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Constructivism And Behaviorism In Designing Online Learning Programs – Theodosis Karageorgakis

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Behaviorism

The basic principle of Behaviorism is that learning is the result of a person’s response to a stimulus. The student does not work independently on the environment but on the contrary, the behavior is controlled by environmental factors, thus not having the control of the learning or the time it takes to achieve it (Technology in Education, n.d).

All the objectives are predetermined, while the student is tasked with absorbing the offered knowledge so that in the final stage it may present desired and predetermined behaviors. The student is individually assessed and controlled if his behaviors and performances can state that he has acquired the new knowledge according to the criteria the teacher has set the right response (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Thus, the teacher is at the center of learning, trying to find ways to elicit the desired behaviors by providing the appropriate stimuli without taking into account the social-cultural context of the learners as well as their needs, ultimately failing to contribute to the acquisition of a higher level of competence or those skills that require deeper processing (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis, 2005).

Constructivism

On the other side, another predominant learning theory is constructivism, which asserts that learning is an active procedure as students enter the process of building knowledge by trying to clarify the events of the world environment (Technology in Education, n.d.).

Constructivists believe that learning only happens when there is active processing of information and so they ask students to create their own motifs by linking new knowledge to those motives. As a result, this enables them to constantly undergo the cultivation of their post-cognitive skills (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis, 2005).

Constructivists do not share the stance of behaviorists who claim that knowledge is independent of the mind and believe that the mind is the internal representation of the outside world. This way they believe that students are forced to construct their own knowledge through personal experiences and real events (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Actions in the constructivist model enhance the ability to solve the problems of those involved and the ability to conduct research and work within a group. At the same time, the educator plays the role of the assistant-supporter of the learning process and his students, encouraging them to formulate their own ideas and conclusions (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Which One Is Better To Use When Designing eLearning Courses?

The creation and the need to adopt a technological approach to the internet learning stems from the theory of constructivism. In an article by Vrasidas, Zebbys, and Petros, Vygotsky’s theories of self-regulating and reflective knowledge express the inseparably linked nature of those theories with new approaches in the field of education (Vrasidas, Zebbys & Petros, 2005).

 As a result, teaching is driven to its peak, as the teacher is now invited to combine both pedagogical approaches and technological applications and new teaching approaches, effectively designing an authentic learning environment where the learners will benefit the most. (Erben, Ban & Casta ~ neda, 2009; Medina & Alvarez, 2014).

Unfortunately, most applications and tools that are available neglect the need for cooperation between the participants focusing solely on individuality. It is crucial for eLearning designers to add meaningful activities that promote communication and teamwork. This is a win-win solution since at the same time the intrinsic motivation of users is increased because of the interest in those activities.

Despite their differences, these 2 learning theories are well suited to the design of online learning today. Although the various technological tools are primarily designed in the context of behaviorist theories, most teachers choose to use a combination of behavioral and constructionist design patterns, perceiving the dynamics of both theories in order to satisfy the educational peculiarities of each student (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

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