Posted: February 28th, 2023

Peer Response 1

To receive full participation credit, you should

· Meaningfully respond to your classmate (i.e., Don’t just say, “I agree,” or “Great post.”). Respond in a way that will encourage further discussion.

· Ask a relevant question
in your response to your classmate. If needed, review the 

Writing Open-Ended Questions

Links to an external site.
 resource provided by the Writing Center.


How People Learn

Understanding how people learn can make instructional design more effective and meaningful. Cognition is the process of awareness, reasoning, and perception; all of the mind’s input and output. Cognition is how people use their understanding of the world to make decisions, create new things, and see things from other people’s perspectives. Knowing how people think, helps us understand how people learn.

Up until the late 19th century, philosophy was the predominant perspective on how people think. The introduction of psychology as a scientific discipline, modified that perspective (Brown & Green, 2020). 

Analysis of Two Perspectives

The two perspectives that most resonant with me are the cognitivist and constructivism. 

The cognitivist perspective believes mental processes are important and can be studied.  The human mind is complex and operates like a computer, where the brain processes a series of information (Brown & Green, 2020). I believe the mind is a complex computer, I’m not confident that mental processes can always be studied.  In some situations, people are unable to effectively communicate in language specific enough to convey their perspective on things.  Young children are a perfect example of this with their limited vocabulary.  It is possible to assess comprehension and learning through various tools, but not always with detail or specificity. 

For purposes of comparison, let’s devise a simple test that we will administer to both young children and college educated adults.  We will read the book Curious George to both groups. If we developed a 20-question test, which group would be in the best position to answer all questions thoroughly?  This may seem like an overly simplified example but in reality, the more complex the lesson, the more difficult it would be to assess the mental processes that occur between reading the book and answering questions.  This is even true with all adults, because the ability to articulate in language what is going on in your head can be difficult.  Ask anyone who has ever tried writing a book.  Does the intellectual capacity of a student affect our ability to assess their learning?

Two benefits of this perspective are that it recognizes the complexity of the human mind, and it also believes thinking can be measured.  Two drawbacks are it doesn’t address the many ways the brain impacts understanding are the most effective ways of measuring it.  This perspective, although accurate, is deficient. Do you think my assessment of this perspective is incorrect?

The perspective that I think probably hits closest to the mark, is Constructivism. This perspective posits that an individual constructs their understanding of the world through experiences that they use to make sense of things.  The mind doesn’t just observe the world, it actively makes it up.  People do this by processing new information into previously known information.  If we see something that we don’t understand, we will make it fit into our previous ideas and understanding. Interacting with others helps to build deeper understanding (Brown & Green).

The constructivism perspective is influenced by the introduction of psychology.  Human emotion is heavily influenced by past experiences, so it follows suit that cognition and learning would also be affected.  I recall when I was in high school, and I had a difficult time with Algebra.  My experience told me that I had a hard time remembering the formulas and I would always struggle with math.  Years later, when I was an adult, I went back to school and took a college level Algebra class.  I fully anticipated struggling through that semester and my goal was just to pass the class.  I actually ended up doing better than I expected.  The principles were easier for me to understand, but I had a sense of anxiety through the entire course.  I kept expecting that I would hit a wall with my ability to understand.  I passed the course with an A.  This is an example of how I took my previous experiences into this course with me. 

Two benefits of this perspective are that it recognizes the human aspect of how we view the world and how learning can build upon previous understanding.  Two drawbacks to this perspective are that people may bring anxiety and frustration with them into a new lesson and what people perceive about the world may not always be objectively true.  Like flat earthers who cannot be convinced the world is round.  Sometimes truth, is truth (Brown & Green).

Instruction that allows students to collaborate on projects together are effective at getting students through certain barriers that they bring with them into the course of study.  Exposure to other viewpoints helps people see other perspectives.  Do you think I accurately described the constructivism perspective?  Do you know of another benefit or drawback that I missed?



Brown, A. H., & Green, T. D. (2020). 

The essentials of instructional design: Connecting fundamental principles with process and practice

 (4th ed.). Routledge.

Photo credit (Feb 13, 2023) retrieved from Constructivism – Instructional Coaches Corner


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