4Learning Theory and Technology: A Reciprocal Relationship

Peggy A. Ertmer and Timothy J. Newby

4.1 Introduction

More than 100 years ago the field of educational psychology was founded on the general belief that the science of psychology could make a real difference in education (Hall 2003). More specifically, there was the expectation that “psychological learning research would make major contributions to education and with sufficient research, general learning principles would become apparent” (Hall 2003, 22). Although a healthy dose of skepticism has always existed among teachers, especially of learning principles derived from laboratory experiments, Mayer recently claimed, “The road between psychology and education has become a two-way street” (Mayer 2008, 13), suggesting that each is now used to both enlighten and challenge the other.

Schunk (2000) characterized this relationship between research/theory and practice as complementary, that is, neither theory nor practice, by itself, is considered sufficient. On the one hand, theory without experience can lead researchers to over- or under-estimate the effects of specific context-based factors. Conversely, experience without theory can lead practitioners to make costly trial-and-error decisions, which can be inefficient as well as potentially harmful. According to Mayas and De Freitas (2013), our main goal as educational practitioners, then, should be that of achieving alignment between the principles of learning theory and our ...

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