Learning TheoryIf you’ve ever been confused by the many different learning theories that surround us, you might find this map of interest.  It has been created by participants in the EU-funded HoTEL project.  (HOlistic approach to Technology Enhanced Learning) is a support action of the 7th Framework Programme which aims to design, develop and test a support model for innovation in the area of Technology Enhanced Learning.  The project report notes:

“Learning theory has been a contested scientific field for most of its history, with conflicting contributions from many scientific disciplines, practice and policy positions. With the continuing and disruptive influence of technology on information, knowledge and practice in all sectors of society it is no wonder that innovators, drawn to the interactive potential that computers bring to learning, are challenged by the theoretical basis for their innovations.  Formal education is also a high stakes, culturally & institutionally conservative activity, which serves more than one societal purpose, including:

  • learner development and fulfilment;
  • child care;
  • preparation for citizenship, parenthood and retirement;
  • preparation for work;
  • selection for jobs.

Even in the higher, informal and professional sectors of education, complexity of education is matched by complexity of learning outcomes which may include:

  • skills development;
  • knowledge acquisition;
  • improvement in strategic, analytic and creative capacities;
  • attainment of competence;
  • establishment of attitudes and values.

Each of these societal purposes and these learning outcomes demand different approaches and understandings for the theorist and may develop at varying rates or found to be diverse in relation to context, location and culture.”

A chance then, finally, to de-confuse Bruner, Kolb, Millwood, Skinner and Hargreaves.  There’s more information in Richard Millwood blog.  Thanks to the excellent ESE Network for drawing this to our attention.