructivistic teachers and schools. Or, perhaps, creating a better overall learning environment intrigues you most. Well, in this option, you are to explore the literature on a topic of interest. You are to find, filter, and explore articles, conferences, books, professional organizations, research reports, magazines, etc. on this topic. Then tell us what the state of knowledge is in this area and why it is important to you. Where are the open research issues, the apparently important applications, and the upcoming opportunities? How might this particular class soon be impacted by this area? Your 2-3 page single-spaced paper (with appropriate appendices) will be evaluated for (1) exploration and creativity; (2) completeness, coherence, effort, and amount of digging; and (3) relevancy and timeliness for this class.


Option C. Job Application Paper (30 Points)

Here, you are to write a 2-3 page single-spaced paper where you evaluate one or more theories or approaches from the perspective of an educational setting, issue, or problem of importance to you (preferably your current or past job). Since I am your audience, don't take up much space restating the theory. In addition, be sure your paper is about something, instead of a series of unrelated reflections or observations about the theory. Like all good papers, it should have a descriptive title, some kind of thesis statement, and a conclusion. Of course, we also expect it to be well organized and coherent. Since this is not a library research paper, you do not necessarily need to use any resources other than the text and class discussion. These papers will be graded for: (1) demonstration of understanding of the theory; (2) relevant application or critique of the theory in some educational setting or context; and (3) coherence and organization of the paper.


Sample papers: Sample titles include “Behaviorism and coaching,” “Making sense of Bruner’s theory of cognitive development in college instruction,” “A year in a life of a constructivistic math instructor,” and “My grandmother was a situated cognitivist.”


Option D. Personal Learning Theory—Joint Learning Theory (30 Points)

One of the most important goals of this course is for you to form a personal sense of how these learning and instructional theories can be used in your future "educational" practices. During the first week of the course, I might ask you to post a 1-3 paragraph summary of your personal theory of learning in Oncourse. After reading the postings of your peers, you might find one or more people who you have something in common with and create a joint personal theory of learning. Just how does your personal learning theory merge with or relate to someone else’s? If you decide on a collaborative paper, you must turn in a 4-5 page single-spaced paper. If you write an individual paper, it should be 2-3 pages single spaced. Your personal theory of learning should include examples or ideas from your present job and anticipated work environments. It will be graded for: (1) insightful and creative ideas; (2) coherence and organization; and (3) completeness.


To complete this task, you might ask yourself a series of questions about each of the theories. However, since the goal of this task (and this course, by the way) is to construct your own unique understanding of the theories, we cannot dictate all the questions you might ask. But we can suggest some possibilities, such as:


  • What aspects of learning and cognition are addressed by this theory?
  • What are the main processes or mechanisms that are proposed to account for learning, according to this theory?
  • What is the single most important "big idea" from this theory?
  • With what other theories or viewpoints is this theory most compatible?
  • Does this theory or perspective resonate with your own experiences and beliefs?
  • Does this theory seem to be a good match for the kinds of learners you're interested in?
  • What about for the learning tasks you intend to use?


Option E. Case Situations or Problems (30 Points)

Here, you will write 3 case situations or vignettes related to your current or most recent job setting (each will be about one page long single spaced). In these cases, you will point out the situation or problem in 1-2 paragraphs as well as the key questions or issues. Next you will detail the concepts that relate to this class. Finally, you will provide a resolution based on your readings in this class. If anyone shares their cases with co-workers or peers and gets feedback on them, you will get 2 bonus points provided you attach this to your work. Your paper will be graded for (1) sound solution and overall demonstration of understanding of learning and cognition theories; (2) case richness and detail; and (3) coherence and organization of the paper.


Option F. Library Day (30 Points)

Here is your chance to explore your own interests. From your perspective, what trends in learning and cognition theory seem to be particularly important today? Perhaps it is forming learning apprenticeships. Maybe you are interested in active learning or constructivistic teachers and schools. Well, in this option, you are to explore the literature on a topic of interest and then use it in practice. You are to find, filter, and explore articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, professional organization reports, research reports, magazines, etc. on this topic. I want you to spend a day in a physical library or searching the Web online or both and find 15-20 articles related to your area(s) of interest, chapters, or reports and briefly summarize them in a short super summary form which I will provide for you (1 page). In the super summary form, you will note the following: (1) the article citation; (2) topic area, concepts, ideas, etc.; (3) short summary of article; and (4) your article rating. Your library day summaries will be evaluated for: (1) coherence; (2) completeness, effort, and amount of digging; and (3) relevancy and timeliness for this class. No additional paper is required for this assignment.


