Socio-cultural theories

Does learning happen within the head of an individual, or is it mediated, situated and distributed?

Learning is mediated, situated and distributed from a range of interactions and processes that include a range of learning theories as table 1 illustrated in the Conole et al 2004 paper, p19 (see below).

To test this theory, my learning on this course is mediated by reading the course material, collaborating in the forums, engaging in dialogue, undertaking the activities, comparing my findings with the course group.

It’s situated by always being there online 24/7, and my laptop interfaces with the course site no matter where I am. I use Google docs to backup my work, so I live with the knowledge that’s it’s safe no matter what (I accidently trashed all my work on my last course and had to but special software to retrieve it… lesson learnt).

In terms of distributed, I see this as a shared concept whereby peer learning takes place alongside the wider network of resources such as online databases, journals, conference papers, websites and all the rest of the resources to hand.

What does a test or exam measure?

Depending on the context of this question, but assuming it refers to a student’s exam or test, it measures the amount of knowledge the students has accumulated about the subject, process or theory. This process of testing cannot always be accurate as under stressful conditions students may well forget certain things and only remember afterwards. Living in Kent, we still have the 11+ and perhaps this demonstrates that testing based purely on recall does not a) suit everyone or b) entirely fair.

Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design – Summarised version of key learning theories and models, their characteristics, and how they might be realised in the context of e-learning Theories

acting, thinking, feeling association, reinforcement, trial and error

human development, communication, explanation, recombination, contrast, inference and problem solving

self-directed learning through interaction with an environment, construction of conceptual structures through engagement

teacher becomes facilitator, learner engages in discovery through action via collaboration and interaction

Socially situated learning:
social interactions, social participation, learning by observation, interpersonal relationships involving imitation and modelling

Experience as foundation for learning, transformation of experience into knowledge, skill, attitudes, values emotions, reflection, problem base learning

Conole et al 2004 paper, p19
G. Conole a,*, M. Dyke a, M. Oliver b, J. Seale a