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The Learning Orientation Research Model considers the key "whole-person" sources of individual learning differences. The model discusses the role of emotions (in the context of recent neuroscience advances) and uses this information to portray how three construct factors measurably interact to influence more successful learning. This research expands the traditional cognitive perspective with an updated biological perspective. It provides a broader, more sophisticated understanding about the impact of emotions and intentions on how individuals feel about learning and how they may want or intend to learn differently.

The model proposes using scientific foundations to provide the missing link to the instructional design process. It identifies at-risk learners and suggests specific strategies for accommodating learning needs and improvements, especially for online audiences. It also offers guidelines to enhance an educator's abilities to create and deliver high-quality learning solutions. Additionally, it provides a scientific basis for understanding, predicting, measuring, and managing learning--for the instructors, learners, designers, and organizations.

More about Learning Orientation Research:

The Learning Orientations Model is based on a three-factor construct:
1 Affective/Conative Learning Focus Domain
2 Learning Independence Domain
3 Committed Strategic Planning and Learning Effort Domain

More about Learning Orientations Construct Factors:]

There are four learning orientations that broadly represent the diversity of learning and enable us to explain key sources for learning differences.

1. Transforming Learning Orientation

2. Performing Learning Orientation

3. Conforming Learning Orientation

4. Resistant Learning Orientation

More info?

Important: Learning orientations are not learning styles. The key distinction is that whereas learning styles recognize the dominant influence of cognitive factors (and demote or overlook other factors (especially emotions) to a secondary or non-role), learning orientations recognize the dominant impact of emotions, intentions, and social factors.

In fact, this research flips most traditional cognitive and instructional technology models upside down (such as, learning styles or other "incomplete" models based on primarily cognitive perspectives). In contrast to most traditional approaches that focus primarily on behavioral aspects, technology, or cognitive processes, this research proposes a higher-order theoretical foundation for adaptive learning and the design of learning objects. Most of the previous years of unsuccessful adaptive learning and artificial intelligence research failed to consider many biological aspects of learning, especially if it focused primarily on cognitive aspects.

This research uses the study of the brain to explain individual learning differences and personalized learning from a highly conative and affective perspective. Neuroscience research identifies the dominant impact of brain activity in the amygdala/hippocampus (e.g., emotional center). This research provides specific guidelines and strategies for supporting learners with more individualized solutions. Once a learner's approach / ability is identified, more cost-effective solutions (subsets targeted for specific needs) can be adapted to meet current online learning ability, as well as foster improvement in an additional domain of online learning ability (e.g., goal-setting, task sequencing, reflection, progress monitoring, etc.).

Much of the learning orientation research uses the neuroscience and biological foundations offered by these researchers and others:
1. James E. Zull (The Art of Changing the Brain
2. Joseph Ledoux (Synaptic Self)
3. Eric Kandel (Nobel Peace Prize winner)
4. Other brain related articles are available at:

The LOQ newsletter highlights the neurobiology of learning and memory research. [URL:]

Learning Orientation Questionnaire
The Learning Orientation Questionnaire (LOQ) is a short, 25-item questionnaire that identifies the four learning orientations and learning ability. The LOQ is available on the web or can be integrated into (1) learning and content management systems or (2)authoring, assessment, and collaborative learning tools. The LOQ looks at the dominant psychological factors that influence self-directed, self-motivated, independent learning.

Looking at an individual's learning orientation is in contrast to the industry-standard which is a primarily cognitive approach (that is, if considered emotions, intentions, and social factors are subjugated to a secondary influence). Another LOQ benefit is that learning ability can be identified and measurably improved over time...also to the client's and learner's advantage (e.g., improve holistic thinking or problem-solving ability).

Additional information about the Learning Orientation Questionnaire can be found here: [URL:]

Validation studies are described here:
2002. Bunderson, C. V., Martinez, M., & Wiley, D. Verification in a design experiment context: Validity argument as design process. Symposium session at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

2001. Bentley, J. Accounting for individual differences in learning: Where do we start and what are the implications for online instruction? (Utah State University).

The LOQ is available for research purposes.

Related Publications

2001. Jones, E. R. and Martinez, M. 2001. Learning Orientations in University Web-Based Courses - a paper accepted for publication in the Proceedings of WebNet 2001, Oct 23-27, Orlando, Florida.
[URL: ]

2001. Martinez, M. and Bunderson, C. V. Foundations for Personalized Web Learning Environments. [online] Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 4(2). [online] -- [URL:].

2000. Intentional Learning in an Intentional World: New Perspectives on Audience Analysis and Instructional System Design for Successful Learning and Performance. Journal for Computer Documentation, 3-20.
[URL: ]

2002. Beyond Classroom Solutions: New Design Perspectives for Online Learning Excellence. IEEE Educational Technology & Society.

2001. Kort, B., Reilly, R., Picard, R. External Representation of Learning Process and Domain Knowledge: Affective State as a Determinate of its Structure and Function (Media Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

2002. Hughes, S. etal. Overcoming Social and Psychological Barriers to Effective On-line Collaboration (Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division & and Joint Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory)

2002. What is Personalized Learning? (The eLearning Developers' Journal)

Other publications are available at this site:

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