PSYC 7020: CONDITIONS OF LEARNING
Study assistance for objectives and essay questions


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In general, when you write an answer to an essay question you should follow the format you learned in Freshman English:

Some examples of good essay writing are provided by the Educational Testing Service, developer of the GRE-Writing Test.

1. Define educational psychology and discuss how it can help teachers and administrators to carry out their respective roles. Include in your discussion how the use of the scientific method and research have impacted the development of a knowledge base for educational psychology.

A. Define educational psychology

  1. Define and differentiate the following terms: psychology, education, educational psychology, schooling, learning, and teaching.
  2. Name and discuss the types of topics that might be of interest to educational psychologists.
  3. Name and discuss four different ways of knowing and validating truth.

B. Educational research

  1. Define and differentiate the following terms: science, paradigm, measurement, evaluation, research, reliability, and validity.
  2. Name and discuss 5 levels of scientific knowledge (fact, concept, principle, theory, law.) How do these terms relate to the concept of a scientific hypothesis?
  3. Define and differentiate 3 types of research studies used in educational psychology (descriptive, correlational, experimental.) How can we establish cause and effect relationships? What conditions must be met in order to have a true experimental study? Why is this difficult in educational psychology? How are these type of studies related to the 4 major methods of collecting data used in research and/or evaluation?

*2. Draw and discuss a model of the teaching-learning process. Name and define each of the categories of variables in your model and identify some of the research that has been used to build the model. (Be certain to identify the source of your model.)

Compare and contrast the categories of Context, Input, Classroom Processes, and Output. Which category is most important? Why? What are some of the most important variables within each category? Why do you believe these are the most important? What is the relationship among variables in these categories as they relate to variables in other categories, especially student achievement?

3. Provide an overview of the systems model of human development presented in class, describing how the humanistic, cognitive and behavioral learning/development theories address different factors in this model.

The ancient Greeks discussed human beings in terms of mind, body and spirit. What are the 3 components of mind and what are some topics of interest to educational psychologists associated with each? What are the two aspects of body discussed in the model? Would you include spirit in your model of human behavior? If so, how would you define it?

What are the 3 major categories of contextual influences on human behavior? Give examples of subcategories within each category with specific examples of an important variable for each subcategory. [Hint: Relate to information provided in the presentation on the systems model of the teaching/learning process.]

How does a scientific view of human behavior compare with other methods of establishing knowledge?

*4. Discuss at least 5 important factors that are presently influencing or are likely to influence education during the next 20 years. Include in your discussion the impact the transition to the information age is having on the required knowledge, attitudes, and skills required for successful living. Make recommendations on how professional educators should respond to changing conditions.

What is a paradigm? What is a trend? According to many futurists, what is the most important trend occuring today? Why is this important? What are 4 other trends you believe are important for educators to consider? How are these trends related to the most important trend and to each other? How should educators change their normal activities in order to help students be prepared for the impact these trends will have on their lives?

*5. Name and discuss the essential foundations and competencies needed to work effectively in the information age as developed by the (U.S. Department of Labor) Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). Discuss Dr. Huitt's critique of the SCANS report in terms of important attitudes, knowledge, and skills for being successful in the information age? How do these compare to the concept "Becoming a Brilliant Star?" What evidence would you use to persuade students, parents, educators and community members that these are indeed important?

What is the SCANS report? Who prepared it and why is it important? What is the basis of Huitt's critique? How does this relate to the 9 dimensions of the Brilliant Star? (Be specific; select specific qualities or characteristics in the SCANS report and relate them to specific attributes that may or may not be in Huitt's critique or in the Brilliant Star. [Hint: Relate information reviewed in question #3 to specific attributes or qualities or skills in SCANS report.]

6. Discuss the research relating to the effects of teacher expectations and efficacy on student performance. What can teachers do to maximize the positive effects of teacher expectations?

