Teaching and learning is a process that includes many variables. These variables interact as learners work toward their goals and incorporate new knowledge, behaviors, and skills that add to their range of learning experiences.
Over the past century, various perspectives on learning have emerged, among them — behaviorist (response to external stimuli); cognitivist (learning as a mental operation); and constructivist (knowledge as a constructed element resulting from the learning process). Rather than considering these theories separately, it is best to think of them together as a range of possibilities that can be integrated into the learning experience. During the integration process, it is also important to consider a number of other factors — cognitive style, learning style, the multiple nature of our intelligences, and learning as it relates to those who have special needs and are from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Consideration of these factors and the ways in which they interact provide an organic view of the teaching-learning process that is often called a “systems approach”. This approach also provides a way of looking at ourselves, the environments in which we teach, and the environments around us. Using this perspective, we can better examine the process and better design the process itself.
Technology has long been used as a support for learning, for example, the use of radio, film, film strips, and overheads. During the past several decades, however, the advancement of technology has led to comprehensive meeting and teaching via more advanced technologies like audioconferencing, videoconferencing, webconferencing and online learning management systems (LMS). These new technologies are rapidly changing the face of education. In this changed educational environment it is essential to develop design principles and a process that will lead to effective educational experiences. These effective practices should include — 1) access, 2) learning effectiveness, 3) faculty satisfaction, 4) learner satisfaction, and 5) cost-effectiveness. (Sloan-C Five Pillars of Quality).
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Sloan C Five Pillars of Quality (requires Adobe Reader)
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Last Updated: May 2005