This fourth post of notes toward a Tablet PC Learning Research Agenda gives priority to learner views of acquiring new behavior. All posts in this series address aspects of learning efficiency as a way to increase learning rates.
The first post proposed a Children's Research Center for Mobile PC Learning. The second started a list of research questions that a proposed Symposium on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education Learning might address. The third began a glossary about Tablet PC learning research, especially measures of outcomes.
I consider this effort a way to clarify how an Association of Public School Learners and a National Association for Public School Learning might help account for increased academic performance in an emerging era of open learning.
A Learner View of Learning
It seems reasonable to assume that learners implicitly ask a series of six (6) generic questions when faced with a new task to perform. Most people who have encountered any instruction will recognize these questions as those each of us has considered at least once. Each question has a corresponding behavioral learning theory set of options instructors may use to increase learning efficiency.
Q 1: What must I learn to do? For example, see a color, squiggle, meaning of a squiggle, and/or hear a key word or phrase?
Q 2: How must I learn to do it? For example, where do I look, what for and which words and sounds must I hear to learn it? What moves do I make with my fingers? Can I choose from options you provide, or must I make my response some other way? How much guessing must I do? How fast must I do each thing? When will these presentations repeat?
Q3: What will it cost me to learn it? For example, how much time will this take me, seconds or minutes? How much of that time will I waste waiting for the instructor to give the next point? What other learning will I miss while waiting? Must I sit still or can I move around? How do I know I will I gain more than I give? Who or what controls what I give?
Q4: How will I know I learned it? For example, will a smiley face appear or bells ring automatically when I write the correct response? Will I know tomorrow after someone marks my response?
Q5: How will I show I learned it? For example, will I write something, choose something, fill in something missing, copy something? Who or what says whatever I do means I learned it, know it, understand it, can use it?
Q6: So what? What do I get for my cost? Stated another way, why should I learn whatever I decide to learn or what the program or another person says I should learn? For example, what benefit will I get for my cost, such as for my welfare gain, profit or advantage?
What generic questions would you include from a learner's view and what learning theories would instructors use to address each question?
More notes toward a research agenda
Future posts will continue to coordinate aspect of previous notes and fill in gaps to offer a possible research agenda useful to teachers, behavioral scientists, and software developers.
I appreciate your comments, so please let me know your thoughts, responses, etc. to this series and to the idea of building a behavioral science research agenda about Tablet PC learning.