Define teacher efficacy and differentiate it from teacher expectations. How does Proctor's model relate to the teaching/learning model discussed previously. What are some specific domains or topics that teachers should be concerned with if they want to improve their efficacy?

7. Compare and contrast four major behavioral theories of learning, giving examples of how each of these can be used in the teaching-learning process.

What is the function of the behavioral system in the systems model of human behavior? What is the primary assumption that underlies all behavioral theories? What are some major topics studied in educational psychology that relate to this system? Compare and contrast: 1) Contiguity theory, 2) Classical (Respondent) Conditioning, 3) Operant (Instrumental) Conditioning, and 4) Observational (Social Learning) Theory. Why is each of these important in the study of educational psychology?

*8. Define operant learning and give original examples of how consequences can be used to change behavior using this theory. Discuss how this theory can be applied to the teaching-learning process, including how the Premack principle can be used to determine reinforcers. Additionally, name and define each of the schedules of reinforcement, and give an example of each kind as it might be used in the classroom.

Why is operant conditioning so important to educator's today? How does it differ from classical conditioning?

Use the following terms to define and differentiate methods used in operant conditioning: increase, decrease, desired/pleasant, undesired/aversive, present, remove, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, response cost, extinction. What is the basis for differentiating schedules of reinforcement (i.e., continuous, fixed interval, fixed ratio, variable interval, variable ratio)?

9. Define and discuss the major viewpoints and theories related to the cognitive system in the systems model of human behavior.

What is the function of the cognitive system of the human mind. What are some major topics studied in educational psychology that relate to this system? Why is each of these important in the study of educational psychology?

*10. Define and differentiate the stage, levels-of-processing, parallel distributed processing, and connectionist models of information processing. Draw and discuss the information-processing model of memory and give an example of how it works. Discuss the kinds of stimuli likely to arouse the orienting response and describe how short-term memory and long-term memory operate. Discuss some principles for getting information into both types of memory. How might these principles be implemented to improve instruction?

Why are there different theories of information processing in human beings? Why are these approaches important for educators? Be specific when describing the model of memory, paying special attention to limits for each stage, if any. Be specific in terms of recommendations, discussing which aspect of memory might be affected.

11a. Describe each of the six levels of Bloom's taxonomy of the cognitive domain, providing an original example of actions students might take to demonstrate competency at each level.

What is the cognitive domain? How is it similar to and different from the affective and psychomotor domains? Why is the cognitive domain important in the information age? Is the taxonomy truly a hierarchy? If not, how should it be modified?

11b. What evidence exists, pro and con, for the use of higher-level and lower-level questions in classes? Based on this evidence what would your recommendations be concerning the use of each type in the classroom?

How does the issue of lower- and higher-level questions relate to Bloom's cognitive domain?

*12a. Give a definition of intelligence that you could defend, explaining why you believe you could defend it. Give examples of ways your definition of intelligence might be measured and skills people might have who would do well on those measures. Describe how would you differentiate measures of intelligence from measures of achievement?

What are the different approaches to defining intelligence (psychometric, learning, cognitive, triarchic, multiple)? What are some advantages and disadvantages of each approach? In general, which approach do you favor and why?

*12b. Suppose you were asked to give a talk to parents and educators on the topic "Can IQ scores be raised?" You are asked to discuss both the hereditarian and environmental aspects of the issue. What would your arguments be for both a strong hereditarian position and a strong environmentalist position? Be certain to give specific suggestions from an environmentalist perspective on how IQ could be raised.

How does the issue of IQ relate to the major approaches to the study of intelligence? Why are twins studies the major source of data related to the influence of heredity on intelligence? Why is the Tennessee example used by those who favor a nuturance approach to influencing intelligence? How are the characteristics of researchers related to their view of heredity and environment as influences on intelligence? Why is this issue of relevance to educators?

*13a. Describe intellectual development according to Piaget, including a discussion of both the process and the stages of development. Note behavioral characteristics of each stage, describing how assimilation and accommodation are exemplified for each stage of development. Describe specific actions that teachers can take to incorporate Piaget's theory into the classroom.

