Information Age Education
   Issue Number 130
January, 2014   

This free Information Age Education Newsletter is written by Dave Moursund and Bob Sylwester, and produced by Ken Loge. The newsletter is one component of the Information Age Education project.

All back issues of the newsletter and subscription information are available online. In addition, three free books based on the newsletters are available: Consciousness and Morality: Recent Research Developments, Creating an Appropriate 21st Century Education, and Common Core State Standards for Education in America.

This newsletter is the fifteenth in a series on complexity. Our informal and formal educational systems, and our everyday life experiences, help us learn to deal with the complexities of complexity.

Knowledge Theory and Education

M. D. Gall
Professor Emeritus
University of Oregon

This article is ©2014 by M. D. Gall. Used by permission.

Each profession is centered around a particular type of object. In medicine, it is the human body. In the legal profession, it is the law. In business, it is goods and services. In engineering, it is structures and machines.

What then is the essential object of study and practice in the education profession? In observing schools, we see that teachers’ primary job is to impart the curriculum to students; students are expected to learn the curriculum; and teachers and others assess students’ mastery of the curriculum.

We might conclude then that education is centered around curriculum. But if you think about it, the curriculum and the various subjects that constitute it (e.g., mathematics, social studies, English) is based on a body of knowledge. No matter what subject is being taught, the teacher is helping students acquire knowledge, apply knowledge to problems and tasks, and sometimes create their own knowledge.

So I contend that knowledge is the essential object of study and practice in the education profession. If this is true, the education profession might make greater advances if we improve our understanding of its foundation in knowledge.

In this article I want to share what I have learned so far about the nature of knowledge and its implications for education. I draw from my 40-year career in the education profession, mostly as a teacher educator, and from my study of epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge), the philosophy of science, and instructional theory.

Knowledge as a Representation of Reality

I define knowledge in this way: Knowledge is a representation of reality. By “representation” I mean that knowledge is a kind of recording that an individual has made to encode some aspect of reality. The recording can take various forms, such as text, diagrams, photos, videos, music, spreadsheets, and formulas.

Each bit of knowledge is a representation of reality, not the representation of reality. For example, if someone wants to know the name of the state university in Eugene, they can ask me and I can give an oral answer. Or the person can read the name of the university in a hard copy of a university directory, or they can find the name at a website. Each is a different representation of the university’s name.

The receptivity of knowledge to different representations is an important feature of knowledge. Here’s an example. As a doctoral student in psychology, my classmates and I took a course in statistics. The professor was indecipherable to most of us. He spent most of the class putting equations on the board, talking aimlessly (in our opinion). We called the class a “magical mystery tour.” The textbook, written by a distinguished professor, was no more helpful. What we did find helpful was to form study groups where we could talk our way through the equations, checking our understanding with each other. We formed our own representations of statistics (mostly oral communications) that were more comprehensible than those found in the lectures or the textbook. In fact, our representations enabled us to make sense of these other representations.

Here’s another example of the receptivity of knowledge to different representations. In Eugene, Oregon, we have an ongoing film seminar, open to the public, led by a retired Hollywood film director, Tom Blank. His motto is, “You haven’t seen a movie until you’ve talked about it.” For each seminar meeting, he provides some background information about the movie, screens it, and then we discuss it for upwards of an hour. I have found that the reality of the movie often changes dramatically for me as I shift from the representations formed by the screen images to the representations formed by the discussion leader, by my fellow attendees, and by my own reflections. Often these collective representations lead us to focus on features of the film that we otherwise overlooked while watching the film or in our personal reflections.

