Activity 1.3

This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  lynne.burroughs 6 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #13299


    After reflecting on the topic and the situation I am experiencing at the moment I believe the learning machine was something that was probably the result of the type of educational philosophy prominent at that time.

    On the educational continuum you have behaviorism, a teacher centric approach, and a philosophy that critics argue that the education system is a conveyor belt where people enter as humans and come out as robots. On the other end you have constructivism and the philosophy is that people learn more effectively and reach a higher level plane of thinking and retention through using their previously stored experiences.

    As I’ve seen, some would argue that the computer of today is the learning machine but I have to disagree when considering how technology has moved into the realms of searching and adapting to the learner. I think what is important in today’s world is that T&L needs to align itself with how the world is moving. Today’s kids learn via gaming, leveling up by collaborating with somebody on the other side of the world, but I also think it’s wrong of me to say kids because I know that there are just as many adults that learn in this fashion too. The closer we get to creating the real world in a learning environment the more experiences a person can store and refer to in the future. I do not like the thought of people solely learning via a learning machine, however looking at today’s environment you will see people are walking around everyday with small learning machines in their pockets. Making information accessible to people through these small learning machines, does this mean Skinner harmed the education system? I think you have to look at human nature here, we are constantly striving to do things quicker, expanding less energy to achieve the same or better result, you could argue that this is the result of money and greed.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by  stuartryan9.
  • #13546

    ed3d (Peter)

    The motivational factors you identify equate with those proposed by Ian Morris in his book “Why the West Rules — for Now” where he proposes that “change is caused by lazy, greedy, frightened people looking for easier, more profitable, and safer ways to do things. And they rarely know what they’re doing.”

    Re gaming, worth noting that while 74% of students play games that means that roughly a quarter don’t– it would be interesting to know why.

  • #16891

    Mark Schier

    I looked at Socrates and Illich (& Calvin).

    I guess Socrates would have been initially appalled at the idea of a teaching machine, but taken great delight in denouncing it. Although I guess the individual being in control of the learning speed (and maybe content) would be things that might gain some ground.

    Illich, on the other hand, I think would have been initially impressed with this concept with its nice ordered structure and methodical (‘pretty maids all in a row’) approach to teaching and learning. Perhaps once he found out about the way in which the student could alter the experience he might be less enthusiastic.

    I think that these two are interesting and almost opposite points of view on teaching and learning strategies.

    I was impressed with how we ended up with more from other posts about the other ‘champions’ of teaching machines.

  • #22609

    Mark Anderson

    I think despite the limitations of the behaviourist paradigm that influenced Skinner’s thinking, his teaching machine idea had a few things going for it pedagogically.

    It required the learner to be active, for example – rather than being just a passive recipient of information, which was the model for some of the 1990s computer-assisted instructional technologies.

    Learners got instant feedback on their actions. Admittedly, this wasn’t very detailed or reflective feedback, but it was quick and had some value for motivation and engagement.

    All of Skinner’s points about the value of self-paced learning and slower learners not feeling left behind were valid. But his methods were underpinned by what we now consider to be flawed expectations about universally-effective processes of ‘operant conditioning’.

  • #17326

    guy saward

    I am not necesssarily convinced by the gamification argument as a general approach. Yes, people get to grips with a game, and may level up through collaboration – but the learning seems much more behaviourist, and about the game, than any deeper. Unless the subject you wish to learn is the domain of the game, then I struggle to see how game principles apply. And in adopting the elements of games (whether points, badges or leader boards) there is a danger of encouraging strategic learning at best.

    It was interesting that I was just having a discussion today of space orbital mechanics, related to the game Kerbil Space Programme. I would be interested to know to what extent this knowledge was impart by, or inspired by the game – and how much came from a parallel study of physics, vectors, newton’s laws of motion etc.

    As for women and gaming, I know many in my friends and family who are in to “casual gaming”, some of it social but with people they know in offline life. But I am sure very few of them would consider themselves “gamers” in the stereotypical young, male way.

  • #17331

    guy saward

    As a second take on gameification, check out the demographics at

    It’s interesting to draw parallels too between the split between hard core and casuals gamers, and different learning styles. Will casualisation of access to resources (whether via google, youtube, social search (ie just ask your Facebook friends) or candy crush) lead to a more superficial approach to learning?

  • #25793


    I agree with Elise that technology is a tool for me and I although I accept that some people learn through gaming it is not appropriate for everyone.

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