Ways of Learning
Course Outline

Course Fee: $270
Course Numbers: EED x701, SED x701
Standard Course Time: 45 hours
Semester Credits: Three (3) academic credits at the post-baccalaureate level (available for an additional fee)
Credit Issued by: Cal Poly Humboldt (refer to our Graduate Credit page for credit pricing and details)
Subject Area: Special Topics

This course has been developed and optimized for online delivery using the licensed title Ways of Learning - Learning Theories for the Classroom, published by Routledge and authored by Alan Pritchard.

Introduction/Course Description:

Learning is something that happens quite naturally and goes by quite unnoticed in many cases. We may reflect on the way that a child is able to do something that previously they could not and we may be amazed at the way that a young child has developed over even a short period of time. This is unplanned learning – though parents often spend time helping children to develop certain skills and understanding – and, as such, it is recognized as different from the planned learning that takes place in the more formal settings of our educational system: playgroups, nurseries and schools.

The purpose of this course is to explore what is known about the ways that learning can take place and to present the views and theories of those researchers and practitioners who have been able to make detailed studies of the processes and complexities involved in learning – that is, gaining knowledge, developing understanding and acquiring skills.

Course Objectives/Program Outline

Module One: Learning

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Learn the Current Definition of Learning
  • Understand the historical perspective of learning
  • Discover other developments in learning

Project 1: My Journey as a Life-Long Learner
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Two: Behaviorism and the Beginning of Theory

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Learn the definition of behaviorism
  • Understand behaviorism in general and school learning situations
  • Observe behaviorism in practice
  • Explore the history of names associated with behaviorism

Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Three: Cognitive, Constructivist Learning

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Explore constructivist theories
  • Learn about Piaget
  • Understand “Schema” theory
  • Explore Social constructivist theory
  • Understand what are situated learning and authentic activity
  • Explore social learning theory
  • Understand Metacognition
  • Understand Engagement
  • Explore encouraging engagement

Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Four: Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Understand multiple intelligences in the classroom
  • Redefine learning styles
  • Understand links between learning styles and multiple intelligences
  • Explore further research exploring learning styles

Project 2: It’s all about STYLE
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Five: Difficulties in Learning

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Learn about general learning difficulties-higher-level descriptions
  • Explore general learning difficulties-educational and working definitions
  • Understand specific learning difficulties-commonly encountered problems
  • Learn what is specific language impairment
  • Explore Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Expand their knowledge of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Explore other conditions that affect learning

Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Six: The Impact of Neuro-Educational Research

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Learn about neuroscience and neuro-myths
  • Expand their understanding of brain plasticity
  • Explore the two hemispheres
  • Explore the triune brain
  • Understand the principles of brain-based learning
  • Learn about concentration span
  • Understand detractors

Project 3: Do You Hear That? It's Sound of Your Brain Growing.
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Seven: Other Theories, Ideas and People to Know About

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Part 1: Explore People to Know About
  • Part 2: Expand their ideas about learning

Project 4: WHO Lights Your Fire?
Project 5: What IDEAS Resonate With You?
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Eight: Relating Theory to Practice

Learning Objectives
Students will recognize that:

  • Learning is a process of interaction between what is known and what is to be learned
  • Learning is a social process
  • Learning is situated
  • Learning is a metacognitive process
  • Learning can sometimes proceed in a rote fashion, with little understanding involved
  • Learning can sometimes depend on an individual’s preferred learning or cognitive style
  • Learning can be affected by certain conditions concerning the brain

Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Final Exam

Multiple choice questions taken from each module

Final Learning Statement

Learning statements should be in a narrative format – as opposed to an outline format. Depending on individual writing styles Learning statements should be 2-3 pages. The learning statement can vary according to individual style. Your learning statement should answer the broad question of "what did you learn?". To help get you thinking, here are some suggested questions:

  • What are the major concepts of the course that you have learned?
  • What new professional language have you acquired relating to the topic?
  • What teaching techniques for implementing new strategies in the classroom did you come away with?
  • Thinking back to your project reflections, were you surprised at the outcomes?
  • What new resources did you find in the study of the content?
  • As an educator, what new concepts will you now integrate into your teaching?
  • Are there any ideas that presented themselves as enlightening and useful?

--- Sample Course Project ---

Project #1 Overview

In Module 1, we recognized that learning is not exclusive to the domain of an education system. Learning begins a very long time before school, continues for even longer after school, and happens rapidly, and in parallel with school, in a great number of different ways and settings. Without looking for too long, and without delving too deeply into learned sources, it is possible to find a range of definitions of the process of learning. The following list contains a sample of these definitions:

  • A change in behavior as a result of experience or practice.
  • The acquisition of knowledge.
  • Knowledge gained through study.
  • To gain knowledge of, or skill in, something through study, teaching, instruction or experience.
  • The process of gaining knowledge. A process by which behavior is changed, shaped or controlled.
  • The individual process of constructing understanding based on experience from a wide range of sources.

For this project:

Review the definitions provided above. Then take a moment to answer the following questions:

  • What is your personal definition of learning? What does it look like and how do you know if learning is occurring?
  • Reflect on what you thought learning was as a child, college student, and a new teacher. Has your perspective on learning changed over time? If so, how? If not, why?
  • Whether you are a new or seasoned teacher, what developments about learning have you observed while part of the education system?

For Your Written Project Reflection Submission

After taking some time to answer the questions provided above, reflect on your findings using the following bullet points as a guide:

  • What is your biggest AHA moment in relation to documenting your beliefs about learning?
  • Have you kept up to date with the new information about learning or questioned its path? Or is this the first time you have thought about learning as a subject?
  • How will this new learning impact your classroom?

Visit the "Module Projects" section located within the Course Dashboard, and take a moment to share your findings by submitting your written project reflection.

Cal Poly Humboldt Credit Specifics

  • Academic Credit through Cal Poly Humboldt (CPH) is offered after successful completion of each course.
  • The 700 series semester credit is post-baccalaureate level appropriate for credentialed teachers which do not require admission to a graduate program.
  • Courses are letter graded on official transcripts from CPH.
  • CPH is the northernmost and westernmost institution in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system.
  • CPH is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), a regional accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions.

Summer Option

If you are not currently teaching (ie. Summer break, you are a substitute teacher, etc.), each class offers you the ability to complete coursework independent of a classroom assignment.