Running head: CUSTOMIZED LEARNING THEORY 1
Inthe modern world, education continues to face adverse challenges inthe mode of teaching and learning adopted by different teachers andindifferent contexts. Customized learning means adopting ateaching-learning model that is effective in identifying anddeveloping the talents and the learning capability of all students(Slavin, 2008). In order to achieve this customized learning andteaching model requires knowledge rich and evidence-based educationsystem in which the teachers and the school management professionallyact with authority to gather the necessary information, effectivesupport and assist in change implementation. In the contemporaryworld, the existing learning system has not yet adopted effectiveknowledge-based learning practices. Ideally, the goal of effectiveteaching and learning is to create a favorable environment in whichboth the learners and the teachers enjoy the learning process(Boettcher, 2005).
Inthis case, the teachers should develop the right approaches thatmotivate learners to be cooperative, collaborative and activethroughout the class session. The goal is to enhance practical andknowledge based learning far from the traditional approach of theorybased teaching and learning (Slavin, 2008). There are variouslearning theories that have been proposed by several theorists inform of behaviorism, constructivism, cognitivism design based,humanisms, experiential learning and social learning among others.However, while all these theories focus on the level of promotingeffective learning and teaching, the overall goal is to promote acollaborative and cooperative learning environment in which thelearners, teachers and the school leadership facilitateknowledge-based learning system (Wenglinsky, 2000). The followingresearch paper involves a critical discussion on cognitive,behavioral and constructivist theories of learning that enhances acollaborative and cooperative approach of learning between theteachers and students as a mode of facilitating practical learningand creating a favorable environment in which effective learningtakes place.
LearningTheory and Its Importance
Thelearning theory in education and psychology encompasses variousperspectives of learning such as the cognitive, constructivism,learning motivations and the environment. According to educators, themost-effective mode of facilitating effective learning is throughdeveloping the learners’ memory in order to influence theirlearning (Wenglinsky, 2000). The assumption of this perspective isthat individuals’ memory is active, and the processing ofinformation is based on previous learned information (Slavin, 2008).As such, learning is more of an internal process than behavioral, andthe goal of effective learning should be focused on buildingintelligence and enhancing learners’ short-term and long-termlearning memory. In addition, this theory considers individuallearners as an important aspect in the learning process rather thanthe environment.
Cognitivelearning and constructivism share the same assumption that learningprocesses of an individual can only be effectively enhanced iflearners are actively involved in the learning process to enable themcognitively construct knowledge. Constructivism theory is concernedon why learners do know attentively listen and participate in thelearning process or while reading (Sanders & Rivers, 1996). Assuch, in order to create an effective teaching and learningenvironment the theory postulates that teachers need to have a goodknowledge of their students.
Inaddition, the constructivism theory asserts that the educationcurriculum should be built on what the student already knows this isthe basic tenets of cognitive theory of learning. Therefore,constructivism learning forms the basis of promoting active,discovery learning, knowledge building and interactive learning(Wenglinsky, 2000). The cognitive and the constructivism theories areeffective in creating an enabling learning environment that allowsall parties (learners and the teachers) to enjoy the learning process(Slavin, 2008). In this context, the teacher acts as a facilitator inencouraging learners actively discover learning principles bythemselves and develop knowledge that help them solve the learningproblems.
Descriptionof an Effective Teacher and Learning Environment
Theeducation system and curriculum have greatly changed from thetraditional aspects today education involves test basedinstructional teaching that requires teachers to adhere to particulara format of teaching in order to result in the desired level oflearning (Slavin, 2008). Several studies have defined an effectiveteacher in various ways the obvious definition is that, an effectiveteacher is one who can improve the students’ knowledge. However,the scope of an effective teacher goes beyond this basic definition,according to (Allison, 2000).Agood teacher is committed to facilitating students learning,understands the subject matter of what is needed to be taught,responsibly manages the students and can systematically improviseteaching methods to make learning more impactful (Wenglinsky, 2000).
Reiteratingthe cognitive and constructive theory of learning, Wenglinsky (2000),observed that, an effective teacher as one who employees’ effectiveteaching practices in the classroom to promote a higher level ofactive participation among the students. However, other scholarsbelieve that, an effective teacher as one who can positivelytransform knowledge to students to enhance their achievements(Allison, 2000). According to Sanders (1996) and Wenglisky (2000),teachers’ effectiveness results in students’ success and,therefore, a teacher’s measure of effectiveness is measured on thelevel of facilitating students’ success in the academics. Theseresearchers (Sander & Wenglinsky) found that, teachers’professional development, class input and teachers’ practices thatpromote active and collaborative learning were measures of effectiveteachers (Sander 1996 Wenglisky 20000).
Direct instructions and customized learning.
Directinstructions from teachers elicit cognitive learning that promoteseffective learning among the students. In this case, directinstructions have a direct influence on the cognitive andconstructive aspect of learning (Slavin, 2008). According to Sanders& Rivers (1996), direct instructions elicit a number of learningevents one is that, direct instructions provoke student’sattention, inform learners on the objectives, stimulate learners torecall previous elements of learning and provide learning guidance.The tenets of cognitive and constructivist learning rest on theassumption that, learners mind be provoked in order to develop newinformation, and this is achieved through direct teachersinstructions (Wenglinsky, 2000).
