Fall 2007: Syllabus P540 Learning and Cognition in Education

Section 22395, Tuesday 7 :00-9 :45 pm, Room 2275


Instructor: Dr. Curt Bonk



Curtis J. Bonk, Ph.D., CPA

Office: 2238 W. W. Wright Education Bldg.

Phone: 856-8353 (W); E-mail: CJBonk@indiana.edu

Office Hours: Thursdays  2:30-3:30 & as arranged

Homepage: http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/

Instructional Assistant:

Nari Kim, Instructional Assistant, IST Doctoral Candidate, narkim@indiana.edu


Course Description:

In this course, we will look at several different theoretical perspectives on learning, cognition, and cognitive development. As we will see, no single theory can account for all aspects of human learning and cognition. By looking at a variety of theories, we can identify a range of principles, perspectives, and tools that may be useful in understanding learning and teaching in a variety of contexts.  Keep in mind that this course is essentially a survey of learning, cognitive, and related theories. While this means that there is a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short period of time, there are opportunities for you to delve deeper into personal areas of interest.  This semester the main will be the development of a Wikibook with students in Dr. Mimi Lee’s class at the University of Houston on practical applications of learning theories.  To prepare for this task, we will also critique and add to existing Wikibooks in the field.  Her class starts and ends a week before our class, so we will try to catch up.


Primary Course Goals

1. To become conversant with basic assumptions, concepts, and principles of each theory.

2. To grasp possible implications of each theory for different instructional settings.

3. To compare and contrast a range of theories in a variety of settings and age groups.

4. To create, revise, and begin to use your own personal theory of learning.

5. To reflect on how learning theories impact on every aspect of your life.


Learning Approach

Dr. Lee and I believe that learning is a social, active, and reflective process.  As such, the learning activities will include reading, writing, reflecting, and participating in group assignments.  While some of our assignments are designed as individual reflection activities, many other are group activities.  In addition, we want you to be engaged in hands-on and authentic learning tasks.  Thus, the tasks selected here will allow for your active experimentation with learning theories in everyday life.  Please take advantage of the cross-institutional collaborations in this class as you can learn something from your peers at another institution!


Course Books and Resources:

The 3 optional books for this course.


Recommended for teachers and teacher educators:

Phillips, D. C., & Soltis, J. F. (2004). Perspectives on learning, 4th Edition. New York: Teachers College Press.


New Amazon: $15.46; used $9.50; ($14.26 new at Half.com)


Recommended for IST or Ed Psych majors who must take qualifying exams in this area:

Driscoll, M. (2005). Psychology of Learning for Instruction, 3rd Edition. New York: Allyn & Bacon.


Note: the following book, it is a fine substitute for Driscoll:

Gredler, M. E. (2005). Learning and Instruction: Theory into Practice, 5th Edition.


New Amazon: $75.80; used $32.99; ($65.80 at Half.com)


Optional Text: This book is highly recommended but not required (see course requirements before purchasing this book; you can buy this cheaply on Amazon or Half.com as a used book!).


Goldsmith, M., Kaye, B., & Shelton, K. (2000). Learning journeys: Top management experts share hard-earned lessons on becoming mentors and leaders.  Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.


New Amazon: $20.48; used $2.79; ($1.25 at Half.com)


The first two books can be obtained from the IU (812-855-9628) and TIS Bookstores (1-800-238-1229); the third one you can purchase very cheaply online such as at Amazon.com.


Existing P540 Resources:

Dr. Joyce Alexander who has kindly placed her P540 lecture notes and resources on the Web. Modules: http://www.indiana.edu/~p540alex/Summer2003/units.html

Resources: http://www.indiana.edu/~p540alex/Summer2003/resources.html.  When in doubt about any theory or theorist in this class, Greg Kearsley’s “Theory Into Practice” (TIP) Database is usually useful, http://tip.psychology.org/ (contains 50 major theories of learning and instruction).


