Unit Three: Origins and Theory


Overview and Purpose

In our third unit we will learn about the origin of the advance organizer, which has roots in cognitive and constructivist theory. We will consider the influence of theorists like Jerome Bruner and David Ausubel, who not only coined the term advance organizer, but vetted it with contemporary academics and made the approach what it is today.

Bruner and Ausubel both made significant contributions to educational psychology. Ausubel's Subsumption theory has practical implications for the use of advance organizer approaches, and Bruner's work led him to develop the concept of scaffolding in instruction. We will look at each theorist and their theories, and our activity will involve a comparative analysis in the context of advance organizers.

David Ausubel

Primary Objective

Learners will be able to identify the theoretical and pedagogical origins of this content design approach.




Cognitive Theorists: Comparative Analysis

Consider the two cognitive theorists we have examined in this unit and their contributions to the constructivist educational theories behind advance organizer approaches.

Given that Bruner focuses on the symbolic organization of instruction while Ausubel's focus in on linking new information with preexisting knowledge, create two versions of an advance organizer for the lesson you looked at in Unit 2. Make one version that would reflect Bruner's principles and another that would reflect Ausubel's.

Remember that an advance organizer will always rely on part of Ausubel's principles, which is to say the linking of new knowledge with prior or existing knowledge must be part of your approach to both theorists. However, the look and utility of each will be different, given that you know Bruner emphasizes symbolic representation of information and Ausubel relies on giving learners choice in the creation of new knowledge.

Do some research using the following resources and the resources provided in the Unit, but try doing some of your own research, as well. If you find a great resource in developing this activity, share it with the class.

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References and Resources

Cooper, S. (2009). David Ausubel: Meaningful Verbal Learning. Life Circles, Inc. Found at: http://www.lifecircles-inc.com/Learningtheories/constructivism/ausubel.html

Culatta, R. (2013). Subsumption Theory (D. Ausubel). InnovativeLearning.org. Found at: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/subsumption-theory.html

ICT3. (2013). Advance Organizer Model (Ausubel). Wikispaces.com. Found at: http://ict3year.wikispaces.com/Advanced+Organizer+%28Ausubel%29

Hannum, W. (2005). Learning Theory Fundamentals. Found at: http://theoryfundamentals.com/index.html

MacLeod, S. (2008). Learning Theory in Education: Bruner. SimplyPsychology.org. Found at: http://www.simplypsychology.org/bruner.html

Metha, Y. (2009). Jerome Bruner Learning Theory. Slideshare. Found at: http://www.slideshare.net/sanjeevmehta52/jerome-bruner-learning-theory