SYLLABUS

EPS 713

ADVANCED EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:

Theory, Research, and Practice in Teaching and Learning

                                                                 Spring, 2010

 

INSTRUCTOR:

David Shernoff, Ph.D.                                       Office phone: (815) 753-8435

Graham Hall 410                                              Cell phone:    (630) 418-0162

                                                                                    e-mail: dshernoff@niu.edu

Course Meeting Days/Time:                              6 Saturdays:

                                                                        1/16, 1/30, 2/6, 2/27, 4/10, 4/24

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Place:                                                               NIU campus, Graham Hall 418

Office Hours:                                                    By appointment


COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course provides a detailed analysis of modern learning theories and practices as they relate to education. It embarks on a detailed investigation of major research in educational psychology focusing on learning cognition.

 

OVERVIEW:

Historically, the field of educational psychology gained from a series of learning theories, including behaviorism, social cognitive theory, information processing, cognitive learning processes, theories of motivation, as well as the more recent perspectives of social and cognitive constructivism. In this course, we examine these theories and perspectives in depth. The question, “how do humans learn (best)?” is at the heart of such theories, and students are invited to construct and reconstruct their personal theories of teaching and learning throughout the course. However, we also consider the variety of questions that concern modern day educational psychologists. These questions are considerably more varied and diverse than simply, “what constitutes learning?” Increasingly, educational psychologists are concerned with a variety of topics including the effectiveness of external incentives; how students become interested and engaged; the nature of intelligence and creativity; the conditions creating happiness and well-being; the relationship between teaching and learning; cultural and ethnic differences in learning; issues of testing, assessment, and accountability; what constitutes effective educational leadership; and many others. In considering all such topics, a common theme continues to be how psychological principles can illuminate processes of learning and teaching. In this course, we consider how theory, research, and practice inform each other in order to improve our efforts as educators.

 

OBJECTIVES:

1.   Analyze the major theories of learning as applied to a variety of educational settings.

2.   Gain a comprehension of the philosophies and historical contexts underlying the various theories of learning.

3.   Analyze the major concepts of learning as applicable to various learning theories.

4.   Explain the significance of research in the context of the various theories of learning.

5.   Apply theories of learning and concepts in interpreting instruction.

6.   Identify the major contemporary directions and questions of educational and instructional technology.

 

TEXTS

Required text:

Schunk, D. (2007). Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective, 5th Edition, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill.

 

Diessner, R. & Simmons, S. (2004). Notable Selections in Educational Psychology, Guildford, CO: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill.

 

Blackboard:

A web site for the course will contain a course syllabus, access to course readings, details on course assignments, and portals for communication to create a knowledge-building community including multiple discussion boards. This technology can be especially useful for a class which meets only six times during the semester. We will be utilizing the university “Blackboard” online learning system for this purpose. The site address is:

 

http://webcourses.niu.edu

 

Use your username and password. ITS can help students with login problems: 815-753-8100.

 

Recommended Resource: Questia subscription for at least 3 months.

 www.questia.com

In addition to journals, Questia.com or other virtual libraries make whole text available for a decent selection of books in addition to the journal articles you can obtain through the NIU library system.

 

INSTRUCTIONAL FORMAT:

We will be engaged in the following activities:

· Interactive PowerPoint presentations and discussions based on assigned readings.

· Small and whole group discussions.

· Classroom activities and group projects.

· Student presentations and student-led discussions

·  Web based activities and assignments

 

SCHEDULE

Note: The schedule may change during the semester; the online syllabus will be current.

Note: Non-textbook readings can also be accessed through Reserve Readings on Blackboard.


January 16: Introduction, Educational Philosophy, and APA Learner –Centered Principles

 

 Introduction – Review of syllabus, requirements, goals, and strategies of the course.

Historical Perspective and Educational Philosophy

Sources: 1.1, 1.3 & 1.4

Schunk: Ch. 1

 

Historical Axiom: Tyack’s “One Best System”

 

Einstein’s little known theory of education and motivation from Ideas and Opinions

Please copy/print and bring to class.

