Lesson 3 - Social Cognitive Views of Learning

Lego Junkbot 2

 

http://www.lego.com/build/junkbot2/junkbot2.asp?x=x&login=0

 

Technology Description

The technology I selected is from Lego. Lego Junkbot 2 is a game which teaches problem solving. The concept of the game is for the learner to move Lego blocks to allow the junkbot to maneuver to a trash can. As the junkbot eats the trash in each can, the user collects keycards. There are 15 levels in the first building. Once a learner collects 10 keycards, another building can be accessed. It doesn’t take a lot of problem solving skill to pass each level with a relatively high number of moves. However, each level has a recommended number of moves. The learner needs to establish a plan for each level before they act if they want to accomplish the goal in that few number of moves. For example, the first time I played level one, I completed it in 27 moves. The recommended number is four. One might say that my hand was on the mouse but my mind was not engaged is effective problem solving. Fortunately, each level can be replayed if the learner chooses in order to reduce the number of moves it took them. The second time I played level one, I did it in four moves. When the learner completes the level in the recommended number of moves (or less) they are rewarded with a gold award. The complete game has 60 levels. If a user completes all 60 levels, they can enter their name with their score in the Hall of Fame, which can be accessed from the initial screen.

 

Social Cognitive Learning Theories

Social cognitive learning theories can apply to this software in how it is introduced to the students. The game by itself is really based more on cognitive theory. It is important to instill into the students the nature of problem solving. In order to be successful with this software, students must seek an efficient solution before attacking these problems. In this introduction of the software, the two types of modeling, live model and verbal instructions, can be used. The educator can model ineffective behavior by moving bricks without a plan. Students will see the number of moves advance well beyond the recommendation. Next, the educator models the desired behavior by explaining their thought process of how the level can be conquered. After the thought process is fully verbalized, the educator executes the plan and passes the level within the number of recommended moves. “Students learn academic skills more effectively when models demonstrate not only how to do something but how to think about something” (Ormrod, 2008. p.130.)

 

Another recommendation for use of the game which uses social cognitive theory is to pair students at a machine. This can generate a lot of discussion where students can learn from each other as well as causes them to share the keyboard. Using this game is a good opportunity to discuss the metacognition involved in thinking through a problem as well as the satisfaction the learner receives when solving it. As students imitate the problem solving behavior of the model, they are reinforced by completing the level in a relatively low number of moves.

 

Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis (2008). Human Learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
 
 

 

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