Podcast Interview

Friday, April 1, 2011

Social Learning Theory

Based on this week’s learning resources we discussed the social learning theory. Social constructivists believe along with the integration of technology that our students learn best when working in group settings and guiding their own learning. When students are able to work together, using technology or not, they are able to construct meaning for new knowledge by interacting with each other (Pitler, et al, 2010). They also talk about how students are successful learners when they are able to make connections to what they are learning. I believe a huge part of learning is just being able to get the students to make connections to what they are learning. If they can relate the topic to something they already previously know then you are going to have that much more success as a teacher because students have already made that connection to prior experiences so they are already aware of the what you are talking about.
That being said along with working in groups allowing students to share knowledge or help guide each other is another tremendous way to help students succeed. In my physical education classes we do mostly all partner or team activities. Not only in physical education is it necessary to work in teams and working cooperatively with others but it is a big part of success in the gymnasium. Students guide and learn from each other with things they are successful with and things they struggle with. Being able to work together not only helps the students out but it helps the teacher who can’t always get to each student in a timely manner for help. Not only working together but while incorporating technology , for example; having a power point on the smart board watching students play a game that others are not familiar with helps the overall understanding better than just a demonstration from the teacher. You can see the students actually in the game setting and it being played. Often during a demonstration you just break down the skills and it is tough for the students to get a good grasp. Have social group work is a great way for all students to be successful. Students love being able to talk with their peers and work together. Not only does it raise interest in what they are learning but they get to do it together where they can help each other and students are not left behind if they don’t understand things on their own.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


  1. I think you made a good connection between the social aspects of learning and student ability to make connections with new knowledge. As students work together, they are able to experience the context for new learning, thus deepening understanding and retention. The knowledge being present is no longer isolated - the student learn new information, practice with others, take and give feedback, improve on the knowledge, and then reflect back on what was learned. While going through this social process, students have more opportunities to make connections to previous knowledge or adjust their own schema if needed.

  2. I never thought of applying the Social Learning Theory to physical education. However, it makes sense to have to build team or partner activities based on the other person(s) input into the activity. It is obvious that learning in this environment is dependent on group participation and building off of each others knowledge and teaching along the way. I am curious, how do you incorporate differentiation/participation for those students who think Physical Education is not 'cool?'

  3. I am curious as to what types of technology you use in your classroom. You suggest the use of Powerpoint on the SmartBoard to watch students play a game. Do you have access to a SmartBoard for physical education? I agree that the opportunity to watch students play a game is a way to show students the final step in a process that involves learning new skills. Another idea may be to have students create their own training videos to share with their classmates.