Option G. Mini Personal Course Glossary

In this option, you will create a 30 word glossary. Each term will have a brief text-book like definition (in your own words) as well as a story or example related to the concept. The story or example should not be more than a few sentences long. Please arrange these in alphabetic order. They might further be sorted by chapter or theory if you so choose. Visuals of any concept are helpful but not required. No additional paper is required.


Option H. Chapter Concept Maps

In this option, you will create 3 concept maps for each of 3 different chapters or learning theories. Your concept maps will each include at least 20 terms including terms that relate to one another. You will have main ideas as macropropositions and details as micropropositions. You are encouraged to use a computer software package for this. Popplet (http://popplet.com/) is a tool that allows you to hyperlink terms and ideas within your concept map. Inspiration (http://www.inspiration.com/), Gliffy http://www.gliffy.com/), and Mindomo (http://www.mindomo.com/) are other such tools. Students can work in pairs on this project. A 2 page single-spaced paper will explain your connections and ideas as well as your learning growth from this assignment.



III. Instructional Design, Connectivism, Technology, and Learning Reflective Writing Task #3 (November 4th or November 18th)

Option A. YouTube Observations and Reflections (30 Points)

I will post a summary sheet of YouTube and other shared online videos to watch each week (see http://curtbonk.com/youtube_videos.htm). You must watch at least 2 of these each week (Note: multiple part videos count as just 1 video in total). We will hold discussions, debates and reflections on these videos in Oncourse. I want everyone to connect terms they see in the online videos to the readings. The first assignment is to take one or more of those videos and write a 2-3 page single spaced paper about the learning experience from such viewing. What terms make more sense now? How are one or more learning theories or concepts better understood from watching these videos? What is still unclear or missing? How might you use YouTube in your present or future teaching and learning situations? Before writing your paper, be sure to read the article by Curt Bonk on using video as a macrocontext for learning (see Oncourse—Week 12 resources). Students can suggest additional YouTube videos to me for a bonus point. For another bonus point you might rate the YouTube videos that I made available this semester.


Option B. Wikibook Learning Theory Chapter Critique(s) and Reflections (30 Points)

In this option, you are to reflect on a chapter of a Wikibook on learning theories. You will write a 2-3 page single spaced review critique (e.g., what did you learn, what are the strengths, and what are the insights of this chapter as well as what seems inaccurate, incomplete, or might help this chapter?). How does the Wikibook chapter relate to the text and lecture in this class? How is it different? Four learning theory-related Wikibooks are listed below. You just need to pick one of these books and only critique one chapter. As an alternative, you could select multiple chapters to critique or look for similar chapters in each book to critique. It is up to you! Finally, how might you use wikis or wikibooks in your present or future teaching?


  1. Dr. Dale Fowler at Indiana Wesleyan, Learning theories: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Learning_Theories
  2. Dr. Dale Fowler at Indiana Wesleyan, Learning theorists: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Learning_Theorists
  3. Michael Orey’s class at the University of Georgia (see the Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology (EPLTT); http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt
  4. Curt Bonk, Indiana University, and Mimi Lee, the University of Houston: The Practice of Learning Theories: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Learning_theories_in_practice


Option C. Reflection Connectivism: Is it a learning theory? (30 Points)

In this option, I want you to read at least a half dozen articles that discuss connectivism. And then decide whether it is a learning theory. If not, what is missing? I want you to reflect on the key underlying principles of connectivism. In addition, discuss how it is similar to at least one other learning theory that we are discussing in this course as well as dissimilar from another learning theory. What makes it a learning theory or not? How might it be applied in schools, universities, or training situations? Finally, should I continue to include it as a topic in P540 in the future? Why or why not? What remains unexplained in terms of connectivism? Please define key terms at the end in an appendix or glossary. Put sure to also insert your references. You are to write a 2-3 page single spaced paper on this.