 

John Dewey’s “My Pedagogic Creed.” Copy/print and bring to class.

http://dewey.pragmatism.org/creed.htm

 

Suggested: Browse the writings of William James, e.g., “Talks to Teachers,” ch. 1; and Principles of Psychology, ch. 1 http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/james.html

 

APA Learner-Centered Principles.  Please copy/print and bring to class.

http://www.cdl.org/resource-library/articles/learner_centered.php

 

January 30:Learner-Centered Principles 2, 4, & 7

 

***Website bios due (not graded)   

***Facilitator sign ups due

***Presentation and Discussion Panel sign ups due

 

Behaviorism (Facilitator: Eileen)

Sources: 6.1 

Schunk: Ch 2

 

What is a knowledge-based community?

Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer support for knowledge-building communities. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(3), 265-283.
Read at the following website: http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~bwilson/building.html
 

Zahorik, John (1996). Elementary and Secondary Teachers’ Reports of How they Make Learning Interesting. The Elementary School Journal 96: 551-564.

 

Social Cognitive Theory (Facilitator: Greg)

Sources: 6.3

Schunk: Ch. 3

 

Which measure of self efficacy would you choose for teachers?

http://people.ehe.ohio-state.edu/ahoy/research/instruments/

 

Brown, J.S. Collins, A. and Duguid, P. (1989) Situated learning and the culture of learning.

Can you have too much self efficacy? Read article, bring it to class, and be ready to discuss:

http://gagne.homedns.org/~tgagne/contrib/unskilled.html

 

What are key ingredients of a good literature review?

 

*Begin Group Projects

 

February 6: Learner-Centered Principles 1, 3 & 10

 

Cognition and Instruction (Facilitator: Nancy)
Sources: 3.1

Schunk: Ch. 7, and Piaget’s theory in Ch. 8


Does Constructivism make sense? Read Stone’s article, http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v4n8.html

Print and bring to class.

Would Piaget approve of this lesson?
http://www.sedl.org/scimath/compass/v01n03/welcome.html Click on “Geometry activities”


*Presentation and Discussion Panel 1 –Maura on Dewey, Eileen on Skinner, Greg on Bandura, & Jim on Piaget

 

Information Processing (Facilitator: Staci)

Sources: 8.1

Schunk: Ch. 4 

 

Is transfer possible?
http://act-r.psy.cmu.edu/papers/misapplied.html  (Read, print, and bring to class)

 

Paavola, S, Lipponen, L., & Hakkarainen, K. (2004). Models of Innovative Knowledge Communities and Three Metaphors of Learning. Review of Educational Research, 74, 557-567.

 

Februrary 27: Learner-Centered Principles 4 – 11

 

Constructivism – Vygotsky, etc. (Facilitator: Jim Morrison)

Schunk: Ch 6

Sources: 7.2

 

Is it possible to integrate social and cognitive constructivism? http://www.massey.ac.nz/~alock//virtual/colevyg.htm  

 

Expert vs. novice teachers as Problem Solvers – Read and Bring to class
http://courses.ed.asu.edu/berliner/readings/differences.htm

 

Cognitive Learning Processes - metacognition, self-regulation, etc. (Facililtator: Joe)

Sources: 8.2

Schunk: Ch. 5

 

Can we afford to spend time and effort teaching metacognitive strategies for learning and thinking?


Why and how can students be taught to be self-regulated learners using metacognitive strategies? How do epistemologies & beliefs affect the process?

Paris, S.G. & Winograd, P.:
The Role of Self-Regulated Learning in Contextual Teaching: Principles and Practices for Teacher Preparation.

 

Motivation: achievement motivation, self-determination, intrinsic motivation (Facilitator: John)

Sources: 11.2

Schunk: Ch 11

 

Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 261-271.