Consider for yourself what types of representations of reality help you learn best—lectures, texts, videos, music, the Internet, discussion. Is it true that a picture is worth a thousand words? And is it possible that a video is worth a thousand photos? In my opinion, the ability to present videos is the real promise of computers for improving education. Videos, digitized for playback on a computer, can present processes, events, sounds, and objects in a manner that cannot be duplicated in efficacy by any other form of representation, other than to be an eyewitness to them. Now consider the repositories of knowledge that you use. For many centuries, libraries were the primary repositories of knowledge. The U.S. Library of Congress reflects that heritage. Now the Internet has become the greatest repository of knowledge; it can store not just a local library, but the world’s libraries, in addition to images and sounds of all sorts, and anything else that can be digitized.

But what does digitization do to the representation of reality? Would you rather see a photo of van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or the actual painting in the Museum of Modern Art (as I did recently)? Would you rather skype with a friend or have a face-to-face conversation? Would you rather watch a teacher deliver a live lecture or watch a digital recording of the same teacher? One benefit of watching a digitized representation of some aspect of reality is that you can do so repeatedly, each time processing more of the representation. However, being an eyewitness likely might create a more complete representation and a different emotional response. Thus, both digitization and real-life experience can serve as representations of reality, but they are not necessarily equal in terms of costs and benefits.

The Nature of Reality and Knowledge Claims

Now let’s examine the other part of my definition of knowledge. Knowledge is a representation of reality, but what exactly is reality? Philosophers have pondered this question for centuries, and there is no single agreed-upon answer to it. I like the definition provided by the Wikipedia, based on the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford Dictionaries, 2010): “reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.” This is close to my own view of reality, which is that reality is what things are like independently of our observations of them.

This definition is sensible, but it presents a dilemma. It’s impossible to know what reality is like independently of our observations. Reality does not speak to us directly. A tree does not tell us that it is a tree. An atom does not tell us that it is an atom and that it has certain properties. All we can do is study these things and make representations of them. And there is no certain way to determine whether those representations are valid, because reality does not tell us that they are valid or not. In a sense, we are always peeking around the curtain of our representations, hoping that what we see beyond the curtain is reality itself.

To give you just one example, many climate scientists assert that our global climate is changing, and some politicians and business people say they are wrong. The actuality of climate, if there is such a thing, does not adjudicate in the matter. All we have to go by are representations, such as those created by scientific studies, computer models, researchers’ interpretations of their findings, and policymakers’ judgments about those interpretations. Each of these representations might be wrong, partially right, or remarkably correct.

The fact that we cannot know reality directly but only indirectly through our constructed representations suggests what should be a major goal of education: Teach students to embrace uncertainty. Teach them to question everything. When researchers conduct a research study, other researchers are free to question their conceptual framework, their methods, and their findings. In the arts, a work of art—a poem, a painting, an opera—does not have one correct, authoritative interpretation. Its meaning and worth are always uncertain, and can change from one period of time to another, even among professional critics. Students need to learn this type of uncertainty.

The fact that an aspect of reality can be represented in different ways does not mean that all representations have equal validity. Those who work in the professions, trades, arts, crafts, religious orders, scientific research, and other human endeavors have developed criteria for judging whether a knowledge claim is valid. If students are to acquire and use knowledge effectively, they need to view knowledge not as an absolute, but as claims that should be judged for their validity by using criteria, those developed by others and their own.

These judgments of validity are not easy. I’ve been an editor of several research journals, and I can tell you that, more often than not, different reviewers of a research manuscript will judge the meaning and validity of its findings quite differently. My job as an editor was to adjudicate the validity of these different representations of the manuscript. Students similarly need to learn how to adjudicate the validity of knowledge claims across the various subject areas that make up the curriculum. In public schools, however, students typically acquire chunks of knowledge without learning that it is a set of claims whose validity needs to be examined.

Types of Reality

If knowledge is a representation of reality, is there a uniform reality or do different types of reality exist? In my view, three types of reality exist—physical reality, psychological reality, and spiritual reality. Students in public schools mostly acquire knowledge about physical reality, objects outside ourselves that our sensory organs can recognize and turn into representations.

