Thursday, February 3, 2011

Section 2: Theories and Models of Learning and Instruction

Theories and Models of Instruction
I chose to use Gagné’s theory of instruction and the Constructivism theory from Chapter 4 to highlight the differences in the way that instructors can design a lesson to achieve a specific learning goal. The learning goal that I selected and the comparison of methods used to attain that goal in the classroom are outlined below:

Specific Learning Goal: The student applies spreadsheet technology to formulate and produce a personal budget.

Gagne’s Theory: Events of Instruction
1. Gaining attention
As students enter the room, they will draw for an entry level job and average salary and are given the following scenario: You have just graduated from high school. You have your first full time job and now you are out on your own! What do you need to do now?
2. Informing the learner of the objective
The student will be able to:
1.       Use Excel to design a personal six month budget that reflects realistic fixed and variable expenses for a given salary.
3. Stimulating recall of prior knowledge
Students will brainstorm expenses of living on their own and estimate costs associated with those expenses.
4. Presenting the stimulus
Display a completed six month budget for an entry level worker’s salary.
1. Discuss and explain terms associated with a budget: gross pay, net pay, fixed and variable expenses, and net income.
5. Providing learning guidance
1. Give several salary amounts to walk students through calculating gross and net pay using Excel formulas.
2. Use the list of brainstormed expenses to distinguish between fixed and variable expenses.
3. Provide students with suggested budget allocations for expenses .
6. Eliciting performance
Students will use their salary that was drawn at the beginning of the lesson and Excel to create their own personal budget using Excel. They will use the Internet to find housing and transportation as well as to research current costs for other expenses to complete their estimated monthly budget. They then will draw for an unexpected new income item or expense item for each of the six months. The budget will then have to be modified to accommodate the new income/expense item.
7. Providing feedback
·         Students will be given feedback as teacher monitors performance.
·         Students will turn in their estimated monthly budgeted amounts for teacher review.
8. Assessing performance
Students’ completed budgets will be assessed using a grading rubric.
9. Enhancing retention and transfer
Students will write a reflection for the lesson to express their opinion of the value of budgeting, the importance of buying and consuming responsibly, and saving money.

Constructivism Theory – Using the 5E Model of Instruction
The student will be able to:
1.       Use Excel to design a personal six month budget that reflects fixed and variable expenses for a given salary.
As students enter the classroom, they will be asked to draw a piece of paper. The paper will reveal their entry level job title as well as their salary, whether or not they have credit cards, student loans, children, pets, etc. It will also indicate a number that will reveal their teammate for the lesson. Students are instructed to find the person that has their matching number. This will be their partner in creating a personal/family budget. The teacher will ask the following questions:
·         What is a budget?
·         Why do you need to create a budget?
·         What is included on a budget?
·         What are expenses that you will have to pay as an adult?
Each team will be assigned a particular aspect of creating a budget.
·         The difference between net and gross income and how to calculate each.
·         The difference between fixed and variable expenses and which must be expected on a personal budget
·         Suggested expense allocations to consider when creating a budget
·         The importance of saving money
·         Using Excel to create a budget
Teams will use resources such as the Internet, parents, other adults, etc. to gather information and create a summary PowerPoint presentation of their findings to present to the class.


Teams will present their PowerPoint presentations, and the class will collectively discuss the importance of each topic in the creation of a personal budget.
Teams will be instructed to create an estimated six month budget based on the information that they drew at the beginning of the lesson. Teams will use the Internet to find housing, transportation, and to research current costs for other expenses to complete their estimated monthly budgets. They will be given a assessment rubric to guide them.


Teams will draw for an unexpected income or expense item for each of the six months. They will have to modify their budgets to accommodate for the new items.


Teams will be evaluated on the accuracy and realistic value of expenses based on an assessment rubric. Teams will write a reflection for the lesson to express their opinion of the value of budgeting, the importance of buying and consuming responsibly, and saving money.

Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction
In researching Gagné’s nine events of instruction, I found a book by using the Google Books search called The Science of Learning: A Systems Theory Perspective written by Robert Hays (2006). Chapter 8 in this book describes the nine events of instructional design and gives examples for each of the steps. Hays (2006) supports Gagné’s theory of instruction “based on the idea that what we know about learning could be systematically related to the design of instruction”. The book provides a table beginning on page 195 that illustrates the nine instructional events and conditions of learning. I have included some of the explanations and examples from this table in my comparison table between Gagné’s events of instruction and the First Principles.
Reference: Hays, R. (2006). The science of learning: a systems theory perspective. Brown Walker Press (FL).

Gagné’s Events of Instruction vs. the First Principles

Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction
First Principles
1. Gaining Attention
Present a problem or situation. Use a stimulus to gain the learner’s attention.
First Principle: Problem Centered
The instruction should involve real-world problems/tasks, demonstrate to the learner the whole task they will be able to perform after completing instruction, teach the component tasks needed to complete the whole task, and engage learners in a progression of problems.
2. Informing the Learner of the Objective
Allow the learner to organize their thoughts around what they are about to learn. Provide examples or demonstration of the performance that is expected.

3. Stimulating Recall of Prior Learning
Allow the learner to build on previous knowledge or experiences. Stimulate recall of relevant information.
First Principle: Activation of Prior Knowledge
Instruction should direct the learners to prior knowledge or experiences, show relevance of learning, and provide a structure to organize prior knowledge with new knowledge.

