I am often renewing my knowledge of teaching and learning theories and discussing these things with others. it’s useful to have common definitions of terms and the following is drawn from a plethora of sources primarily for my own reference;
Active Learning: A teaching and learning approach that “engages students in the process of learning through activities and/or discussion in class, as opposed to passively listening to an expert. It emphasizes higher-order thinking and often involves group work.” (Freeman et.al. 2014) see: Active Learning | Center for Teaching Innovation (cornell.edu)
Affect: is broadly defined as the attitudes, emotions , and values present in an educational environment. The two main types of affect are professional affect and student affect. Professional affect refers to the emotions and values presented by the teacher which are picked up by the student, while student affect refers to the attitudes, interests, and values acquired in the educational environment. While there is the possibility of overlap between student and professional affect, the terms are rarely used interchangeably by educational professionals, with student affect being reserved primarily for use to describe developmental activities present in a school which are not presented by the teacher. see:All About Assessment / Assessing Student Affect (ascd.org)
It is a commonly held opinion that curriculum and emotional literacy should be interwoven. Examples of such curriculum include using English language to increase emotional vocabulary (see affect labeling), and writing about the self and history to discuss emotion in major events such as genocide. This type of curriculum is also known as therapeutic education. According to Ecclestone and Hayes, therapeutic education focuses on the emotional over the intellectual. see: Ecclestone, Kathryn; Hayes (June 2009). “Changing the subject: The educational implications of developing emotional well-being”. Oxford Review of Education. 35 (3): 371–389. doi:10.1080/03054980902934662. S2CID 143312115.
Andragogy: American theory of adult education, distinguishing adult learning from the more common child-based learning (pedagogy). First proposed by educator Malcolm Knowles. see: (Lehrstuhl Andragogik - gemeinsame DoFo (andragogy.net))
Asynchronous Instruction: Asynchronous instruction is the idea that students learn similar material at different times and locations. The term is often associated with online learning where students complete readings, assignments, or activities at their own pace and at their own chosen time. This approach is particularly useful when students are spread across different time zones or may have limited access to technology.
Authentic Assessment: Assessments in which student learners demonstrate learning by applying their knowledge to authentic, complex, real-world tasks or simulations. Proponents of authentic assessment argue that these types of knowledge checks “help students rehearse for the complex ambiguities of the ‘game’ of adult and professional life” Wiggins, 1990, p.1 See:
Backwards Design: A course design process that starts with instructors identifying student learning goals and then designing course content and assessments to help students achieve these goals. Rather than starting with exams or set textbooks backwards design argues that “one starts with the end—the desired results (goals or standards) and then derives the curriculum from the evidence of learning (performances) called for by the standard and the teaching needed to equip students to perform” (Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J., 1998)
Blended or Hybrid Course: Blended or hybrid courses are “classes in which some percentage of seat time has been reduced and replaced with online content and activities” (Darby & Lang 2019, p.xxix). These courses continue to meet in-person for some percentage of the class time but content, activities, assessments, and other ways for students to engage with content are delivered online. It is important to note that these courses are intentionally designed to utilize both in-person and online class time to achieve effective student learning.
Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloom’s Taxonomy is a cognitive framework of learning behaviors organized hierarchically in six categories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. Bloom’s taxonomy is often used as a helpful tool to create learning objectives that help define and measure the learning experience for both student and instructor. (Anderson, 2001, Bloom, 1956, Krathwohl, 2002)
Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs): “An approach designed to help teachers find out what students are learning in the classroom and how well they are learning it. This approach is learner-centered, teacher-directed, mutually beneficial, formative, context-specific, ongoing, and firmly rooted in good practice”. Through using a CAT the instructor is able to gather formative feedback on students learning to inform future teaching. (Angelo & Cross 1993)
Classroom Climate: “The intellectual, social, emotional, and physical environments in which our students learn” (Ambrose et al., 2010, p. 170). Course climate is determined by factors like faculty-student interaction, the tone the instructor sets, course demographics, student-student interactions, and the range of perspectives represented in course content.