Available Bonk Videostreams and Podcasts:

I have videostreamed some chapter lectures and talks to the Web and have also posted several informal podcasts talks.  These can be found at http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/streamed.html (scroll to bottom of page; these are also linked off my homepage).


Proposed Course Activities and Schedule


Learner-oriented Activity

Week 1


(Aug 24th)


Phillips & Soltis: Chapter 1: Introduction (or)

Driscoll Ch 1 Intro to Theories of Learning and Instruction

Cunningham Article: May You Teach in Interesting Times (Oncourse)


Review: Dr. Joyce Alexander: Approaches to the Study of Learning: ttp://www.indiana.edu/~p540alex/Summer2003/unit1.html

Week 2


(Aug 28th)


Phillips & Soltis: Ch 2 Classical Theories and Ch 3: Behaviorism (or)

Driscoll Ch 2: Radical Behaviorism

Gredler Chapter on Skinner (Posted to Oncourse)

Week 3

Social Learning Theory

(Sept 4th)


Driscoll: Ch 9: Self-efficacy beliefs, pages 316-323 (if you have the 3rd edition); pages 310-316 (if you have the 2nd edition)



Explore some of the Web links related to Albert Bandura:

1. http://fates.cns.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/bandura.htm

2. http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/Bandura/Index.html

3. http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Bandura/bobo.htm (Bobo doll experiment)

Week 4

Cognitive Information Processing

(Sept 11th)


Driscoll Ch 3: Cognitive Information Processing


Review: How People Learn (2 parts):

  1. Brain, Mind, Experience, & School: http://books.nap.edu/html/howpeople1/  (also quick skim at) http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6160)
  2. Bridging Research & Practice: http://books.nap.edu/html/howpeople2/ (quick skim at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9457)

Week 5

Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning

(Sept 18th)


Driscoll: Chapter 9 Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning

Paul Chance vs. Alfie Kohn debate (posted to Oncourse)


Review: Motivation: http://teaching.berkeley.edu/bgd/motivate.html


Due Sept 18th: Wikibook Chapter Critiques and Edits

Week 6

Meaningful Learning & Schema Theory

(Sept 25th)


Phillips & Soltis: Chapter 8 The Cognitive Science Approach  (or)

Driscoll: Chapter 4 Meaningful Learning and Schema Theory


Week 7

Cognitivism and Piaget

(Oct 2nd)


Phillips & Soltis: Ch 5 Piaget Structures & Psych Constructivism  (or)

Driscoll: Chapter 6 Cognitive and Knowledge Development (Piaget)


Review: http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/ (Dr. Plucker’s intelligence site)


Week 8

Open Exploration Week

(Oct 9th)

Read: Library Day/Week


Due October 9th: Wikibook Topic Selection and Library Day 1-2 page reviews

Week 9

Contructivism and Situated Learning

(Oct 16th)


Phillips & Soltis: Ch 6 Social Aspects of Learning (or)

Driscoll: Chapter 5 Situation Cognition


Review: http://psych.hanover.edu/vygotsky/bacalar.html  

Week 10


(Oct  23rd)


Phillips & Soltis: Ch 7 Cog Structures & Disciplinary Structures (or)

Driscoll: Chapter 11 Constructivism

Week 11


(Oct 30th)

Read: Chapter 10 Gagne’s Theory of Instruction


Week 12

Instructional Design

(Nov 6th)

Read: Articles assigned from David Merrill on ID (see Oncourse)


Review (see page 2 of list): A Task-Centered Instructional Strategy, David Merrill, Florida State Univ., April 6, 2007 (1 hour 12 minutes) http://mediasite.oddl.fsu.edu/mediasite/Catalog/Front.aspx?cid=faec6088-49ee-4d37-967d-6d09bb49ca25


Due Nov 6th: Drafts of Wikibook chapters

Week 13

Personal Theory

(Nov 13th)


Phillips & Soltis: Ch 9 Arguments and Issues (or)

Driscoll: Ch 12 Toward a Personal Theory of Learning and Instruction


Due Nov 13th: Peer Critiques of Wikibook chapters

Week 14


(Nov 20th)

Read: Wikibook Week—read your wikibook!


