Way back, when I started my career, I was taught about content types. It stuck with me for the value it generated and I believe it to be the core of ID.
The learning theories can be applied to a wide range of content and contexts, but we cannot pinpoint a unique learning theory for each type of content. As an ID, it’s pertinent for you to understand the learning theories fully to be able to make an educated guess on how to support learning rather than use any random idea that comes to mind.
Primarily you can categorize any content into five types – Fact, Concept, Principle, Process, or Procedure. While I was writing about these content types, I chanced upon the Entelechy’s Designing Training Based on Five Content Types and used a few examples from there too.
Along with the content types, I have combined the learning theories to make it easy to apply for designing the learning experiences.
Behaviorism focuses on the role of reinforcement in shaping behavior. It may be relevant when teaching facts or procedures, as these involve step-by-step instructions that can be reinforced through rewards or consequences.
Cognitivism emphasizes the role of mental processes in learning. It may be relevant for teaching concepts, as this involves understanding and applying abstract ideas.
Constructivism emphasizes the role of the learner in constructing their own understanding of the environment. It may be relevant for teaching principles, as this involves learners making connections between different pieces of information and developing their own understanding of how they fit together.
The most appropriate learning theory to use will depend on the specific learning goals, objectives, and outcomes as well as the needs and characteristics of the learners. It may be useful to consider using a combination of learning theories to address different aspects of the content and facilitate a more comprehensive learning experience.
Let’s look into these five primary content types.