Cognition: in psychology, the process by which one recognizes and understands things
Cognitive Load: Cognitive load refers to the demands and limitations on working memory storage given the limited amount of information processing that can occur simultaneously in the verbal and the visual processing channels of the brain. (Mayer & Moreno 2003, Schnotz & Kürschner 2007)
Collaborative Learning: an umbrella term that covers many different methods in which students work together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. Collaborative learning is founded in the concept that learning and knowledge building is social and requires active engagement from students. (Smith & MacGregor 1992)
Comparative Education: Using data from the educational practices and situations from one geographical area to examine the educational practices in another.
Constructivism: A theory of learning popularized in the twentieth century that argues that knowledge is actively constructed rather than passively absorbed by learners. Constructivists contend that when learners acquire new knowledge, it is through a dynamic process in which the learner recreates existing mental models, situating this new information in terms of what they already know. Social constructivists additionally recognize the role of social interaction (co-construction) and communication as key forces in learning. Foundational constructivists include John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, and Jean Piaget. Constructivist pedagogical strategies are grounded in constructivist theory and often include opportunities for experiential learning, active exploration, student interaction, and reflection. Courses designed around this principle emphasize connections among course concepts and themes and support students in forming relationships between this new knowledge and what they already know. See also zone of proximal development and student-centered teaching.
Cooperative Education: The combination of academics and practical work experience via a structured method. Cooperative education — regularly referred to as “co-op” — gives academic credit for paid work; this goes hand in hand with research showing employers highly value work experience in new hires.
Cooperative Learning: A switch from more traditional, curriculum-focused methods of education. Cooperative learning environments support students learning, both as self and within the group.
Critical Pedagogy: The teaching approach which focuses on the practice of achieving critical consciousness by students. Instructors who use the method of critical pedagogy leads students to question oppressive practices in all facets of their lives.
Critical Thinking: The mental processes used when evaluating information that has been put forth as true. Consists of reflection, examination, and formation of judgement. Information is gathered through communication, experience, reasoning and observation. While based in values of intellect, critical thinking goes beyond subject/matter division.
Cultural Learning: The ways information is passed to new generations within a cultural society. The way a culture socializes with its youth greatly influences its learning styles.
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: A pedagogical framework where instructors center students’ cultural identities as an important aspect of learning. Those committed to this framework deliberately work to make connections between course content and students’ lived experiences in order to prompt student involvement and motivation. Culturally responsive course design includes cooperative, student-centered instruction and diverse course readings from a variety of voices and perspectives, particularly those voices which may fall outside of traditional collegiate canons (Landson-Billings 2006).
Experiential Learning: Experiential learning is a process by which students develop knowledge and skills from direct experience, usually outside a traditional academic setting. Examples include: internships, study abroad, community-based learning, service learning, and research opportunities. The concept was introduced by David Kolb in 1984 and combines both a cognitive and behavioral approach to learning (Kolb 1984).
Declarative knowledge: knowledge is often by instructional designers and philosophers divided into two categories: declarative (knowledge about things, knowledge that, for example knowledge about computers) and procedural (skills, knowledge how, for example knowledge how to use a computer)
Discrimination learning theory: a theory of the process by which animals or people learn to respond differently to different stimuli
Distance Education: An educational field focused on the design of systems that most effectively incorporates the pedagogy, technology, and instructional systems for students unable to attend traditional classroom-based education classes. Students and teachers can communicated via electronic media, or through real-time applications. Some distance education courses require in-classroom presence at times; these are called hybrid or blended courses.
Distributed representation: connectionist principle in which meaning is not contained within a single symbolic unit, but is formed by an interaction of a set of units
Doctrine of formal discipline: the belief that subjects like Latin language and mathematics improve learner’s mind in general
Epistemology: “is concerned with the nature, sources and limits of knowledge. Epistemology has been primarily concerned with propositional knowledge, that is, knowledge that such-and-such is true, rather than other forms of knowledge, for example, knowledge how to such-and-such.”
Experiential Education: Better known as learning by doing or hands-on learning, experiential education is the process of engaging students actively in an experience with benefits and consequences in an authentic manner. Students discover and experiment in a hands-on environment, allowing them to gather the knowledge personally rather than simply through hearing or reading the experiences of others. Experiential education allows students to develop new attitudes and skills by reflecting on their experiences afterward, which can facilitate new theories and ways of thinking about problems. The process of experimental education highly relates to constructivist learning theory.
Fixed Mindset: Mindset refers to the beliefs and attitudes held by a person and can affect their learning outcomes and achievement. Individuals with a fixed mindset (also referred to as entity theory) are outcomes-focused, don’t view intellectual ability as being malleable, and give up quickly on learning a new skill when learning becomes more challenging and difficult (Dweck, 2008, Dweck & Master 2008, Rattan et. Al. 2012, Yeager 2012). See also growth mindset.
Flipped Classroom: A flipped classroom is a teaching approach where students a first exposed to content before coming to a class session and then spend class time engaging more deeply with the ideas and concepts (Brame, 2013). This model encourages the use of active learning during in-person class sessions to allow students to explore concepts, solve problems, and discuss ideas with each other and the instructor.
Formative Assessment: Formative assessment is the process of providing feedback to students during the learning process. These are often low stakes activities that allow the instructor to check student work and provide feedback. An instructor writing comments and suggestions on a draft version of a paper is an example of formative assessment (Weimer 2013).
Growth Mindset: Mindset refers to the beliefs and attitudes held by a person and can affect their learning outcomes and achievement. Individuals with a growth mindset (also referred to as incremental theory) are process-focused, assess their performance relative to mastery of the material, and believe that intellectual ability is malleable. Having a growth mindset involves sustained effort toward learning new knowledge and reflection on past failures so that one can increase their knowledge and ability (Dweck, 2008, Dweck & Master 2008, Rattan et. Al. 2012, Yeager 2012). See also fixed mindset.
Hawthorne effect: “an increase in worker productivity produced by the psychological stimulus of being singled out and made to feel important” (for example for the fact that one is being studied) See: Hawthorne Effect (nwlink.com)
Hidden Curriculum: The hidden curriculum is a collection of unwritten norms, values, rules, and expectations that one must have awareness of in order to successfully navigate educational settings, but which remain unknown to those who have not been socialized into the dominant discourse (Smith, 2015, p.9). The hidden curriculum includes an understanding of school structures,resources, financial aid systems, and institutional rules, along with an awareness of cultural expectations for participating in class and communicating with peers and instructors. See also social belonging and transparent assignments.
Inclusive Teaching: a mode of teaching that intentionally designs course content and curricula to engage with students of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and lived experiences. The ultimate goal of inclusive teaching is to create a learning environment where all students feel valued and supported to succeed.
Individualized Instruction: The instructional method where instructional materials, media, content and learning pace are solely based on the individual learner’s interests and abilities.
Inquiry-Based Learning: Inquiry-based learning is an umbrella term that includes pedagogical strategies such as problem-based learning and case-based learning that prioritize students exploring, thinking, asking, and answering content questions with peers to acquire new knowledge through a carefully designed activity. Such activities build in opportunities for students to authentically engage in and apply the scientific process as scientists rather than following a predetermined protocol (LaForce et.al., 2017, Yew & Goh 2016). See also problem-based learning, project-based learning.
Insightful learning: learning that results in perceiving the solution to a problem after a period of cognitive trial and error - the learner is required to have all elements of the problem available in order to be able to learn by insight
Instructional Design: Also referred to as instructional systems design, instructional design is an analytic process of developing instruction and analyzing learning needs. Designers frequently use instructional technology to develop instruction. Design models usually require a specific method that, when followed, transfer skills, attitude, and knowledge to students.
Instructional Leadership: The behaviors and actions of individuals or groups within the educational field, characterized by skill and knowledge in curriculum and instructional methodology. This includes resources to meet a school’s mission, one-on-one communication, communication in both small and large groups, and an established clear, articulated vision for the institution. The vision, and decisions based on it, are best made by a process of collaboration that is inclusive of many different stakeholders. Leaders are also expected to promote leadership behavior and collegiality between other institutional members.