4. Presenting the Stimulus
Chunk the information to avoid overload. Structure new material to be learned following instructional strategies.
First Principle: Demonstration
The instruction must demonstrate what is to be learned, be consistent with what is being taught, employ learner guidance techniques, and provide instructional media relevant to the content to enhance learning.
5. Providing Learning Guidance
Provide instructions on how to learn. Help the learner by providing verbal cues, prompts, and practice with feedback.
6. Eliciting Performance
Provide the opportunity for the learner to practice using the new knowledge to solve problems.

First Principle: Application
The learner must be provided with an opportunity to apply the new knowledge to new situations, application and assessments must be consistent with the objectives, corrective feedback must follow practice, coaching must be provided throughout the practice, and the learner should be able to use the new knowledge to solve a varied progression of problems.
7. Providing Feedback
Provide specific feedback, reinforcement, and/or remediation. Confirm the correctness of the learner’s application of new knowledge.
8. Assessing Performance
Test to see if the learner can demonstrate the application of the new knowledge.
9. Enhancing Retention and Transfer
Help the learner use what has been learned. Provide varied situations for the learner to continue using the new knowledge
First Principle: Integrate
The instruction should provide techniques that enable the integration of the new knowledge into everyday life, provide opportunities for learners to publicly display their new knowledge, provide opportunities for reflection and the exploration of new ways to utilize the new knowledge.

Holistic Design and Approaches to Complex Learning

Reiser and Dempsey (2007) explains that, “Future design theory should support the development of training programs for students who need to learn and transfer professional competences or complex cognitive skills to an increasingly varied set of real-world contexts and settings.” Chapter 8 describes how the holistic design approach can help instructional designers to attain this objective using the whole task approach, scaffolding, and mathemagenic methods. I chose to use the same instructional goal as I used in the theories comparison earlier to describe how I would use these three methods in helping students learn to perform a task.
Instructional Goal: The student applies spreadsheet technology to create a personal budget.
Whole Task Approach: Learners start with simple learning tasks and then progress towards more difficult tasks which each task representing a version of the whole task. In creating a personal budget, learners can begin with a simple budget for a college student where there is little income and few expenses then progress to a more complex family budget.
Scaffolding Instruction
Scaffolding: Learners are provided sufficient support for learning when new content is being introduced. The support is gradually removed as students begin to use their own independent learning strategies. In creating a personal budget, the teacher can break the budget apart into two main sections: income and expenses. The teacher can model the steps needed to calculate net income. The teacher can guide students in creating a list of expected expenses for a college student and predict the actual cost of each expense based on the students’ own experiences with expenses.  
Mathemagenic Methods: Learners are provided with activities that “give birth to learning” or encourage the transfer of learning. In creating personal budgets, students could be asked to determine their career choice and research the beginning salary for an entry level position in their chosen field. With this income amount, they will be asked to search for housing and transportation that they can afford based on their salary. They will then complete their estimated budget for one month. Students must then draw for an unexpected income or expense item(s) for each month to adjust the budget on a month to month basis to create an entire six month budget.

ARCS Model

A course in my area of specialization that I would love to teach is Digital and Interactive Media. We currently do not offer this course, but it is a new Career and Technical Education course that was created within the Information Technology cluster. If I were asked to help design this course for our school to offer for the next school year, I would incorporate several tactics to motivate learners using the ARCS Model categories and subcategories.

ARCS Model Categories and Subcategories (Table 9.2)
Course: Digital and Interactive Media
Perceptual Arousal:
Use different types of multimedia (video, Prezi, YouTube, websites, etc.) with detailed, stimulating examples of digital and interactive media.
Inquiry Arousal:
Show sample completed digital media projects and challenge learners to figure out how they were created.
Use YouTube how-to videos and Internet lessons geared at creating digital media to maintain attention throughout the course.
Goal Orientation:
Explore the different job opportunities available to students who can create digital and interactive media.
Motive Matching:
Use teaching strategies that allows for collaboration between cooperative work groups and individual competitive activities. 
Stimulate personal involvement in the classroom by allowing students to take ownership; allow students to create digital and interactive media for school events that they are involved in.
Learning Requirements:
Provide students with criteria (rubrics) that can be used to determine the quality of a finished product.
Success Opportunities:
Begin with lower level challenges and provide frequent feedback to the learners as they are beginning then advance to more challenging projects that help learners to sharpen their skills.
Personal Control:
Provide learners with corrective and positive feedback throughout every project to make learners feel comfortable in making mistakes and learning from them.
Intrinsic Reinforcement:
Allow opportunities create projects for school organizations to use in promoting events, courses, or joining the organizations.
Extrinsic Rewards:
Awards given throughout the course or at the end of the course for most improved, best design, most creative, etc.
Maintain consistency in standards and consequences for success. Always provide positive feedback as well as constructive feedback for learners to feel positive about their accomplishments.

Benefits of Engaging in Design Research
Reiser and Dempsey (2007) explain that design research is a very complex evaluation process that includes comprehensive experiments which evaluate the “process and context in which learning takes place”. These experiments are geared to understanding the science of learning and gaining a better perspective of the overall learning process. Learning styles have changed as a result of the evolution of technology. To keep up these changes and ensure that learning takes place, design research must continue to examine what strategies and practices will work in the learning process and what will not work to continually improve instructional design in education.  


  1. I totally agree with you that times have changed, as we know they have changed drastically over the last few years and current research is necessary in order for the learning process to be effective.

  2. Jenny, your post looks really nice and your response is very well explained. You did a great job. I'm very visual so I'm using it as a guide.

  3. Jenny,

    It is evident that you are a gifted educator who is able to synthesize and organize thoughts in written and visual ways. Are you working on your doctorate? If not, you need to!

  4. Great use of charts and graphs. It makes it easy to understand you ideas and the message that you sending. Great post. Thank you.