Learning in the “third world” hidden within the developed culture of the United States with a focus on Piaget’s theories of learning.

In the studies of psychologist, Jean Piaget concerning how children learn, one focus is on adaptation. To discuss this I will use the” third world” as an example; and please keep in mind that this “third world” in concept and culture does exist within the United States, it is merely hidden from view to avoid social stigma. I call it plainly living third world in the first world, as I have done so myself for a good portion of my youth. Living in the “third world” without basic comforts of food, clean drinking water and toilet facilitates, the adequate access to technology is not a priority in thought. This environment tends to impact a child’s ability to adapt. The lack of the ability to adapt stunts the process of learning. As the developed world changes and becomes immersed in technology while poverty within the United States still includes undernourishment, inadequate housing, lack of heat or cooling devices, basic communication devices, and other “necessities” of productive existence, it becomes even direr the barriers facing these individuals. This is one reason why using emerging technologies to help people assimilate into a technologically developed world will allow them the opportunity to overcome poverty and other characteristics associated with this “third world” analogy.

Beyond providing the opportunities for technology is the application of emerging technologies in education. This involves several motivational theories. The Presentational view uses “emerging” technologies to make a significant change to how educational information is presented. Instead of reading a book and learning through text or watching a video and being taught another component of the knowledge through visual and audio, multimedia presentation combines these multiple forms into a more engaging and interactive learning option. I consider this particularly beneficial when face to face student to teacher and student to student opportunities do not exist due to distance barriers, This does not entail that such presentations do not benefit more traditional learning environments, instead my intention is that these types of presentations benefit distance learners more so due to the lack of other tactile and sensory educational stimuli that traditional students have.

Performance tutoring, in contrast , has less applications in overcoming barriers due to the restrictions it places on individuals who must then coordinate with partners and other participants.  Although the educational value may be present its actual application can be limiting based on the learners ability or inability to participate. The Connectivism theory is basically a networked application. Learning and developing through peer and mentor connections. It is a cultural and social application of education. This is beneficial in some environments however much like performance tutoring can be inhibited to barriers that the individual learner may face.

The Epistemic-Engagement theory can be applied to either traditional or distance learning with equal success and benefit as it is a motivational focused theory. Being project based and based on the interests and needs of the learner themselves. Where the initial Presentational theory seems one sided where the learner is merely an observer and an absorber, the Performance Tutoring theory adds to that the level of duel participation, the epistemic-engagement theory adds a third layer of significant and personal learner commitment. I would be comfortable using the Presentational aspect with an Epistemic-Engagement focus as primary theoretical applications. The interdisciplinary approach to learning is the most logical when developing applications for education to reach the broadest number of learners facing the widest range of challenges. The Performance Tutoring approach, again is beneficial when and if it does not interfere with the learners ability to participate due to barriers of time, distance, resources, or other outliers.

This is similar to the Heutagogy theory which is based on self-directed learning. By encouraging learning that supports individual learner’s goals you have effectively motivated them to learn through the process of problem solving and planning to achieve said goals. The learner is kept engaged because they have a personal interest and are self-driven to learn. Heutagogy, Epistemic-Engagement, and Presentation, are the theories I can most relate to that would benefit from networked learning. Examples of learning environments and applications that I might incorporate these theories in would be open source learning and exploratory learning for independent non-traditional students of various ages and levels.

This form of networked learning however is less applicable in a learning environment that may be utilized by a corporation. Because the business world often seeks to educate employees in teacher dependent ways, to present information that is business specific and guarded, familiar groups and closed classrooms, even when distance based, are the most likely options.

Because I work in a virtual environment that is required to train its employees using e-learning, distance learning and the most effective technology available, effective is defined as  cost effectiveness in regards to short term and long term applications, it makes career sense to focus on the corporate employee as my learning audience. Overcoming poverty and helping to reduce the subculture of the third world in America is a personal and motivation goal,  I have. This can be achieved in part by promoting the virtual workforce as a career option and helping to create the virtual culture through networked learning.


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