Who was Piaget and why is his theory of importance to educators? How did his early experiences influence his viewpoint on the development of intelligence?

What are the meanings of the following terms: schema, reflex, adaptation, equilibration, homeostasis, assimilation, accomodation, object permanence, conservation, operation? What produces energy to act in Piaget's theory? How is this similar to or different from Freud's, Maslow's, and Erikson's theories?

What is the evidence to support or refute Piaget's theory? Why is this issue important to educators today? [Hint: Be certain to describe both the PROCESSES and STAGES related to Piaget's theory.]

13b. Discuss what is meant by the statement that "the schemata one brings to learning might be the most important determiner of what is learned." How might this statement influence teacher behavior?

What is the difference between the terms schema and schemata? How do these terms relate to the topics of World View Paradigm, Values, Conation, and Information Processing discussed earlier?

14. Define critical thinking and discuss why it is an important topic to be addressed by today's educators. How is critical thinking similiar to and different from creativity?

How has the definition of critical thinking changed over the past two decades? Which definition of critical thinking do you prefer? How is critical thinking related to the topics of Values and Information Processing discussed earlier? Is critical thinking more important, equally important, or less important than creative thinking in the information age? Why?

15. Define metacognition and describe five ways to help students increase their metacognitive skills.

What does the the "meta" mean? How has this prefix been used earlier in this course? How does metacognition relate to the SCANS report? Why is this issue especially relevant in the information age?

16. What is the SQ3R/SQ4R/PQ4R method of study? What is the relationship of study habits and attitudes to achievement? What can you as a teacher do to improve these in students?

Be specific about what you as an educator can do to help students in each step of the study process.

17. Name and discuss the major viewpoints and theories related to the affective/emotional system in the systems model of human behavior.

What is the function of the affective system of the human mind. What are some major topics studied in educational psychology that relate to this system? Why is each of these important in the study of educational psychology?

*18a. Name and define five values you believe are especially important for students in the 21st century. Support your proposal with research, theory, and statements the requirements of being successful in an information age economy. How would recommend educators go about teaching those values?

What is a value? How does it relate to a belief? An attitude? A skill? What are some examples of values presented in the SCANS report? In Huitt's critique and subsequent summary of successful attributes for the information age? [Hint: Relate back to content on the information age and desired student outcomes.] Be specific about the approaches and methods you would use to teach each value.

18b. Describe each of the five levels of Krathwol's affective domain, providing an original example of actions students might take to demonstrate competency at each level.

What is the affective domain? How is it similar to and different from the cognitive and psychomotor domains? Why is the affective domain important in the information age?

*19. Name and describe Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. Note behaviors associated with each stage and the implications of the theory for classroom practice. Evaluate the theory--that is, what evidence exists for its validation or what evidence would lead you to reject it?

Be able to describe the overall purpose of the theory, the approximate ages for each stage and what educators can do to help children develop appropriately in each stage? Why is this theory important? How does this relate to Maslow's theory? To Piaget's theory?

20. Describe how optimism and enthusiasm might influence the teaching/learning process.

Differentiate opitmism and pessimism? Who are some major researchers in this area? Differentiate enthusiasm from apathy? Why are these two concepts especially important in the information age?

21. Name and discuss the major viewpoints and theories related to the regulatory system in the systems model of human behavior.

What is the function of the regulatory system of the human mind? What are some major topics studied in educational psychology that relate to this system? Why is each of these important in the study of educational psychology?

22. Define the terms self-concept and self-esteem and discuss how these might influence learning.

What is meant by the term "self?" What is self-concept? How does it relate to self-esteem? To self-determination? To self-control? How does self-concept relate to academic achievement? Is there a correlational or causal relationship? What can teachers do to improve students' academic self-concepts?