 

Stipek, D. J. (1996). Motivation and instruction. In D. C. Berliner & R. Calfee, C. (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 85-113). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan.

 

How would you characterize motivation to complete a dissertation?

 

Presentation and Discussion Panel 2: Nancy on Simon, Staci on Vygotsky, Sue on Brophy, and Lisa on James Marcia

 

***Please complete mid-course evaluation

 

April 10: Learner-Centered Principles 7 - 9 (continued)

 

Flow, student engagement, and continuing motivation (Facilitator: Lisa)

 

Shernoff, D. J., Csikszentmihalyi, M., Schneider, B., & Shernoff, E. S. (2003). Student engagement in high school classrooms from the perspective of flow theory. School Psychology Quarterly, 18, 158-176

 

Shernoff, D. J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2009). Flow in schools: Cultivating engaged learners and optimal learning environments. In R. Gilman, E. S. Heubner, & M. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology in the Schools (pp. 131-145). New York: Routledge.

 

In what activities do you find yourself in flow? What conditions engage students? How are those conditions created? How do schools make optimal learning environments the norm?

 

Intelligence and Creativity (Facilitator: Lydia)

Sources: 3.4

 

Theories of intelligence

http://otec.uoregon.edu/intelligence.htm

 

Parker Palmer: Bio and Writings: http://www.miracosta.cc.ca.us/home/gfloren/palmer.htm

Read excerpts from “The Courage to Teach” (reading the book at some point is highly recommended)

 

Articles by Parker Palmer: http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/events/afc99/articles.html

Read “The Heart of a Teacher” and “Good Teaching”

 

What makes a good teacher?

 

Presentation and Discussion Panel 3: Lydia on Gardner, John on Kozol, Julia on Wiggins, and Joe on Martin Seligman

*( note: Seligman is not in the sources book; independent research required)

 

April 24: Learner-Centered Principles 12 - 14

 

Positive Psychology, Good Work, and Mentoring (Facilitator: Julia)

Sources: 11.1

 

What conditions create happiness and well-being?

Seligman, M. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive Psychology, an Introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 5-14.  

 

How are excellence and ethics in one's work passed down to subsequent generations?

Nakamura & Shernoff (2009). Good Mentoring, Ch. 1

Check both Reserve Readings and eReserves on Blackboard to access

 

Teaching and Learning, Cultural Diversity, Testing and Assessment, and Technology (Facilitator: Maura)

Sources: 10.2 and 13.2

 

How are teaching and learning related to each other?

Shuell, Thomas J. (1993). Toward an Integrated Theory of Teaching and Learning. Educational Psychologist, 28: 291-311.

 

APA Learner Centered principles (revisited) (Facilitator: Sue)

 

What are implications of learning theory for teacher learning?

Putnam, R. T. & Borko, H. (2000). What do new views of knowledge and thinking have to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher, 29, 4-15.

 

***Group presentations

***Final Paper Due

***Flyer Due

 

Basic resources (especially useful for filling any gaps in your background or understanding):

 

http://homepages.luc.edu/~hweiman/page4psyc.html#psyctrp

http://tip.psychology.org/theories.html

http://www.funderstanding.com/about_learning.cfm

 

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS (Can be individually negotiated to meet your needs)

Participation (20% of final grade)

Active involvement in class is an important part of the learning process.  It is assumed that all students will be actively involved in their learning and exploration of issues in this class.  Absences will adversely affect the participation grade.  Quality of participation is more important than quantity. Quality of participation is characterized by:

  • Active, enthusiastic participation in activities and discussions.
  • Demonstrating your understanding of class readings; asking thoughtful questions
  • Responding to other students’ comments in a sensitive and constructive manner
  • Contributing regularly without dominating
  • Effortful, thoughtful completion of written tasks
  • Respecting classmates’ and the instructor’s rights to hear and be heard.
  • Participation in Blackboard activities and discussions.