Instructional Technology: Created as a response to labor shortage problems in the United States during WWII. The need of skilled labor workers to fill factories was a definite need, and instructional technology created a manner of training workers efficiently.
Instructional Theory: The theoretical discipline that focuses on structuring material to promote human education, primarily juveniles. Created in the late 1970s in the United States, the theory is usually categorized in two ways: cognitive and behaviorist. It was spawned from Benjamin Bloom’s 1956 work on the Taxonomy of Education Objectives at the University of Chicago.
Integrative Learning: The theory that describes movement to integration of lessons that will assist students in cross-curricula connections. It is a concept in higher education, and is different from the “integrated curriculum” movement in elementary and secondary schools.
Knowledge Representation (KR): Used most often to refer to representations of explicit objects intended for computer processing.
Knowledge Transfer: The practical problem of moving knowledge from one area of an organization to another, primarily in organizational learning and development fields. Considered more than a problem with communications.
Knowledge Visualization: A sub disciplinary section of information design and instructional message design with the aim of improving knowledge transfer through use of computer and non-computer-based visual formats. Some formats included are sketches and art, diagrams and informational graphics, photographs and physical objects, animations, visualization, and stories.
Learning by Teaching (LdL): The designation of a method that allows students to prepare and teach their peers in professional education. From the German “Lernen durch Lehren” or LdL. This method should not be confused by student presentation or lectures. In learning by teaching, students do more than just convey specific content, they choose the methodology and approach to teach their classmates the specific subject matter.
Learning Objective/Learning Goal/Learning Outcome: statements that articulate the knowledge and skills you want students to acquire by the end of the course or after completing a particular unit or assignment. Learning objectives help instructors to shape course content and assessments as well as increase transparency for students by clearly communicating expectations.
Lifelong Learning: A philosophy that is summed by the concept believing that it is “never too soon or too late for learning.” The concept seeks to provide people with opportunities for learning throughout life and in various context, whether it be in school, at work, or through recreational activity.
Lifelong Education: Pedagogical form frequently attained through e-learning, continuing education, and correspondence courses. It can also include postgraduate programs for improving skill sets and work retraining. It shares similar goals with internal training at corporations.
Mastery Learning: The instructional method that holds the presumption all children are capable of learning, provided they have the appropriate conditions. It is a method in which students that have not advanced to a particular objective will stay in place until they can demonstrate the proficiency to move on.
Mentoring: The relationship between a mentor and a less-experienced partner, usually paired by sex.
Methodology: Defined strictly as a study and knowledge of methods. Frequently used to indicate a particular single or set of methods. More widely defined as the study of problem-solving and answer-seeking techniques, rather than the study of the technique itself.
Mind Map: The diagramming of words and ideas in how they link to a central point. Used to classify, generate, structure and visualize ideas, in addition to aiding in studying, problem solving, and making decisions.
Metacognition: Metacognition involves metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation. Metacognitive knowledge is defined as thinking or having an awareness of one’s cognitive processes. Metacognitive regulation is the active monitoring of one’s cognition through planning (identifying appropriate learning strategies), monitoring (forming an awareness of one’s task performance) and evaluating (assessing and refining one’s learning through reflection) (Lai, 2011, Tanner, 2012).
Motivation: An individual’s “personal investment” in reaching a desired state or outcome as “seen in the direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of what is done and expressed” (Maeher, M.L. & Meyer, H.A., 1997, p. 373). Research suggests that motivation plays a vital role in directing and sustaining student learning. The most motivated students see value in the task, believe that they can accomplish the task, and feel that they are in a supportive environment (Ambrose et al, 2010, p. 80).
Object-Based Learning (OBL): Object-based learning (OBL) is a teaching method whereby students engage with authentic or replica material objects in their learning in order to gain discipline-specific knowledge or to practice observational or practical skills that can be applied in various fields. “Objects” can include a number of different material items often housed in museums: specimens, works of art, architectural forms, relics, manuscripts and rare books, archival documents, or artifacts of various kinds. Research on OBL suggests that “objects can inspire, inform, fascinate and motivate learners at all stages of their education” (Jamieson, 2017, p. 12).