Option D. Web Resource Portal Explorations and Reflections (30 Points)

In this option, I want you to explore the Web for resources related to this class (e.g., theory information sites, videos, animations, interviews of authors, conference sites, special journal issues online, other related course portals, etc.). I want you to find at least 5 of them and evaluate how they could be used in a class like P540. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How might an instructor use them? How might each one be improved? What is missing?


Option E. Track the Present State of an Instructional Design (ID) Theory (30 Points)

In this option, I want you to track an instructional design (ID) person, model, theory, approach, alternative, or eclectic combination. If the creator of this method or approach is still alive, I want you to write to this person, follow his/her Twitter feed or podcast posts, read his/her articles (at least 3-5 such articles, including any assigned for Week 11), read articles from others on this theory, watch one or more conference presentations from him/her, and perhaps interview others about the ID theory. I want you to dig in deep and summarize the state of their theory today. How does it relate to learning theories in this course? How is being applied in educational settings (e.g., schools, businesses, military training, etc.). Who is applying it? And why? What works and what does not? Is there anything replacing it? You will turn in a report on the state of that theory. You are to write a 2-3 page single spaced paper on this (any appendices and references are in addition to this).


Technology and Learning Paper Grading (30 Total Points or 10 pts each dimension):

1. Critical thinking displayed: sound analysis and evaluation, logical, backs up claims

2. Coherent and complete: logical flow to the critique or review, unity, well organized, sequence

3. Learning displayed: breadth/depth of thought, knowledge growth, understands theories.



IV. Final Assignment Options (Due: December 9th)

Option A. Super Summary (90 Points).

Near the end of the semester, you are to write a 2,500-3,500 word (I will accept up to 3,500 words not counting appendices and references) super summary of what was important in this course, at least in terms of the class discussions. Here you must specifically refer to the comments of at least four cool resource providers or top ten summarizers from four different weeks in the semester. In your paper, you should point out what you learned from the course, how learning theories be used in your own job setting or educational practices, what concepts are important from this class, what would you do differently, and how you can now use course material when you leave this class? In addition, what aspects of learning and cognition are addressed by this theory? What is the single most important "big idea" from this theory? Does this theory or perspective resonate with your own experiences and beliefs? Does this theory seem to be a good match for the kinds of learners you're interested in? How might your learning theory be used in your current job or in an educational setting, issue, or problem of importance to you (preferably your current or past job). At the end, you might also include a glossary of terms learned with personal definitions or examples or something else which creatively demonstrates your learning in this course. The final paper is due December 9th.


Option B. Wikibook Chapter or Extension (90 Points): The Practice of Learning Theories.

Bonk, C. J., & Lee, M.-Y., with Kim N. (2007, fall). The Practice of Learning Theories (The POLT). Wikibooks. Available: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Learning_theories_in_practice


I am a firm believer in learning by doing. This task is one of doing! Here, you are to write a chapter for a book—a wikibook—which is available for free to the whole community. You pick the topic, the title, and the content to include. Anyone in the world with an Internet connection can modify it or extend it. The focus is taking the theory that you have learned in this class and putting it into practice. Seven years ago, Dr. Mimi Lee’s class at the University of Houston and my P540 class in Bloomington built a wikibook on “The Practice of Learning Theories” (The POLT). The focus of The POLT is on implementation, pragmatic use, or realization of a learning theory in the field. In this option, you can significantly modify an existing chapter or write a new one. Just create your own username and password and you are ready to make changes to the POLT. You can write these documents in Word as well as place them in the Wikibook by Tuesday December 9th. In this assignment, you will get something to add to your resumes.


Option C. Track the Present State of a Learning Theory (90 Points)

In this option, I want you to track a theory or theorist. If this person is still alive, I want you to write to this person, follow his/her Twitter feed or podcast posts, read his/her articles (at least 10-12 such articles), read articles from others on this theory, watch one or more conference presentations from him/her, and interview 1-2 others about the theory (e.g., George Siemens or Stephen Downes on Connectivism). I want you to dig in deep and summarize the state of their theory today. You might also analyze how it is being applied in educational settings (e.g., schools, businesses, military training, etc.). Who is applying it? And why? What works and what does not? Is there anything replacing it? You will turn in a report on the state of that theory. Your paper will be a maximum of 4,000 words, excluding appendices, references, interview transcripts, etc.