 

In Class Presentation of Article and Facilitation of Discussion (15% of final grade)

 

Each student is asked to sign up for one class as the facilitator (see schedule). The facilitator will take the lead responsibility for facilitating class discussion of one (or more, if desired) of the articles for a given unit. The facilitator and instructor need to consult before the class to determine how much time will be allotted to the discussion of the article(s). The facilitator need not make a formal presentation of materials, but be prepared to at least lead us through what he or she deems important in a preferred and time-efficient manner. The facilitator should attempt to facilitate a discussion of the topic by including several key discussion questions.

 

Rubrics for evaluation of the facilitator role are included towards the back of this syllabus.

 

Sign up for one date to be a facilitator by January 30. Students are encouraged to sign up based on interest. You sign up by going to the discussion board in Blackboard, starting a new thread, and putting in the name of the unit for which you wish to facilitate in the subject line. Obviously, students may not sign up to be a facilitator for a unit that another student has already signed up for; it’s first come, first served in terms of choice of class. 

 

As facilitator of a unit, you may facilitate a discussion of one or more of the articles assigned for it. Or the student may choose to substitute facilitation of an article on the syllabus for their own choice of the following:

 

  1. Another article of choice. The choice of article may be based primarily on personal interest, but should be highly relevant to issues of educational psychology, reasonably rigorous, and not excessive in length (15 pp. or under, if possible).

 

  1. Write an original case study of a problem in educational psychology. A case study is a brief (1-2 pp.) but descriptive and detailed scenario of a problem in learning and/or teaching, usually including the response of educators, and the consequences of that response. Case studies are considered fictional, but can be based on your own professional experience.  

 

If a substitution is made, the facilitator must bring enough hard copies to the prior class to distribute to every student, or provide the instructor with an electronic copy to post on Blackboard at least one week prior to the class. At least several days in advance of that, the facilitator should submit the article or case study to the instructor for approval. This may be done by email.

 

Facilitators may share a brief video clip or other materials of interest if desired.

 

Presentation and Discussion Panels on Sources Author (15%)

There will be three presentation and discussion panels through the semester, each presenting and discussing the theories or ideas of three different theorists in the Sources book. Every student will sign up for one such theorist to present as part of a panel (substitutions of choice may be proposed). Sign ups will begin early in the course. You may do additional, independent reading or research with respect to the theorist or researcher you chose. If you can not obtain a copy of the Sources book, you may ask to borrow one from a classmate or instructor, or conduct all of your research on the author independently. Individual presentations on each theorist are no longer than 5 to 10 minutes, and the whole discussion panel should take no longer than 50 minutes. The panel will also be responsible for generating a discussion, and therefore must be prepared with some discussion questions. There can be some discussion of each theorist individually, and/or some overall discussion comparing and contrasting the ideas of the three theorists as a group. Often it works well to have several discussion questions that all three theorists answer, afterwards allowing the class to ask additional questions to any of the theorists. The panel may also choose to show brief video clip(s), totaling less than 10 minutes.  Discussion panels will be evaluated based on the quality and clarity of the presentations, understanding of the topics, ability to generate an engaging discussion, and usefulness of the discussion to moving forward the class. There are two equal components of the evaluation: a group component and an individual component.

 

Schedule:

1)            Panel 1: Dewey, Skinner, Bandura & Piaget (February 6)

2)            Panel 2: Simon, Vygotsky, Brophy, and James Marcia (February 27)

3)            Panel 3: Gardner, Kozol, Wiggins, and Seligman (April 10)

 

Sign ups: Sign up for one theorist, based on interest and schedule, on the discussion board in Blackboard. Once a student has signed up for a theorist, consider it closed and sign up for another one.  Please sign up by January 30. 

 

Group Project (15% of final grade) Begins January 30. Group presentations on April 24. Detailed instructions are given later in the syllabus and under assignments on Blackboard.

 

Final Paper (10-12 pp., 25% of final grade) DUE April 24, the last day of class

See instructions later in this syllabus and on Blackboard.