23. Name and discuss the stages in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. How does this theory relate to achieving excellence in the nine areas of life presented in the "Becoming a Brilliant Star" exercise discussed in class?

What is the difference between a deficiency need and a growth need? Where does need for academic achievement fall in this hierarchy? What are some implications of this for educators? What is the research support for this theory?

What are the nine different areas of the Brilliant Star? How does each area relate to the systems model of human behavior? To the SCANS report? To Maslow's theory? Why are these issues of importance to educators?

24. Name and discuss the major principles and objectives of humanistic education. Describe what a teacher might do in order to implement these principles. Summarize the findings from the meta-analyses examining the outcomes of open education discussed in your text. Include findings regarding both achievement and affective outcomes.

What is the evidence (if any) to support the principles and objectives of humanistic education? In general, have open education programs met the goals established for them? How does facilitative instruction differ from other humanistically-oriented educational programs? Does that method have different results in terms of attitudes and achievement?

*25.  Discuss social learning theory and the social cognitive theory of learning. Define conation, describe how it works and how it might develop. How does goal-setting impact conation and learning? How does conation relate to self-regulation and self-control? What can educators do to help students develop conation?

What are some other terms for conation? How does conation relate to dreams, visions, goals and needs? What are some indicators of conation? How can educators help students develop conation?

*26. Define learning and compare and contrast the factors that behavioral, cognitive and humanistic, and behavioral theorists believe influence the learning process. Mention ways in which the theories are alike and ways in which they are different and how each can be used by educators to improve student learning.

Use the table provided to define and differentiate the 3 major theoretical approaches to learning (i.e., relatively permanent change in behavior or behavior potential as a result of experience or practice.) Present examples of how each approach can be used in the classroom. [Hint: Go back to previous discussions of these approaches and select specific, representative examples of classroom applications most appropriate for the information age.]

*27. Name and discuss at least 5 principles of learning that most learning theorists agree on, regardless of their theoretical orientation. Give specific examples of how these principles could be used in the classroom.

What is the basis for you selection of the 5 principles you want to discuss. Have you selected a "variety" of principles? Describe the source (theory or research) for each of the principles you selected.

28. Discuss how your view of humankind's spiritual nature might influence your interpretation of human growth and development literature as well as the teaching/learning process.

Do you believe this is an appropriate topic to be discussed in this course? Has this topic been discussed in other courses? Why or why not? How do you approach this topic with your students? Do you do so in an ethical, professional manner? Would you want someone with different beliefs to approach this topic in the same manner you do?

29. Describe the structure and functioning of the brain and other components of humankind's biological nature that might influence human growth and development as well as the teaching/learning process.

What do you find especially interesting about the human brain? What is your "brain lateralization" preference? How does the research on the human brain relate to the topics discussed related to the regulatory system (especially paradigm, self-concept and conation), the affective system (especially optimism and the unconscious), and the cognitive system (especially information processing and intelligence)?

*30. Define character and describe why it may be an important issue for today's educators. Describe three different approaches to impacting character development and relate these to theories and issues discussed in the course.

How does educating for character development relate to values education? What are some major influences on character development? What are some major outcome measures? How important is character development in the information age?

31. Name and discuss Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Is it possible to train people to make advances along these stages? Compare Kohlberg's theory to Gilligan's theory of female moral development.

How does Kohlberg's theory of moral development relate to Piaget's theory of cognitive development (be specific in terms of process and stages)? Why is Gilligan's research so important in this area? Discuss the research support for these two theories.

*32a. Define motivation and discuss why a concept like motivation is or is not necessary in a model of teaching and learning and human behavior. If it is necessary to what aspects of learning might it apply? Discuss how the concepts of underachievement and overachievement might be related to motivation.

How does motivation relate to intelligence or ability? How do the theories of learning discussed previously relate to the concept of motivation? Which approach do you prefer? Give specific examples of how you as a professional educator can use different approaches to motivation.

How can someone be an overachiever?