Observational Learning (aka social learning): The learning that occurs by observing and replicating behavior seen in others. Most often associated with Albert Bandura’s psychological works. Considered important in childhood development, especially in relation to introducing the importance of authority
Open Problem: A formally stated problem in which the known solution has yet to be discovered. Commonly used in graduate education.
Outcome-Based Education (OBE): A form of education that focuses primarily on measuring a student’s end performance. OBE does not require a specific form or method of teaching, only that the student learns and retains the information taught at the end.
Outdoor Education (aka adventure education): Commonly refers to organized learning experiences that occur outdoors, often involving residential or journey based experiences where students can participate in different challenges including group games, hiking, and canoeing. Uses the theories and philosophies put forth in experiental education.
Over Learning: The concept that newly acquired skills should be used beyond mastery to the point where they are automatic.
Pedagogy: Pedagogy is the method, practice and study of effective teaching. In order to be effective, instructors must have both subject-based knowledge and pedagogic knowledge and skills (Barkley & Major, 2016).
Problem Finding: Discovery of problems. Part of the process that also includes problem shaping and solving. Requires insight and intellectual vision, involving creativity application, into finding the missing piece.
Problem Shaping: Revisiting and revising questions to begin or continue the process of solution. Part of a larger process including problem finding and solving. Often involves critical thinking applications.
Problem Solving: A part of thinking, problem solving happens when a system can not proceed from one state to its desired goal. Part of the process that included problem finding and shaping.
Problem-Based Learning: A form of student-centered teaching that focuses on having students work through open-ended problems to explore course material. Students are asked to define the problem as part of the process, research content outside of class time and iterate solutions to arrive at their final response (Nilson, L.B., 2016)
Procedural knowledge: knowledge on how to do something This differs from other forms of knowledge as it can apply to a task directly, rather than propositional knowledge in problem solving.
Project-Based Learning: A form of student-centered teaching that engages students with course content as they work through a complex project. These projects are typically real-world scenarios and multifaceted. Project-based learning encourages interdisciplinary conversations and groups work.
Retrieval Practice: Retrieval practice involves retrieving new knowledge from memory in order for durable retention in long-term memory. The process is supported by experiments which explore student’s recall of new material. Retrieval practice can take the form of frequent, low-stakes quizzes, or students may employ methods like flashcards for self-testing (Brown et.al. 2014, retrievalpractice.org).
Scaffolding: A process by which instructors build on a student’s previous experience or knowledge by adding in specific timely support structures in the form of activities or assignments for students to master new knowledge or skills and achieve learning goals (Greening, 1998, Hmelo-Silver et.al. 2007). See also Zone of Proximal Development.
Schema: a mental framework humans use to represent and organize remembered information - they enable us to recall, modify our behavior, or try to predict most likely outcomes of events
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL): an approach to college-level teaching that frames teaching as a form of scholarly inquiry. Through engaging in SoTL instructors examine their students’ learning to innovate and engage in knowledge-sharing with colleagues (Huber 2013). Instructors who engage in SoTL as part of their teaching are encouraged to reflect on personal assumptions and curiosities about how their students learn. Then consider how to test the validity of these ideas. Examples of SoTL projects include exploring the impact of implementing a single active learning strategy, considering the impact of reflection on student learning, determining the impact of a complete course restructure (Poole 2018).
Self-Efficacy: A belief system that sees individuals as having the capability execute a course or courses of action that is necessary to manage potential situations. Differs from efficacy in the belief that it is the individual that has the power to produce an effect.
Service Learning: The method of combining academic curriculum with meaningful community service. Specifically, service learning integrates instruction and reflection with meaningful community service to teach civic responsibility, facilitate lifelong civic engagement, and enrich learning experience, in addition to strengthening communities in which service learning occurs.
Situated Learning: The process of education occurring in a setting that is functionally identical to where it will be applied.
Social Belonging: Social belonging is a state when students feel welcomed and included into a community where they can engage freely and foster positive relationships with others (Walton & Cohen, 2011).
