Guest Author - Elizabeth Stuttard
The Theory Into Practice Database exists for educators or at least anyone interested in the field of education. It gives summaries of 50 theories about learning and teaching. These summaries provide a basic outline of the theories that are presented, so it will be necessary for anyone who is interested in a particular theory to do more in depth research on it. Much of this research can be carried out on the internet. However, this database is a great starting point to get an overview of many different theories relevant to education. On this site you can choose three different ways to approach the information Ė by choosing from the list of theories, by choosing from the list of learning concepts, or by choosing from the list of learning domains. This helps immensely if you donít know which of the theories apply to the concept or domain that you are interested in.
One of the things I like about this site is that the information for each theory is presented in the same format so that when you are reading about a theory, you know what information you will read about it. Each of the theories begins with an overview of the theory in which the original researcher or at least the most prominent researcher is identified and a brief description of their basic ideas is given. That is followed by the scope and/or application of the theory, and then an example is presented. The principles of the theory are stated and then finally the references are listed. Of course many theories are related to other theories and in these summaries, links are made to those related theories in the database. Also, after the references, there is usually a list of relevant websites where you can find more information about a particular theory.
The author of this site is Greg Kearsley. He is an independent consultant who designs, develops and teaches online courses. He received a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Alberta in 1978 and since then has taught in many universities in the United States. He has also written many books about technology and education. This database was originally created in 1992, moved to its present site in 2001, and has had several updates since then.
I found this site to be easy to use and very interesting. It is a great place to start if you want to learn about some of the theories about teaching and learning. The summaries of these theories help to reduce the amount of time that it would take to skim through a whole website or a book just to get the basic information about a theory. This website helps you choose the ones that you are most interested in so you can spend your time reading about those you want to in more detail.
I highly recommend this site as a place to begin for any educator who is beginning their search for information on the theories of teaching and learning.
Here is the address of the Theory Into Practice Database if you would like to visit the site: