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H809 – Own taxonomy of learning theories (A7.5)

March 30, 2011


I first thought on Blooms taxonomy and translated taxonomy with a kind of top five list of my favourite learning theories. But checking Wikipedia (2011) for a definition of the word taxonomy I found out that taxonomy does not necessarily equals hierarchy, but means ‘order’ or ‘arrangement’.

Unfortunately, this time I had no colleague to compare how s/he approached the activity (at least not at the moment of writing), and other tutor forums did not provide much information either, except for one contribution from on colleague. She presented all the learning theories that Conole et al. (2004) listed in her paper, including the main characteristics and  literature, but expanded her table by some extra comment and she applied the Hybrid Learning Model (HLM) we get to know in H800. The HLM breaks down activities in 8 Learning Events and provide to each learning event appropriate verbs that describe the role of the students and teachers. The 8 Learning events are:

  • experiments
  • creates
  • imitates
  • practices
  • explores
  • receives
  • debates
  • meta-learns (as kind of overarching learning event)

Personally I found this model quite helpful to design a learning activity.

Table 1 in Conole et al.’s paper already provide the main information about the main characteristics, their potential for e-learning applications and the literature, thus it does not make a lot of sense to list them here again. For those interested please have a look at Conole’s paper. Hence, I am still quite unsure if this is what the activity asked us to do.

Yet, the title of the activity is critical reflection. So let’s reflect a little bit.

Conole’s paper is very valuable in terms of exploring existing learning theories. I find Table 1 in the paper particularly helpful, especially the column ‘potential e-learning applications’. I view the model suited to a limited extent, but it is in interesting option to visualise and categorise a theory and showing the inter-relationships between the components. However, the assignment to one component seems pretty restrictive. I think activities are sometimes located somewhere between the dimensions, along the continuum, e.g. somewhere in the middle of experience and information, or between reflection and non-reflection.

To use the language of the authors – the usefulness of the paper ‘lies somewhere along a continuum, with being very helpful, informative and practicable at one end, and unhelpful, not applicable and offering less information at the other. This reading tends towards the helpful, informative and practicable end, yet achieved not full points, but probably a 79  😉


Conole, G., Dyke, M., Oliver, M. and Seale, J. (2004) ‘Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design’, Computers & Education, vol. 43, nos. 1–2, pp. 17–33; also available online at (Accessed 2 December 2010).

Hybrid Learning Model (2007) ‘Hybrid Learning Model’ CETL(NI): Institutional E-Learning Services. University of Ulster. Available from: [Accessed 30 March 2011]

Wikipedia (2011) Taxonomy [online] Available from: (accessed 30 March 2011).

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