Due Nov 20th: Final Drafts Wikibook chapters

Week 15


(Nov 27th)

Present Wikibook Chapters and Awards Ceremony


Due Nov 27th: Final Reflection Papers


Course Policies:

Lateness, Incompletes, Plagiarism, Paper Submission Policies.  I am flexible.  You can turn in any paper late (you have 1 free cushion day (24 hours) on any paper).  However, on the 2nd day late you will lose 5% and you lose 5 percent for every day beyond that.  A grade of "I" will be given for medical emergencies or extreme unforeseen emergencies only.  All other policies and regulations (e.g., regarding "academic honesty and plagiarism") as stated in the Graduate Bulletin apply in this course (this is a required note in any IU syllabus).  You can submit your papers via email (cjbonk@indiana.edu), fax (812-339-1254), or in person.  I always respond to email within 48 hours; more likely, within an hour or 2 or quicker.


Course Points. There are 300 points in this course, as follows:

  • 40 points= Class discussions participation, Cool Resource Finder and Moderator
  • 260 points = Wikibook Online Work

Preliminary Work = 60 points (Critique + Peer Feedback + Wikibook edit)

Middle Work = 60 points (Final Topic Selection + Library Day + Peer Feedback)

Ending Work = 140 points (Wikibook chapters + Peer Fdbk + Reflection Papers)

  • Extra Credit Option: Learning Journeys Book Reflection Paper


Course Grading: I reserve the right for a quiz or test at some point during the semester which will increase the point total here.  I will use 90-80-70-60 scale.

300 pts or more = A+; 280 pts = A; 270 = A-; 260 = B+; 250 = B; 240 = B-;

230 = C+; 220 = C; 210 = C-


Course Requirements and Assessments


I. Class Discussion, Cool Resources, and Discussion Moderating (40 points).

A1. Cool Resource Provider and Interactive Discussion Moderator (25 Points).  We will typically cover a chapter or unit each week.  On Tuesdays, I will lectures and on Thursdays, we will have student presentations and discussions.  Each Thursday we will have one or more “Cool Resource Providers” and “Interactive Discussion Leader/Moderators.”  The Cool Resource Provider will explore the Web resources for the course, for the week, and beyond the course and present them to the class.  This might include online psychology tests, simulations, animations, models, videos, or audio clips, etc. as well as paper-based information.  A corresponding handout is helpful but not required.  The presentation will take 5-6 minutes followed by question and answers from the class.  You will likely be a resource finder once during the semester.  This person will also be asked to help moderate discussion for the week by introducing and briefly summarizing key points of the chapter. You will also provide 3-6 starter questions and pose 2-3 controversial issues.  This is a mastery assignment—you get full credit if done well.


A2.  Participation in Discussion (15 Points):

There are 15 points allocated to participating in weekly discussions.  14-15 for high participators; 12-13 for medium participators; 10-11 for low participators; and 0-9 for others.




II. Wikibook Task:


Wikibook Online Work (WOW) (260 total points—Due in October and November)

In this class, we will create a Wikibook related to practical applications of Learning Theories.  Students from the University of Houston (Dr. Mimi Lee’s class) and Indiana University (Dr. Curt Bonk’s class) will collaborate in the creation of it.  We will use a password protected site in Wikispaces to develop the book and students decide at the end of the semester which ones will appear at the Wikibook Website (the instructors, however, must feel that the paper is of high enough quality).  Chapters will be a minimum of 2,000 words without references.


