Smith and Ragan, “Analyzing the Learner”

What I found most immediately useful and orienting in this chapter were the “four major categories of learner characteristics”—“cognitive (general and specific), physiological, affective, and social” (72). I also found interesting (if a little surprising, I suppose), is the authors’ claim that “[s]pecific prior knowledge is generally the most important single learner characteristic to consider” (72). One of the things I am interested to learn more about is the notion (mentioned only briefly by the authors, almost as an aside) that “[a]n understanding of the stages of [learners’] moral development can be quite helpful to designers, particularly as they design for attitude objectives, design instructional management strategies, or design instruction in psychosocial content areas” (68).

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