Summative Assessment: Summative assessment is the process of measuring a student’s learning at the conclusion of a course (or a portion of the course). Summative assessments are typically associated with grades and can take the form of quizzes, exams or papers.
Stereotype Threat: Stereotypes are negative generalizations about groups of people. When students are subtly or overtly made aware (primed) of these stereotypes while performing challenging academic tasks in domains that are important to them, students begin to underperform in these tasks. Anxiety about confirming a negative stereotype creates additional cognitive load that reduces the capacity of working memory in the brain (Aronson et.al. 1999, Steele & Aronson 1995).
Structuralism: a theory founded by Edward Titchener in the end of 19th/beginning of 20th century focused on breaking down mental processes into simple elements
Student-centered teaching: Instructor-center teaching refers to instructors teaching content solely through a passive approach such as lecturing while students listen and take notes with minimal interaction with other students. Student-centered teaching, however, consists of instructors using a wide range of pedagogical approaches for students to learn and actively engage with the course content by having students construct knowledge with peers through collaboration, discussion, group projects, and problem solving (Felder & Brent 1996, Freeman et.al. 2007, Handelsman et.al. 2007). See also inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, constructivism, zone of proximal development.
Student Engagement: Student engagement describes the ways in which students take part in the learning process and the development of their own knowledge. An increase in student engagement is thought to be linked to an increase in student learning. Student engagement is often tied to active learning techniques and student motivation (McVitty 2015).
Synchronous instruction: Synchronous instruction is the idea that students learn material at the same time. Examples of synchronous instruction might include lectures, discussions or collaborative activities. When applied to remote learning, students must be online at the same time. This approach can be disadvantageous if students are spread across different time zones or have limited access to technology.
Teaching Development Plan (TDP): a written document that helps instructors focus on teaching specific career goals. A TDP encourages instructors to set goals, and periodically reflect on both progress and barriers faced while working towards these goals.
Technology Education: The study of the creation and use of tools by humans, and the ability to create and use these tools to shape their environment to fit their needs, the goal of which is spreading technological literacy.Frequently, this term is shortened to tech ed.
Technology Integration: The term used to describe the effective different uses by teachers and students in classrooms of all levels. Technology can be used to support instruction in various fields including math and language arts. This empowers students to actively engage learning.
Threshold Concept: Thresholds are crucial barriers in the learning process where students often get “stuck”. These ideas are essential to understanding a particular discipline and progress in the discipline can be blocked until that barrier to understanding has been overcome. Examples of discipline-based threshold concepts include deep time in geology or the idea of constructed narrative in history (Meyer & Land 2006, Pace 2017).
Transfer: A cognitive process by which a learner takes what they’ve learned in one context and successfully applies it to another. Transfer is often broken down into “near transfer” (transfer of knowledge to a similar task or context) and “far transfer” (transfer of knowledge to novel tasks or contexts). Given that a central purpose of education is for students to take what they have learned into other classes and then into their lives beyond school, this has long been a critical area of study in educational and educational psychology research (Perkins & Salomon 2012).
Transparent Assignment Design: An inclusive teaching practice first proposed by Mary-Ann Winkelmes and her instructional development and research team at UNLV, transparent assignments help students understand the purpose of the assessment, clearly describe the task and how it should be accomplished, and plainly define criteria for success. Assignment transparency has been shown to significantly boost student success in terms of academic confidence, sense of belonging, and metacognitive awareness of skill development (Winkelmes et al. 2016). See also social belonging and hidden curriculum.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Universal Design for Learning is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. Designing a course according to UDL principles is centered on the key concepts of: engagement, representation, and action & expression. These are sometimes summarized as the Why, What and How of learning (Murawski & Scott 2019, Tobin 2018, CAST.org).
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): This developmental zone stands between what the learner can already do on their own and what they cannot yet do. It is the range in which a learner is able to move from point A to point B with assistance from peers or an instructor; in other words, the zone in which learning takes place. The concept was originally described in the work of Soviet psychologist and social constructivist, Lev Vygotsky (Vygotsky 1978). See also constructivism and scaffolding.