Unit 2, week 1

September 14-20

Historical Perspectives


Depending on your prior education and background, this may be a review for you or it may be new information. Your responsibility during this unit is to evaluate your existing knowledge of learning theory and create an individualized plan for augmenting your understanding. It’s also a good time to begin forming your personal philosophy of teaching and learning. What have your own experiences been? In what ways do you identify with behaviorists, cognitivists, or constructivists? Do you see validity in connectivism?


  1. Differentiate methods of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.
  2. Examine the concept of connectivism.
  3. Reflect on the similarities and differences between online learning and classroom instruction.
  4. Summarize the 2010 Department of Education analysis of online learning studies.

First Week of the Unit

Estimated Time to Complete
 Instruction  2 hrs
 Assignments  6 hrs
 Collaboration  2 hrs



After reading the articles above, select topics you would like to explore further. A baseline understanding of behaviorist, cognitivist, and constructivist theory is foundational to educational practice; if your understanding of these topics is shallow, begin here. If you have sufficient mastery of these concepts, you may wish to look further into learning and cognitive styles, metacognition, or learner interaction. Ally’s chapter includes a rich bibliography, which provides an excellent starting point for further exploration. As you explore, look for candidates that you may wish to use for your article reviews (see Assignment section below).


You are required to review five scholarly articles during this semester, and the first one is due this week. You will not receive credit for reviewing required readings from the course; I expect you to find additional articles that interest you. To qualify for this assignment, articles must have been published in a reputable journal (online journals are acceptable, as well as traditional print-based journals). Looking at the Assignment Schedule, you’ll see that I’ve set due dates of one article per week for the next few weeks, but you may submit more than one per week if you wish.

Grading Rubric for Article Reviews

Reflection and Writing

Use one of the following questions as your writing prompt for this week. Compose a thoughtful and complete opinion piece to post.

  1. Recall a learning experience that you found personally effective and identify the underlying methodology. Describe ways in which behaviorist, cognitivist, or constructivist techniques were employed.
  2. Ally’s article provided “implications for online learning” related to each theory. Discuss whether there are distinct needs in an online learning environment that aren’t equally necessary in the classroom; provide examples to validate your conclusion.

Remember to read the posts from your classmates. Please comment substantially on posts from at least three other students (this is the minimum requirement).