A task which contains important elements of things that learners would
do in real (non-classroom situations). To be authentic, a task should
require learners to construct their own answers rather than choose
between provided answers, and to work with the same tools and data
they would use in real life.
A theory of learning whose central principle is stimulus and response,
and whose goal is to explain behavior without recourse to internal
mental states or other unobservables.
See also cognitivism.
The act of grouping related concepts together so that they can be
stored and processed as a single unit.
Cognitive Load Theory:
Cognitive load is the amount of mental
effort required to solve a problem. Cognitive load theory divides
this effort into intrinsic, extraneous, and germane, and holds
that people learn faster and better when extraneous load is reduced.
A theory of learning that holds that mental states and processes can
and must be included in models of learning.
See also behaviorism.
Community of Practice:
A self-perpetuating group of people who share and develop a craft or
occupation, such as knitters, musicians, or programmers.
See also legitimate peripheral
Someone who can do normal tasks with normal effort under normal
See also novice and expert.
A picture of a mental model in which concepts are nodes in a graph
and relationships are (labelled) arcs.
A theory of learning which emphasizes its social aspects, particularly
as enabled by the Internet and other technologies.
A theory of learning that views learners as actively constructing
A person’s understanding of a subject.
See also general pedagogical
knowledge and pedagogical content
The act of observing performance of a task while doing it in order to
The degree to which a wrong answer to a question or exercise tells the
instructor what misconceptions a particular learner has.
The study of how people learn.
See also instructional design.
Someone who can diagnose and handle unusual situations, knows when the
usual rules do not apply, and tends to recognize solutions rather than
reasoning to them.
See also competent practitioner and
Expert Blind Spot:
The inability of experts to empathize with novices who are
encountering concepts or practices for the first time.
The use of graphical, physical, or verbal aids to augment thinking.
A series of examples in which a steadily increasing number of key
steps are blanked out.
See also scaffolding.
The belief that an ability is innate, and that failure is due to a
lack of some necessary attribute.
See also growth mindset.
The ability to move quickly between different models of a problem.
Assessment that takes place during a lesson in order to give both the
learner and the instructor feedback on actual understanding.
See also summative assessment.
General Pedagogical Knowledge:
A person’s understanding of the general principles of teaching.
See also content knowledge and pedagogical
The belief that ability comes with practice.
See also fixed mindset.
A feeling of insecurity about one’s accomplishments that manifests as
a fear of being exposed as a fraud.
Working actively to include people with diverse backgrounds and needs.
The practice of allowing learners to ask their own questions, set
their own goals, and find their own path through a subject.
The craft of creating and evaluating specific lessons for specific
See also educational psychology.
Literally “lesson study”, a set of practices that includes having
teachers routinely observe one another and discuss lessons to share
knowledge and improve skills.
Lateral Knowledge Transfer:
The “accidental” transfer of knowledge that occurs when an instructor
is teaching one thing, and the learner picks up another.
A situation in which people who are repeatedly subjected to
negative feedback that they have no way to escape learn not to
even try to escape when they could.
A brief description of a typical target learner for a lesson that
includes their general background, what they already know, what they
want to do, how the lesson will help them, and any special needs they
What a lesson is trying to achieve.
What a lesson actually achieves.
Legitimate Peripheral Participation:
Newcomers’ participation in simple, low-risk tasks that a community
of practice recognizes as valid
The act of teaching programming by writing software in front of
learners as the lesson progresses.
The part of memory that stores information for long periods of time.
Long-term memory is very large, but slow.
See also short-term memory.
A feedback technique in which learners spend a minute writing one
positive thing about a lesson (e.g., one thing they’ve learned) and
one negative thing (e.g., a question that still hasn’t been answered).
Someone who has not yet built a usable mental model of a domain.
See also competent practitioner and
A software development practice in which two programmers share one
computer. One programmer (the driver) does the typing, while the
other (the navigator) offers comments and suggestions in real time.
Pair programming is often used as a teaching practice in programming
An assessment technique developed by Dale Parsons and others in which
learners rearrange given material to construct a correct answer to a
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK):
The understanding of how to teach a particular subject, i.e., the best
order in which to introduce topics and what examples to use.
See also content knowledge and general
A teaching method in which an instructor poses a question and then
students commit to a first answer, discuss answers with their peers,
and commit to a (revised) answer.
see long-term memory.
A wrong answer to a multiple-choice question that looks like it could
See also diagnostic power.
see deliberate practice.
Reverse Instructional Design:
An instructional design method that works backwards from a summative
assessment to formative assessments and thence to lesson content.
Extra material provided to early-stage learners to help them solve problems.
The part of memory that briefly stores information that can be
directly accessed by consciousness.
A model of learning that focuses on people’s transition from being
newcomers to be accepted members of a community of
A situation in which people feel that they are at risk of being held
to stereotypes of their social group.
Assessment that takes place at the end of a lesson to tell whether the
desired learning has taken place.
Something a learner can work on whose state gives feedback about the
learner’s progress and helps the learner diagnose mistakes.
A software development practice in which programmers write tests first
in order to give themselves concrete goals and clarify their
understanding of what “done” looks like.
Understanding by Design:
see reverse instructional design.
see short-term memory.