 

 

Flyer of Final Project (10% of final grade) DUE April 24, the last day of class

Make a flyer on one or both sides of a single sheet of paper representing your final paper. This is done so that we may informally share our papers/projects with each other on the last day of class. Represent your project with whatever creativity you have to draw on at this point in the semester. This is frequently done by making a trifold, with text and graphics and design elements running down the columns on both sides. Please include selected sources or resources to which you would refer your reader. Examples will be provided in class. Make enough copies to give one to each member of the class on the last day. This way, everyone can benefit from the sum of our individual efforts.

 

 

FEEDBACK, COURSE PROGRESS, AND MID-TERM EVALUATION

The extent of one’s success or failure in the educational process has plenty to do with communication. Often, problems can be resolved if they are communicated early. In addition, good experiences can be made even better. I encourage you to email me, call me, or set up an appointment with me (depending on your preference and the complexity of the issue) to discuss any issues you may have relating to the course, your learning or performance, and/or my role in facilitating your learning. Most communications are handled efficiently by email. If you have a substantive issue to discuss, however, speaking in person is recommended.

 

Your progress in the course can always be tracked with the “view grades” feature on Blackboard. Feel free to contact me with any questions regarding grades or evaluation.

 

POLICY STATEMENTS:

Attendance: Class attendance and participation are critical. Students are expected to be physically and mentally present in class. All absences will be taken into consideration for purposes of evaluation, particularly with respect to class participation. A pattern of absences will negatively affect your final grade.

 

            Classroom Behavior: The golden rule is being considerate and respectful of others. Please come to class on time. In return, I will be mindful of letting class out on time. Do not be disruptive in class. Before entering class, please turn off all cell phones, pagers, or any other electronic device that makes noise. Also turn off all Internet connections unless needed, as the Internet can be a major distraction and students are not expected to access the Internet in class other than for presentations. Do not have private conversations that are unrelated to the course.

 

Lateness on Assignments. Ordinarily, late assignments are marked down one letter grade, or 10% of the points. Extreme lateness (i.e., over three weeks), are marked down by 25% of the point value. Under very special circumstances, an extension might be granted.

 

Special Needs: I wish to fully include persons with disabilities in this course. Please contact me as soon as possible if you need any academic accommodations in the curriculum, instruction, or assessments of this course to enable you to fully participate. Any information shared in this regard will be kept confidential.

 

            Diversity Statement: This course will address issues of diversity and individual differences through readings, lectures, discussions, and assignments. Students are encouraged to raise questions or issues regarding diversity within class discussions, presentations, and assignments.

 

            Religious Observation: If you will miss class for a religious observation, you have the right to access work and/or materials you have missed, and to complete missed assignments. Please inform me during the first week of class when you will be absent for observances.

 

NIU Conceptual Framework: The NIU community of learners builds on knowledge, practice, and reflections to produce exemplary educators. The community encompasses scholars, education professionals, and preservice teachers in an interaction that develops the strengths that embody excellence in education. These strengths include creative and critical thinking, scholarship, and caring. Applications of these strengths emerge through the collaborative efforts of a diverse community which supports lifelong learning.

 

Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is expected of all students.  The following is the official university position on academic integrity (see the Undergraduate Catalogue):

“Good academic work must be based on honesty.  The attempt on any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense.  Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else.  Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.”

Plagiarism has become increasingly easy and tempting with so much information dispersed electronically over the Internet. Plagiarism will be penalized, and may warrant an F on the paper or in the course. Academic misconduct will result in no less than a one grade deduction in the course. More importantly, more education is needed on this issue. See in class handout on how not to plagiarize.