Dr. Seung-hee Lee, at Indiana University, and Dr. Grace Lin at the University of Houston, will select up to 12 outstanding performance awards at the end of the semester.  There will be 6 categories with 1-2 awards per category (Most Practical, Most Complete, Most Interesting, Most Creative, Most Inspiring, and Most Media Rich).  A chapter can win an award in more than one category.  All students who complete their chapters will receive some type of honorary mention awards.  The selected chapters will be noted at the Wikispaces site as a “Wikibook Outstanding Work” (WOW).  WOW Chapter authors will receive “Oscar” awards for their outstanding performances (short acceptance speeches will be optional).  All participants who complete their chapters will receive some type of recognition that night.  A videoconference will be arranged on Tuesday night December 4th for the awards ceremony between the University of Houston and Indiana University.  At the start, each student will present a three-four minute (maximum) summary of his or her chapter prior to the award ceremony.  More details are below.


Note: Nari Kim will help conduct a research study related to student Wikibook Online Work (WOW) participation, so please try to WOW her and everyone else!  Participation in this research (such as interviews, surveys, or focus groups) is optional.


A. Preliminary Work (Due Sept 18th; 60 points: 50 for critiques and 10 for critical friend feedback on critiques): Students are assigned a critical friend for the class (preferably someone from the other institution).  To get a feel for a Wikibook on learning theories, students are asked to sign up for one of 32 chapters on learning theories at Michael Orey’s class at the University of Georgia (see the Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology (EPLTT); http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt).  They write 2 page single spaced review critiques (e.g., what did they learn, what are the strengths, and what are the insights of this chapter as well as what seems inaccurate, incomplete, or might help this chapter).  Nari Kim will provide a handout for these critiques.  The critiques will be both sent the instructors as well as to their critical friend.  Nari Kim will collect the critiques and post them to Wikispaces as a class book of mini-critiques (and send them to Dr. Orey).  Critical friends will give feedback within one week of receipt by completing a form that Nari will create.


In addition, to get a feel for a Wiki, we have students edit or add to the existing Wikibook on learning theories  (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Learning_Theories) or learning theorists (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Learning_Theorists) from Dr. Dale Fowler at Indiana Wesleyan (do to in class).  This is a minimum of a 3 sentence or 50 word post.  You will get a job aid for this (no points for this assigned—perhaps a couple of bonus points).  Students will attach a printout of their highlighted Wiki edits to hardcopies of critique papers which they turn in to their instructor.  (Critiques and preliminary Wiki practice edits are due by September 18th).


Critique Grading (50 Total Points or 10 pts each dimension):

1. Critical thinking displayed: sound analysis and evaluation, logical, backs up claims

2. Insightful/Original: rich and novel ideas, unique, creative, takes risks with comments

3. Coherent and logical flow to the critique or review, unity, well organized, sequence

4. Complete and thorough review with some depth and elaboration of pts, great effort

5. Learning displayed: breadth/depth of thought, knowledge growth, understands theories.


B. Middle Work (60 points)

Topic Selection (20 points): Students then submit to us (and their critical friend) a 1-3 paragraph (1 page maximum--single spaced) chapter proposal for a book called “The Practice of Learning Theories” (“The POLT”).  Collaborative chapters are an option if students work across the two institutions.  In that one page, students describe the chapter purpose, goals, and scope (Due by Tuesday October 9th).   Once approved, students receive an automatic 10 points plus 10 points for giving feedback to their critical friend (Nari Kim will create a feedback form).  Students send completed critical friend feedback form to their partner within one week as well as to Nari Kim who keeps track of that and posts each of these to the Wikispaces site.


Library Day: Wikibook Chapter Article Search and Summary (40 points: 30 points for summaries and 10 for presentations)

Here is your chance to explore your own interests.  From your perspective, what trends in learning and cognition theory seem to be particularly important today?  Perhaps it is forming learning apprenticeships.  Maybe you are interested in active learning or constructivistic teachers and schools.  Well, in this option, you are to explore the literature on a topic of interest and then you can use in practice.  You are to find, filter, and explore articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, professional organization reports, research reports, magazines, etc. on this topic.  I want you to spend a day on a physical library or searching the Web online or both and find 15-30 articles related to your area(s) of interest, chapters, or reports and briefly summarize them in a short super summary form which I will provide for you.  Please copy at least the first page of the article and bring it to class.  In the super summary form, you will note the following: (1) the article citation; (2) topic area, concepts, ideas, etc.; (3) short summary of article; and (4) your article rating.  Your library day summaries will be evaluated for: (1) coherence, (2) completeness, effort, and amount of digging, (3) relevancy and timeliness for this class.  We will discuss these on October 16th and 18th.  Every student will get 99 seconds on October 16th to present the most important things he or she has found (presentations worth 10 automatic points).


