Brain-Based Learning Theory Term Paper

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Brain-Based Learning Theory

Learning does not only bring enlightenment to the weary souls but it also helps us learn, grow and be what we are potentially able to become. Therefore education plays a vital role in inculcating a sense of responsibility in children and to assist them in learning other highly important social skills. Thus through adequate instructional framework and effective and logical application of the learning theories, both educators and learners can considerably reap benefits of teaching and learning respectively. The purpose of this analytical research paper is to apply brain base learning theory in the most effective manner to the instructional design. The passages below will aim at the accomplishment of six distinct goals. We begin with the comprehension of the theory and principles of instructional design thereby defining it in detail.

GOAL I: Understand the Theoretical Foundations and Principles of Instructional Design

The term instructional design is not easy to define or explain for it encompasses a rich array of information and learning aspects. As Applied Research laboratory of Penn State University defines instructional design as a process, as a discipline as well as a science and a reality (Berger & Kam, 1996). However, all the definitions display the significance of instructional design and inform the readers a great deal about its principles and the essential theory. On a bigger note, instructional design is an organized and methodological procedure for transmuting assorted rules and regulations of learning directions into specific plans for instructional materials and learning (Smith & Ragan, 1993).

Researchers define instructional design as a process and cover the following aspects of student learning that is heavily dependent on these instructional design models based on various learning theories: "Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. It includes development of instructional materials and activities; and tryout and evaluation of all instruction and learner activities" (Berger & Kam, 1996).

Berger & Kam (1996) observe instructional design as a discipline defining it in the following manner: "Instructional Design is that branch of knowledge concerned with research and theory about instructional strategies and the process for developing and implementing those strategies." Furthermore, instructional design is also seen as a complete science "of creating detailed specifications for the development, implementation, evaluation, and maintenance of situations that facilitate the learning of both large and small units of subject matter at all levels of complexity" (Berger & Kam, 1996). In addition to the above, instructional design is also defined as reality when "a glimmer of an idea is developed to give the core of an instruction situation. By the time the entire process is done the designer looks back and she or he checks to see that all parts of the "science" have been taken into account. Then the entire process is written up as if it occurred in a systematic fashion" (Berger & Kam, 1996).

The above chain of definitions reveals the long history of and various philosophical trends pertaining to the systematic approach of instructional design towards learning.

On the same account our next goal is to trace the historical and philosophical trends of instructional design.

GOAL II: Trace the Historical and Philosophical Trends of Instructional Design

Instructional Systems Design has witnessed several changing trends in terms of history as well as philosophy. The history of instructional design begins its journey from the ancient times of geniuses like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, valuable concepts and innovations by whom involving brain-based learning were further refined by St. Thomas Aquinas during the thirteenth century. This philosopher studied the comprehension of instructions and training "in terms of free will" (Leigh). However, there was a long chain of philosophers and scientists that further made these studies precocious and acceptable. John locks was one of them, who refined Aristotle's innovative idea pertaining to a human being's incipient "state of mental blankness by proposing that almost all reason and knowledge must be gained from experience" (Leigh). John Dewey in the late nineteenth century put forth various doctrines regarding the critical study of education thereby spreading the awareness that comprehension and learning are most effective when coupled with practical application "rather than rote regurgitation of facts" (Leigh).

However, the 1920's witnessed the behaviorist approach gaining momentum. Thorndike developed "stimulus- response model of behavioral psychology" which Hull, another popular theorist broadened to an advanced model concentrating on the student's "wants, attention and activities" (Leigh). The period between the 1920's-1960's saw a drastic technological advancement in the learning processes. Sidney Pressey was one of the pioneers to introduce motorized technology to the academic world (Leigh) that considerably contributed towards "the instructional media research & development movement of World War II" (Leigh). With World War II, United States became economically sound and researchers put their backbreaking efforts at play in order to extract the most priceless teaching strategies by learning and advancing the instructional systems design (Leigh). Thus 1950's saw dramatic change in technological, philosophical and historical trends in the understanding and application of instructional design. Therefore, the rapid transformation from disorganized application to organized and detailed models of instructional design took place. In 1954, The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching by B.F. Skinner well blended the components of feedback, reinforcement, stimulus-response and operant conditioning (Leigh). In addition to the above, in 1956, Benjamin Bloom, proposed the "taxonomy of intellectual behaviors" thereby providing educators and researchers to disseminate the pearls of wisdom in effective and learner-friendly manner. For giant firms and work places, nevertheless, "Ludwig von Bertalanffy's General Systems Theory of biological interactions to integrate the operations of a wide range of departments, such as training, intelligence and staffing" (Leigh) was combined with Bloom's taxonomy. The "space race" initiated by the Soviet Union in 1957 brought further technological advancement and amendments in the instructional designs (Leigh) worldwide that gave birth to the theoretical models concentrating on the entire curriculum progress with initial focus rested on mathematics and science fields of instruction and learning. This paved way for various curriculum-based instructional design models based on brain-based learning theory in particular and other learning theories in general. Individually Robert Glaser was the first theorist to coin the term "instructional design" in 1962 and his work serves as the foundation for the Prescribed Instruction (IPI) approach in imparting education (Leigh). Moreover, Robert Gagne in the same year advocated Bloom's taxonomy model by presenting his new design for instructing students and later expanded his own model incorporating up to "nine instructional events" (Leigh). Patrick Suppes's computer-assisted instruction (CAI) in 1960's assisted PLATO's systems that originated in 1970's (Leigh). The 1980's as well as the 1990's further witnessed changes and technological advancement in the methods of teaching and learning. Various organizational models of today are the by-products of the aforementioned instructional design models and the related learning theories.

In the next section of our research paper we will try to accomplish our third goal of comprehending the process of research to test and evaluate principles of instructional design.

GOAL III: Understand the Process of Research to Test and Evaluate Principles of Instructional Design

Adequate comprehension of the principles of instructional design assists all the teachers and the educators to help their students learn effectively in a better, more challenging learning environment. Though there are various instructional design theories and related models, brain-based learning theory considerably assists mentors to evaluate significant learning aspects of the various principles of instructional design. This is because, a theory offers "a general explanation for observations made over time" and it also "explains and predicts behavior" (Dorin, Demmin & Gabel, 1990). Thus, brain-based learning theory can be rationally applied to the instructional design. This learning theory helps the educators in creating creative, effective and highly challenging environments coupled with enriching experiences. Brain-based learning suggests that the structure as well as the function of the brain play a cardinal role in the learning process. It states that "As long as the brain is not prohibited from fulfilling its normal processes, learning will occur" (Brain-based learning, 1998- 2001). According to the brain-based learning theory, while building an instructional design educators, theorists and researchers must keep in mind the fundamental significance of The "immensely powerful processor" (Brain-based learning, 1998-2001) that processes the vital information, interprets data received by a learner and helps build concepts and perceptions of the students indulged in the learning process. Some of the key principles or components of brain-based learning theory help us understand the processing and significance of brain in the learning and instructing environments. Hence, the principles of brain-based learning theory can be applied to various aspects of instructional design in order to understand the process of instructional design evaluation. One of this theory's principle states that "the brain is a parallel processor" (Brain-based learning, 1998-2001) thereby claiming that this intricate processor enables students or learners to complete various duties…[continue]

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