 

Group Project (15%) of final grade (see due dates below):

 

Groups will be formed based on interests prior to January 30

 

1. Definition of Problem (Starting January 30)

1st group task: At the January 30 class, exchange email and phone numbers (if desired) for the sharing of information.
2nd task: Identify a learning problem of a specific child or adult whom one of you will see during the semester – why isn’t that person able to learn effectively? Each of you may describe a specific person’s problem to your group. However, the group needs to agree and choose one person/problem on which to focus. It must be a real problem with a real learner in an accessible environment so that you may experiment with implementing a solution.

As a group (due at the end of class)    

Describe the person's learning problem. Describe how motivation may be involved.

Beginning a separate page:     Initial Behavior:

Initial Personal Characteristics:

Initial Environment:

Desired Behavior:

Desired Personal Characteristic:

Desired Environment:

3rd Task: Each person in the group must represent a perspective (or two, if desired) based on the APA Learner-Centered Principles and theories covered in the course. The perspectives are:

1 Behaviorism and Social Cognitive Theory (LCPs 2, 4, 6, & 7).

2. Cognition and Instruction, i.e. Piaget (LCPs 1, 3, & 10)

3. Cognitive Learning Processes and Information Processing (LCPs 2-5)

4. Social Context and Constructivism, e.g., Vygotsky (LCPs 1, 6, & 11)

5. Motivation and Affective Factors (LCPs 7-9)

6. Individual Differences and Assessment (LCPs12-14)

Note that each of these perspectives are one of the topics covered in the course, and therefore you may find corresponding readings in the Schunk and Sources books.

4th Task: The informational sheets defining the problem must get word processed and shared with the group using the document exchange feature for your group on Blackboard. Indicate the volunteer taking responsibility for this task in your report.

 

2. Article finding and sharing (by February 27)

1st Task: Find 3 articles relevant to your perspective or theory through the NIU Library System, an online library like Questia, or through some other means. Post your favorite or most representative (1 or 2) of these articles on your group page to share with your group.

2nd Task: Write a brief annotative bibliography of all three articles, one paragraph each. Use the document exchange feature to share the articles and annotative bibliographies with your group.

 

3. Online discussion and building of knowledge community (by April 10)

Create a discussion thread in your group’s area on Blackboard. Group members should take turns. The first member should represent the view point if one of his or her perspectives in analyzing the problem and solution (what they know, what more they need to know, what is the cause, and what is the best solution to the problem). The next person states what they agree and disagree about with respect to the previous person’s position, how she would modify it, and what new suggestions she would make, based on the perspective of the learning theory she represents. Eventually try to represent as many of the perspectives as possible in the discussion.

 

4. Implementation (by April 24)

By April 24, try to implement your solution or intervention in an actual work setting and gather some initial (even if limited) evidence about whether or not the intervention is working.

 

5. Group Presentation (on April 24)

In 15-25 minutes, present to the class how the problem was defined, how it was analyzed from the perspective of each theory, how motivation was involved, the solution or intervention that was agreed upon, and how effective the intervention proved to be in practice.

 

 

Final Paper (25% of final grade) DUE April 24, the last day of class

10-12 pp.

 

The paper reporting your final project is divided into four parts, each approximately 2 ½ to 3 pp. in length.

 

1. Personal Learning Theory

 

We all started the course with initial views of how people learn and teach (best). Those personal learning theories may have evolved through interactions with other formal theories. In this section of the paper, include:

 

Ø      Your definitions of learning and teaching

Ø      Descriptions or examples of how a task or skill is learned

Ø      How a person learns a task or skill best

Ø      How/why motivation is involved

Ø      WHY that approach to learning works best

Ø      Formative influences (people, events, research, and/or theory) on your views

Ø      Which theories are most related to your views

Ø      How has your theory of learning and/or teaching evolved?

 

2. Statement of an educational problem within the field of educational psychology.

 

Almost every journal article or chapter begins by the statement of an educational problem or question, usually involving processes of learning, teaching, and/or assessment. If there is no important problem or question, why research it? Choose a problem or topic for which you have some ideas about how to analyze or address through an educational intervention (in section 3). Your statement of the problem should include a review of the literature on it, one of the most important skills to develop during one’s doctoral training. A literature review is vital for all research, including a dissertation. The majority of this research should be current (i.e. since 1990). You should present opposing viewpoints and contrary evidence, if available, and attempt to integrate those views. Include at least 12 citations/references.