C.  Ending Work (140 points: 50 points for chapter; 50 points for reflection on process, 20 points for peer feedback, and 20 points for final presentation): The focus of The POLT is on implementation, pragmatic use, or realization of a learning theory in the field.  We will use Wikispaces for the book development (password protected).  Students will post their drafts to the Wikispaces site by November 6th.  They also do a peer review of the chapter draft by their critical friend by Tuesday November 13th (worth 10 points).  Nari provides critical thinking scaffold for those peer critiques or chapter review form.  She will collect the feedback.  Due at the end are reflection papers on that whole process which should include your own personal learning theory (2 pages single spaced maximum; e.g,, what did you learn, how can learning theories be used in your own job setting or educational practices, what concepts are important from this class; what would they do differently, and how will they now use course material when they leave this class?  In addition, what aspects of learning and cognition are addressed by this theory? What is the single most important "big idea" from this theory? Does this theory or perspective resonate with your own experiences and beliefs? Does this theory seem to be a good match for the kinds of learners you're interested in?  How might your theory be used in your current job or to in an educational setting, issue, or problem of importance to you (preferably your current or past job).  Students will post revised chapters to the Wiki by Tuesday November 20th.  Students can decide if they want their chapters to appear in the Wikibook Web site (those that say yes, get something for their resumes).  Student reflection papers are due November 27th.



Wikibook Chapter Grading (50 Total Points or 10 pts each dimension):

1. Chapter relevant and practical—Topic and contribution is meaningful and relevant to class, we learn from it, practical not just theory, extends topic and class to practical area

2. Chapter creativity—Original and distinctive ideas, insightful points, analogies made, unique course connections or interlinkages, story from real life, or something unique in it such as a figure, model, graph, timeline, comparison chart, acronym, quote or set of quotes, etc.

3. Chapter coherence—Good flow, well organized, good layout, enjoyable to read, good practical story

4. Chapter completeness—Sufficient coverage of information, fulfills spirit of assignment, goes beyond task, inspirational, great effort.

5. Chapter content/learning: breadth and depth of thought, learning displayed, indicates knowledge growth, understands theories.


Reflection Paper Grading (50 Total Points or 10 pts each dimension):

1. Insightful points and original thinking, relationships drawn, interlinkages, unique

2. Coherent and logical flow to the critique or review, well organized

3. Complete and thorough review with some depth and elaboration of points, effort

4. Learning: breadth and depth of thought, indicates knowledge growth, understands theories.

5. Critical/Reflective: self-awareness, informative, sound analysis, evaluation, critical thinking


Presentation Points: (20 Points or 5 pts for each dimension)

  1. Organization: good pace, flow, coherent, and transitions
  2. Creative/Interesting: audience engaged, presenters showcase their creative ideas
  3. Completeness: thorough presentation without going beyond time limits
  4. Informative: Handout(s), relevance, practical, helps make connections



Possible Extra Credit: “Learning Journeys” Reflection Papers.

I recommended the book, “Learning journeys: Top management experts share hard-earned lessons on becoming mentors and leaders,” for a reason.  The book is filled with 37 stories and lessons in life from some of the world’s best known management mentors and leaders.  You can read 4-5 stories from the “Learning Journeys” book and link aspects of them to different learning theories in a 2-3 page single-spaced paper.  In your paper, please describe the learning principles, ideas, and guidelines embedded in the stories that you chose.  How does the story validate or refute the theory?  How might it be applied in still other ways?  What is missing from the story?