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Athabasca University

Blended and Online Learning and Teaching (BOLT) 674, 675, 676


Psychology and systems theory underlie instructional design and the originating course Instructional Design: learning theory and systems theory which all contribute to BOLT 674, 675 and 676. These modules examine a broad range of learning theories and explore the role they play in K-12 instructional design such as blended, flipped or completely online learning and teaching. The contributions of various areas of psychology, with an emphasis on constructivist and connectivist models of learning and teaching and its application to educational contexts such as gamification, social networks, collaborative spaces, augmented reality (AR), simulations, mobile learning and apps. An introduction to systems theory, as it applies to instructional design within K-12 education, and systems analysis will also be explored.

Course Outline

BOLT 674 - Learning Theories

  1. Review of behavioural and cognitive theories of learning
  2. Exploration of constructivist and connectivist models of learning

BOLT 675 - Instructional Design Elements

  1. Roles of motivation in learning
  2. The neuroscience of learning

BOLT 676 - Systems Theory and Learning

  1. Introduction to systems theory within K-12 education
  2. Introduction to systems concepts and analysis


After completing these three modules students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the main epistemological orientations that underlie the various theories of learning and interpret these orientations in light of their own views on the teaching-learning process.
  2. Compare and contrast the three major learning theories – Behaviourism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism – that underlie Instructional Design theory and models.
  3. Explain how Behavioural, Cognitive, and Constructivist theories apply to instructional Design, especially that pertaining to blended and online modalities and learning environments.
  4. Describe the major theories of human motivation and explain how these inform Instructional Design, especially pertaining to K-12  blended and online learning environments.
  5. Explain how the neuroscience of learning informs Instructional Design, especially that pertaining to blended and online modalities and learning environments.
  6. Develop a personalized theory of teaching and learning for use in the design of blended, online and other learning environments.
  7. Explain the basis of systems theory which underlies Instructional Design.
  8. Explain why a systems theory framework is important in the design and delivery of education, particularly blended and online.
  9. Analyse various educational delivery in terms of systems models.

Assignment and Learning Experiences

To maintain integrity with the originating graduate courses, the assignments and assessment processes will be divided into equivalent demands within the various modules. Assignments include online discussion forums; reading and reacting to pertinent research; and written explorations of the integration of the module content to individualized professional contexts. Format of assignments will vary from short forum postings to research essays. Proper use of the American Psychological Association (APA) is an expectation and will be reinforced throughout the modules.

Updated June 13 2018 by DE

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