Educational Psychology: Searching for Essence throughout a Century of Influence

Authored by: David C. Berliner

Handbook of Educational Psychology

Print publication date:  May  2006
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805849370
eBook ISBN: 9780203874790
Adobe ISBN: 9781135283520


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We start the 21st century with ideas that had not gained widespread attention until after the middle, or near the end, of the 20th century. In the study of learning, new ideas include situated cognition, constructivism, social constructivism, cultural-historical perspectives, and various other cognitive and Vygotsky-inspired approaches to learning, to name but a few We weave into our studies of learning concerns about metacognition and self-efficacy, topics that were not found to be of great interest until closer to the end of the past century, though such topics were easily found in nascent form in James’s Principles of Psychology and Dewey’s How We Think (Pajares, 2000). In our new century the perspectives of other social and behavioral sciences are now more common. We see this in the development of concern for the idiographic as well as the nomothetic in our research, in employment of design experiments, and in our increased understanding of the sensibility of using multimethod forms of inquiry. We now know that Pasteur’s quadrant (Stokes, 1997) is a proper place for educational psychology to do much of its work, as exemplified by the distinguished research careers of Ann Brown (Palincsar, 2003) and Lauren Resnick (see, for example, Learning Research Development Center, 2001). As we start this new century we also note that the ubiquity of the computer and the creativity of our scholars now provide us with powerful new methods of data analysis, such as hierarchical linear modeling, and powerful ways to visualize the data we obtain from any of our analyses. The computer may also allow brain researchers of this century to finally realize Lashley’s early 20th-century ambitions for the direct physical study of learning.

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