 

Example topics include:

  • Can students be taught social problem-solving skills to solve disputes?
  • What are effects of block scheduling or looping on learning and instruction?
  • What is the effect of additional time (longer school day or year) on learning?
  • What are effects of ability grouping or tracking on student learning?
  • What is authentic assessment? What are its benefits and limitations?
  • What are effects of learner-centered instruction?
  • Do learning styles stay constant for students? Does instruction need to be matched to individual learners' styles?
  • How can instruction matched to individual styles be implemented fairly in a large group of diverse students?
  • How can students be helped to become self-regulated learners?
  • Does grade retention raise student standards?
  • What factors increase students’ motivation and engagement with learning?
  • What is the effect of grades and other forms of feedback on achievement, learning, and/or motivation?
  • How effective is a certain approach to school reform?
  • What empirical models are shown to increase student motivation and engagement in practice?
  • How do specific types of technology (e.g. word processing, email, Internet, podcasts, wikis, etc.) affect students' learning?
  • How can self-regulation or intrinsic motivation be achieved in online courses?
  • Many more ideas for topics in educational psychology can be found at: http://homepages.luc.edu/~hweiman/page4psyc.html#psyctrp

 

3. Option 3.1) Description of an Intervention, how it was informed by learning theory, and how  
     you would know it works.

 

Describe an educational intervention, program, or curriculum with which you are familiar to   

address an educational problem or need.

 

Explain in detail:

Ø      How the intervention, program, or proposed instruction would work

Ø      For what population of students

Ø      In what type of classes or educational settings

Ø      What have you already done personally to develop this intervention and what else do you plan to do; or if this is a plan for the future, when might you implement it?

Ø      Most importantly, demonstrate its relationship to an important issue in learning theory. How does your intervention test or demonstrate the validity of your/an empirically supported theory of learning? How does theory and/or research support your intervention? In particular, why do you choose the specific features of your intervention? How are your decisions with respect to the programmatic features or characteristics based in learning theory?  Do not neglect this part of your paper, and do use the names of theorists and empirical support where applicable. Try to demonstrate your knowledge of at least several of the theories reviewed in the course.

Ø      How would you evaluate the effectiveness of your intervention, program, or instruction, along with any instruments you would design for this purpose (e.g., surveys, online data collection, etc.)

 

     Option 3.2) Analysis of the problem through empirical study.

 

Analyze your problem. The analysis must involve research, entailing what data shows to be the state of evidence about it. Though occasionally students have collected and analyzed their own data, an original analysis is not expected within the time frame of the assignment. A more expected alternative is a secondary analysis of the literature. To a certain degree, then, this is an extension of the literature review began in section 2. However, you will highlight and go into much more detail for selected studies. The goal is to get training in paying particular attention to data: how good is it (based on the sample and method of the study), how strong are the results, and how can the results be interpreted? Most especially, what does the best data on your particular problem tell us to illuminate your problem, when interpreted as a whole? Overall, what conclusions do you draw to answer the question or address the problem?

 

4. Discussion and Recommendations

 

Interpret your analysis or intervention in light of what it means for the future of practice, research, and theory. With respect to practice, what changes would you recommend either in your approach (as in option 3.1 above) or in the educational approaches others are taking (as in option 3.2). What new educational approach or ideas might you offer to educators to address the problem in practice? With respect to research, what questions remain to be answered? What methods might be used in future studies to shed new light on the issue? Are there special considerations in doing research on this topic of which other researchers should be aware? With respect to theory, does the current research support or challenge dominant theories of educational psychology that are most useful for your topic? What does your analysis suggest about the questions that need to be asked in order to guide future theory in this area?