Grading Criteria for A, B, and C (90 Points; 10 points each):

  1. Insightful/Originality: novel, creative, takes risks, relationships drawn, unique.
  2. Interesting: engaging, unique perspective
  3. Completeness: thorough, detailed, dig deep, effort
  4. Relevance: appropriate, effort, related to class.
  5. Content: learning displayed, connections to class, informative reflection.
  6. Exploratory and Reflective: pushing out, metacognitive, self-confidence.
  7. Critical thinking displayed: sound analysis and evaluation, logical, backs up claims.
  8. Logical Flow and Well Written: easily read, transitions, conclusions, unity, coherence.
  9. Overall Chapter: breadth/depth of thought, knowledge growth, understands theories.


Option D. Create a YouTube Video or Video Blog (Vlog) of Your Personal Learning Theory (90 Points)

Instead of a final paper, chapter, or test, you can post a 5-10 minute video reflection of your personal learning philosophy or approach. In it, you might explain how you are going to use the content of this course. You might address issues such as how learners are viewed from this approach, key principles, concepts, or ideas, what it attempts to explain, the ages or types of learners it is best suited for, and what led you to these beliefs.


Prior Examples:

Anthony Schmidt P540 (personal theory): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3FJyi4Pn_E
Tonya Clark P540 (making connections) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD1awpaSuP0

Dan Halluka (dan 178 singing): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOL7lrGsqnw

Yue (Ma) in Teachingland: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzM1MzE2Njk2.html


The ambitious might create a video for their school, organization, or institution (created by first year teacher at Lorma, Hannah Kimberly Omar):

Lorma International School: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C435Ut-GzA


Grading Criteria for D (90 Points; 10 points each):

  1. Insightfulness into P540 class content: Does he/she understand the course content?
  2. Creativity and originality in style and content of video: Snappy, exciting, cool, etc.?
  3. Effort and commitment to this project: What is the sense of effort in the product?
  4. Design and visual effects: What is the cool and wow factor?
  5. Coherence and logical sequence of the video: Can one understand it?
  6. Completeness: Sufficient coverage of content?
  7. Relevance: Does this relate to P540 content?
  8. Audio: Is any sound used and is it in synch with the visuals?
  9. Overall content quality: The multimedia, depth, interesting, etc.?


Option E. Personal Course Glossary (90 Points)

In this option, you will create minimum 90 word glossary. Each term will have a brief text-book like definition (in your own words) as well as a story or example related to the concept. The story or example should not be more than a few sentences long. Please arrange these in alphabetic order. They might further be sorted by chapter or theory if you so choose. Visuals of any concept are helpful but not required.


Grading: This will be based on terms that are correctly, creatively, and interestingly explained. If you have 90 good ones filled with rich, unique, lively, and accurate examples, you have a good chance of getting doing very well on this assignment. You can submit up to 10 extra terms for a couple of potential bonus points. I will grade according to the following criteria:



Sample Grading Criteria (90 Points; 10 points each):

  1. Coherence and logic,
  2. Easy to follow format and design (engaging),
  3. Comprehensive, effort, digging,
  4. Course linkages and relevance,
  5. Creative and insightful examples,
  6. Interesting, unique, novel examples
  7. Accurate examples,
  8. Overall completeness,
  9. Overall quality.


Option F. Student Choice (90 Points)

Instead of one of the options above, you can create or design something of similar worth as a final product or project for this class. You might help an organization, institution, corporation, or school in your local community using some of the ideas from this class. You must get approval from the instructor prior to commencing on such a project (preferably by mid November). You must turn in any report you have produced for that organization or institution along with a 3-5 page (single spaced) reflection paper on what you have learned from that experience. You must specify at least a dozen principles, concepts, or terms from the course that link to their final project. An appendix of such terms must be included with your paper. Your final project will be graded for:


Sample Grading Criteria (90 Points; 10 points each):

  1. Importance of the project;
  2. Creativity, novelty, and originality;
  3. Effort, involvement, commitment, and helpfulness (for/to client);
  4. Content and design effects;
  5. Coherence and logical sequence;
  6. Completeness of the project;
  7. Course linkages and relevance;
  8. Client satisfaction and project appropriateness;
  9. Overall quality of the project


If possible, please include a note from the client about his or her satisfaction with the product and your overall effort, commitment, and helpfulness. Such projects might involve volunteering in the community or they might be related to a current job or work setting.