Learners’ ability-grouping methods
Inorder to promote effective learning that encompasses a collaborativeand active participation of the student in the learning processteachers need to adopt an effective grouping method that allows themto impart relevant instructions. Ideally, in normal learning teacherspromote active learning by grouping all students in groups in whichteaching instructions are given to enhance cognitive and constructivelearning (Sanders& Rivers, 1996).
Thegoal of this class grouping allows active participation of allstudents in the learning, students learn from others, saves teachingtime, and the teachers can identify weak students. In particular,the within-class grouping is effective in that it helps the teacherprovide instructions that are commensurate with the group needs(Slavin,2008).In the within-class-grouping, students are grouped according to theirdiverse abilities and assigning each student to a particular group.The goal is to promote individualized assistance to the learners.Within the class, ability grouping is significant in that the teachercan identify and assist weak students with specific instructions.However, this grouping requires an experienced teacher in timemanagement as more class time may be used in group work(Organization for economic co-operation and development (OECD)(2009).
Technology in Class Environment
Inthe modern education system, there are a number of technologicaldevices employed by teachers in aiding effective learning. In allmost junior and senior learning institutions, teachers use computerpresentations, videos, internet and other technologies to enhancemore teaching (Fisher,2010).These technologies provide a remarkable impact in the 21stcentury education by increasing communications and interactionsbetween the teachers and the learners through face to face and onlinelearning (Boettcher,2005).
Technologyhas a great role in enhancing cognitive and constructive learning inschools especially the role it plays in promoting active andcollaborative learning in class. In this case, teachers in highschools can use these technologies to improve learners’ attentionand participation in learning this is in accordance to cognitivistand constructivism theory of learning (Slavin,2008).The modern pedagogy needs to embrace technology inclassroom work as an important aid in enhancing an interactive andattentive learning (Fisher,2010).Education technology not only facilitates cognitive learning, butalso facilitates learning collaboratively and including creativenessthat are key aspects of effective modern teaching and learning.
Teaching motivations for customized learning theory
Theenvironment of learning is made more enchanting by constantlymotivating the students to learn. The goal of an effective teachershould be to assess what motivates the students to learn well, theirchoices, how teachers’ practices influence the students’motivation and how to enhance students’ motivation (Boekaerts,1998).According to researchers, student motivation should be aligned withtheir learning wishes, needs, goals and teachers motivationpractices. Ideally, teachers should assess students’ unfavorablebeliefs regarding particular subjects, topics of teaching practicesthat motivate or demotivate learners.
Inparticular, in order to enhance cognitive and constructive learningteachers should motivate students even when they failure inparticular subjects or topics this means giving the learners ajustifiable solution on how to improve on their actions and skills.The goal of motivating students in such a case is to enable thelearners re-establish good learning where they will succeed (Slavin,2008). In addition, teachers need to enhance a facilitative learningenvironment that will significantly motivate the learners (Boekaerts,1998).Furthermore, the teachers need to transform the curriculum intoskills that learners are interested and find relevant.
Distractions in the learning environment
Ineducation learning environments, effective learning and teaching areaffected by a number of aspects. These may involve troublesomestudents, class arrangement, learners’ idleness, physicalenvironment of the classroom, teachers’ practices andtechnology-enabled learning devices (Boettcher, 2005). All theseaspects create distractions in the learning environment and should beaddressed if effective learning is to take place. Ideally, classarrangement and organization is an important aspect of preventingclass distractions in this case noisy students are placed in thefront row and changing the environment of the class if thesurrounding is noisy (Slavin, 2008).
Inthe same line, student need to be quiet and busy even when theteachers present or conducting the teaching this is achieved byasking students questions. If there are assistive technologicaldevice in the class, it should be switched off while it is not in use(Fisher, 2010).The goal of preventing distractions is to enhance the learningenvironment which promotes cognitive and constructive learning amongthe students (Boettcher, 2005). If the students are in groupings theteacher should supervise the group works in order to minimizedistractions (Wenglinsky, 2000).
LearningCharacteristics (multimodality and ability grouping)
Thebest learning approach for high school students would be groupingstudents in terms of ability this means weaker students are puttogether while brighter students are placed together. The aim is toenhance an individualized teaching assistance in which their specificproblem areas are addressed (Davidson, 2009). In addition, studentsmay be regrouped to reduce distractions from others, noise andovercrowding. In the same line, the class heating and lighting wouldbe improved to reduce bad behaviors and enhance the environment ofgood learning.
Inthis case, the teacher spends good time with the weak students as away of motivating them and ensuring that they re-establish effectivelearning(Boekaerts, 1998).In other cases, students who are well behaved would be separated fromill-behaved students as a way of addressing the specific problems andenhance them to change for better (Wenglinsky, 2000). In thesebehavioral groups, direct instructional techniques are used todecelerate the bad behaviors rewards could be used to motivate thestudents to change their bad behaviors (Davidson, 2009). Similarly, amultimodal approach could be extended to the parents who will assistin rectifying their students’ behaviors (Slavin, 2008). Lastly,teachers need to supervise and manage the students to discouragechances of bad behavior.