*32b. Discuss the differences between internal and external motivation. Describe the positions that behaviorists, cognitivists and humanists might take on this distinction. How might the three major theories of learning help you to decide what you can do as a teacher or administrator to influence student motivation?

How do theories of learning relate to internal verses external motivation? Which approaches seem to work best for you? Why?

*33. Name and define the major aspects of the systems model of human behavior presented in class. Be certain to distinguish between internal and external influences on development. Explain why context is such an important aspect of human behavior at this point in history. How can such a model help educators in their professional roles?

Your answer to this question will summarize what you have learned in this course. Your organization of the content as well as utilizing an appropriate level of detail is critically important. [Hint: Review the help to Objective 6.]

34. Discuss J. B. Carroll's model of school learning. Relate Carroll's model to Bloom's model of mastery learning and to the concept of Academic Learning Time.

Why is John Carroll's model so important in the history of educational psychology? How did it impact Ben Bloom's work? How did it impact educational research in the 1960s and 1970s? How does his model relate to the Systems Model of the Teaching/Learning Process discussed in this class?

*35. Define and discuss academic learning time and how it might be improved? (be specific about whether the proposed changes relate to the school or to the classroom; if to the classroom, whether they relate to instruction or management).

Define and differentiatate the following terms related to school time: school year, attendance year, school day, allocated time, engagement rate, engaged time, time on task, time on target, academic learning time? Which time variable is the best predictor of student achievement? Why?

How can educators improve academic learning time? Be specific about what state and local policy boards, principals and teachers can do. [Hint: Relate improvements to the Systems Model of the Teaching/Learning Process.]

36. Describe why planning is an important classroom activity. Name and define the major steps often used by educators in the planning process. Provide an original example of how you might use this process. Write an instructional objective for six different topics according to the standards set forth by either Mager or Gronlund.

Relate the concept of planning to having a target and a starting point before describing what you are going to do. When writing objectives, if you use Mager, be certain to have a student behavior, a condition statement and a criteria statement. If you use Gronlund, include enough representative specific statements to convey meaning to the general statement.

37. Name and discuss four different categories of models of instruction, relating each category to a specific goal and/or desired outcome as described in the systems model of human behavior.

How do these categories relate to the learning theories discussed above? How important are the outcomes advocated by instructional developers in each of these categories in the information age? Give specific examples of programs for each category.

*38. Name and describe at least three general categories of classroom management activities a teacher might use if implementing a behavioral approach to classroom management, giving original examples of each. State which of these principles would be especially important during the first week of school year, and why.

What are three different approaches to classroom management? [Hint: Relate each approach to an approach to learning.] Why might the behavioral approach demonstrate such effectiveness? How do the major categories of management events relate to the major categories of instructional events?

39. Summarize the findings of the 1982 follow-up study regarding the lasting educationally significant effects of early education compensatory education programs for low-income children. What recommendations would you make for continuing these types of programs?

How much does $1 invested properly in early education programs return to society? What seem to be the major benefits of these programs? Why do you think more money is not being invested in these programs?

40. Name and discuss how technology can be applied to instruction and give an example of how you might use different technologies as a professional educator.

Give some examples of important technologies that educators can and have used. How can computers be used most effectively in the school and/or classroom?

41. Define and contrast the following terms related to measurement and evaluation of educational outcomes, giving original examples of each:

a) reliability and validity;
b) formative and summative evaluation; and
c) criterion-referenced and norm-referenced tests.

Discuss how and when these concepts would be important in classroom assessment, evaluation, and grading practices relative to the important variables discussed in this course.

How are reliability and validity related? When would you use formative and summative evaluations? Criterion- and norm-referenced evaluations? Why are norm-referenced evaluations mainly advocated by non-educators?

What is the purpose of grades? Who is the major beneficiary(ies) of the current approach towards grading? What can you do to take into account the normal errors made in the process of assigning grades? What is the major difficulty in using authentic assessment?


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