commentary on “_isms as a Filter, not a blinker”

The ability to pinpoint how learning occurs is equally complex as the brain itself. We know how the brain receives stimulus through receptors, how the brain processes related sensory triggers in different parts of the lobes, and how transmission of signals increases as the response. While learning has shown no defined link between neuroscience, the brain’s ability to react on sensory response correlates with psychology, and how the mind interprets its environment. The theorist has illustrated many different _isms: constructivism, behaviorism, cognitivism, and a modern approach connectivism (Kerr, 2007). Each theory has beneficial contributions and limitations which help evolve the next theoretical practice. Offering solutions to another’s pitfalls will not always answer how the human brain processes information (Kapp, 2007).

In response, I agree with Kerr’s statement, “_isms are important but use them as a filter, not a blinker” (Kerr, 2007). Using one approach to facilitate learning would pose challenges when recalling information due to the limited relatable situational context needed to organize LTM effectively (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). Down’s conceptualized the popular behaviorist stimulus and response approach in an analogy of a Los Vegas slot machine about Kerr’s explanation of _isms compared to a nuclear explosion disaster plan. Physically placing the coin into the slot, pulling down the handle, hearing the sounds, seeing the lights, and awareness of the environmental surroundings all play an essential factor in the appeal of the game leading players to try again. When presented with the opportunity to play a slot machine in a similar casino, the player will recall relevant situational knowledge from prior experiences and emotions, leading them to play again (Downs, 2017). Removing the flashing lights and fun sounds will not prevent spending money to play again; however, it removes sensory triggers leaving players with a less emotional connection with the game (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). In Kerr’s analogy, a nuclear meltdown alert should have a list of procedures when combined with cognitivism that prevents us from being a machine (Kerr, 2007). If we used only situational influences around learning, we wouldn’t have a developed action plan because the stimuli have yet to be presented, just as a player wouldn’t typically sit at a slot machine only to feed it coins. Appling _isms as a filter would allow instructors to apply generalized concepts for information processing, and enable tailoring options to remove unimpactful methods.


Downes, S. (2017, January 1). Design: Behaviorism Has Its Place Commentary by Stephen Downes. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and About: Discussion on Educational Schools of Thought « Karl Kapp. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning Theories and Instruction (Laureate custom ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.