Inmy opinion, effective learning and teaching can only be achieved ifthe teacher, the learner and the parent are actively involved inensuring that learning is successful. The parent is there to guide,motivate and encourage their children on the need of taking classworkseriously. In addition, the parent is responsible for motivating thelearner by providing them with basic needs and learning morale. Boththe teacher and the parent should develop a good relationship for thesake of academic success of the child. As such, the three parties(students, parents and teachers) should work in harmony (Sanders &Rivers, 1996).
Aneffective teacher plays an important role in devising good teachingpractices that capture the students’ attention, actively engagesthe students in learning and provides rewards to motivate slowlearners. Therefore, effective learning theory should be focused onthe basic concepts of promoting cognitive and active learning inclass (Slavin, 2008). For instance, effective teachers need tounderstand that, learning cannot take place if the class is in badarrangement, noisy or that some students are weak in learning thanothers (Davidson, 2009). As such an effective teacher is innovativeand understands the effective teaching and learning theories, classenvironment and how to customize the learning theory in order toenhance knowledge-based learning (Allison, 2000).
Effectivelearning and teaching depends on the teachers approach, environment,professionalism and application of the right customized learningtheory that is compatible with the learners. The learning processshould be enjoyable, impactful and motivating teachers need to applyprofessionalism and innovativeness when teaching. Creating aneffective relationship with the learners and the parents is anothermilestone of promoting good learning. The teacher needs to be themanager of class activities to avoid distractions this could beachieved through effective class arrangement. In addition, studentsneed to be grouped in accordance to their level of ability as a wayof enhancing their ability. Lastly, teachers need to use motivationsin order to enhance active and collaborative learning environment.
Allison,S. (2000). Qualities of a good teacher. World education. Boston: MA.Retrieved on August 14, 2014 fromhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/2244138/What-Makes-a-Good-Teacher.
Thissource was important in providing supportive information on thenature of effective teacher. The article presents a clear, detailedand effective description on how an effective teacher should conducttheir teaching. In particular, the article presented the teacher asan important aspect in the learning process in motivating learnersand determines how learners understand class work.
BoekaertsMonique. (1998). Motivation to learn. International Bureau ofEducation. Retrieved on August 14, 2014 from
Thisarticle is insightful on how teachers can enhance motivated classlearning and teaching to enhance active and collaborative learningamong learners. It was a secondary source of information for thisresearch.
Boettcher,J. (2005). Effective learning environments. Retrieved on August 14,2014, fromhttp://www.innovateonline.infoindex.php?view=article&id=54.
Thisarticle provides important information on what constitutes aneffective learning environment, in particular the source laysemphasize on the need of educators to be innovative in class in orderto create an enabling learning environment. The source was used as asecondary source of research information.
DavidsonHellen. (2009). Ability Grouping. Education.com. Retrieved on August14, 2014 fromhttp://www.education.com/reference/article/ability-grouping/
Thearticle was particularly insightful in the research of abilitygrouping in class work. The article focuses on two types of abilitygrouping within class and between class ability groupings. Thearticle was useful in the customized learning theory.
FisherKenn.(2010). Technology-enabled active learning environments anappraisal. Organization for economic co-operation and development(OECD). Universityof Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved on August 14, 2014 from
Thisarticle is insightful on how technology is applied in modern teachingto enhance active and collaborative learning among learners. It was asecondary source of information for this research.
Organizationfor economic co-operation and development (OECD). (2009). Creatingeffective teaching and learning environment. Teaching and LearningInternational survey-TALIS. Retrieved on August 14, 2014 fromhttp://www.oecd.org/education/school/43023606.pdf
Thisarticle was effective in informing this research about past studiesthat have been conducted on the principles of effective teaching andlearning. It was resourceful in this study by providing secondaryinformation on what constitute effective teaching, technology and theenvironment of teaching.
Sanders,W., & Rivers, J. (1996). Cumulative and residual effects ofteachers on future student
academicachievement. In Universityof Tennessee Value-Added Assessment Center, Knoxville, TN. RetrievedAugust 14, 2014, fromhttp://mdk12.org/practices/ensure/tva/tva_2.html
Thearticle presented the teacher as an important aspect in the learningprocess in motivating learners and determines how learners understandclass work.
Slavin,R. (2008). Education Psychology Theory and Practice. New YorkPearson Publishers
Thebook is rich with vast information on the learning theory andpractice that has greatly assisted the research on customizedlearning theory. In particular, the book has detailed arguments andexamples on how the teacher, the learner and the parents contributeto effective learning
Wenglinsky,H. (2000). Howteaching matters: Bringing the classroom back into
discussionsof teacher quality.Princeton,NJ: The Milken Family Foundation and
Thiswas a supportive source of information on customized learning. Thearticle is categorical that teachers are important aspects in thelearning process in facilitating an environment where learnersactively engage in the learning process and determines how learnersunderstand class work.