Learning Theory. Set of principles and propositions that explain how and why people learn. Descriptive in nature. Note: Learning theorists also often recommend (prescribe) methods for facilitating learning (see Instructional Theory). Major classes of learning theories include:

  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive Information Processing | Social Cognitive
  • Cognitive Constructivist | Social Constructivist
  • Neuro-Biological (Brain-Based)
  • Science of Learning (multidisciplinary)

Instructional Theory. Set of principles and propositions that prescribe methods for facilitating learning. Prescriptive in nature. Strategies (and Tactics) represent the application of a learning or instructional theory. Note: Instructional theorists often refer to and base prescriptions on learning theories. Instructional theories range from teacher-directed to student-centered.

  • Gagne’s Conditions of Learning
  • Component Display Theory
  • Elaboration Theory
  • Experiential Learning
  • Problem-based Learning

Instructional Strategy. Comprehensive series of instructional events and activities for facilitating learning. A strategy typically consists of one complete set of events or activities associated with an instructional lesson or unit.  Strategies (and tactics) represent the application of a learning or instructional theory, and may range from teacher-directed to student-centered strategies.

  • Direct Instructional Strategies
  • Gagne’s 9 Events
  • Experiential Learning Strategies
  • Problem-Based Learning Strategies
  • InterPLAY

Instructional Tactics (aka. Approach). Individual or multiple instructional events or activities for facilitating learning. A comprehensive set or series of tactics represent an instructional strategy. Often referred to, but distinguished here from instructional strategies; tactics require additional instructional events and activities either before or after implementation to be effective.

  • Active learning
  • Team-Based Learning
  • Small group learning
  • Self-learning modules, Directed self-learning modules
  • Lectures
  • Scaffolding
  • Objectives
  • Feedback

Instructional Design (ID) Models. Overall process for creating training and educational program that typically include step-by-step guidelines for analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation.

  • ADDIE (Dick & Carey, Smith & Ragan) | Waterfall/shed | Spiral
  • Agile (SAM, SAM2)
  • ARCS Model of Motivational Design

Curriculum. Program of study offered by a school that consists of outcomes, courses, and assessments.

  • Patient-Centered
  • Problem-Centered
  • System-Centered
  • Topic-Centered

Epistemology. The study of how people derive meaning, also referred to as the theory of knowledge. Ranges from:

  • Positivist
  • Pragmatist
  • Interpretist

Evidenced-Based Education (aka. Grounded Design). Learning experiences grounded in theory, research, and documented best practice.

Design-Based Research. Method for conducting research that focuses on improving an instructional product, process, policy, theory, or tool.    Also referred to as:

  • Improvement science
  • Formative research