Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) is a four part learning process that contains both behavioral and cognitive theory aspects (Spector, 2016). Behaviorism is defined by observing a learner’s actions and reactions to their environment to explain learning (Spector, 2016). According to Jonassen, behaviorism only focuses on what the learner can do and how behavioral dispositions are shaped by selective reinforcement, but behaviorism doesn’t include the learner’s mental capabilities (Objectivism versus constructivism: Do we need a new philosophical paradigm?, 1991). The basic concept of ELT is “learning by doing”. This concept is similar to Papert’s constructionism.
Constructionism focuses on the art of learning and on the significance of making things while learning. Papert’s theory involves how learners engage with their own or other people’s artifacts, and how these activities can increase self-directed learning, and ultimately facilitate the construction of new knowledge (Ackermann, 2001). During ELT, the learner has experiences, which is consistent with behaviorism and constructionism. Next those experiences are then reflected upon. This is consistent with cognitivism.
Cognitivism is defined as how the learner processes perceptions and information to explain learning by taking into account expectations and high level processing (Spector, 2016). Cognitivism focuses on what learners know and how they learn it, based on mental models and symbols (Jonassen, 1991). Cognitivism builds upon behaviorism by adding the functions of the mind and the ability for reflection. The third part of the E...
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... not all higher level processing can be observed, “think out loud” techniques are encouraged to provide rationale for behavior. An example of a cognitive assessment is Clark Clinical Simulation Rubric (See Appendix B). This tool can be used during observation of a simulation to capture both low and high level cognitive thinking (Gantt, 2010; Jeffries, 2012).
Lastly are affective domain assessments. Affective domain assessment includes attitudes, beliefs, values, feelings, and emotions regarding the simulation experience and learning outcomes (INACSL Board of Directors, 2013; Kardong-Edgren, et al., 2010). Often tools such as questionnaires, rubrics, attitude scales, and journaling are used (Jeffries, 2012). The NLN Student Satisfaction and Self Confidence in Learning Scale is an example that can be used to measure the affective domain (See Appendix C).
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