The other two realities are internal to ourselves. One is psychological reality. For example, we can sense anger or anxiety in another, but only we can experience anger and anxiety within ourselves. Various types of psychotherapy are available to help people get in touch with these feelings and control them. Or consider the case of students who read without comprehension. Researchers have discovered that good readers cognitively monitor their comprehension and take corrective action when comprehension fails. Educators have developed ways, such as the think-aloud method (Wilhelm, 2001), to help all students develop these internal cognitive processes.

The other internal reality is spiritual reality. When I was much younger, I took a course on world religions. That was interesting, but it’s not the same thing as the study of our own spiritual reality, assuming we are in touch with such a reality. One of my classmates, Peter Pitzele (1995), represented what I mean by spiritual reality in recounting his experience in a French class. During class, he notes a fly “lying on its back, its tiny legs in the air” (p. 5). The fly eventually gets up and flies away, while Peter, and these are his words, having “microscopically pursued its every move, am hurtled into space, glued to its shimmering little form until it dissolves into the light. And the landscape beyond the window dissolves as well…I am traveling down a golden cone toward a center infinitely far away. I travel with the speed of light. In an instant I arrive at the center, quivering and melting. Some part of my mind is able to observe this ecstasy, and this part, gasping in astonishment, knows that I have come to God. This must be God, for here everything is answered.” (pp. 5-6). Peter Pitzele had encountered what I refer to as spiritual reality.

Consider the implications of this multi-dimensional view of reality for the curriculum. With the advent of the Common Core Standards, educators are placing increasing emphasis on the reading and writing skills and the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). These subjects are grounded in physical reality. Students seldom are given opportunities to explore their internal psychological reality. We do hear of efforts to train students in good health practices, such as avoidance of addictive drugs, but this training typically is expository and prescriptive rather than an exploration of one’s own emotions, needs, stresses, and motivations. An exception is the incorporation of meditation in some schools as part of the school day. An example is the Quiet Time program, “a shelter and a sanctuary where students can clear their minds and ready themselves to accomplish things socially and academically” (Nobori, 2014).

Helping students acquire knowledge about their psychological reality is far from mainstream educational practice. Teaching them about spiritual reality is even farther away. Because of the separation of church and state, public schools cannot teach students to explore spiritual reality. They can teach about world religions (a subject that I took in high school), but that is not the same thing. I think, though, that public schools can and should teach students that there is such a thing as spiritual reality. They can do so by presenting the writings of individuals who had spiritual awakenings, such as what Peter Pitzele experienced. Students need not accept the validity of these representations of spiritual reality, but they should be exposed to them. Otherwise we leave a huge hole in the curriculum.

Reality Is Infinitely Complex

Consider the complex reality of any school. If we were creating knowledge representations of it, we could focus on its current and present students. We could study each student’s past, including their decision to enter that specific school, and we could study their future after they leave the school. We could study not only all current students, but all past students. Having done that, we could move on to the faculty, the staff, the budget, the grounds, and so on. You could spend an entire lifetime, and still not know everything about that one specific school.

Because reality is so complex, we are forced to specialize. Each individual is likely to become a specialist in some domain of knowledge. Specialization sometimes is put down as “knowing more and more about less and less.” But that’s a good thing, because reality is so complex.

Awareness of this feature of reality is important, because the school curriculum is mostly determined not by students, but by other stakeholders. Students need to learn that the delivered curriculum is just a small sliver of all the knowledge that is out there. There exists a whole other curriculum that is not taught, sometimes called the null curriculum (Flinders, Noddings, & Thornton, 1986).

I believe that educators should shrink the null curriculum by devoting some school time, especially in students’ early years, to what I call exposure. By this, I mean that students should be exposed to a great many domains of knowledge and the individuals who embrace them—poets, philatelists, wood carvers, anesthesiologists, plumbers, chiropractors, CEOs, salespersons, pollsters, social workers. The list goes on and on. Preferably these domains of knowledge would be explained by individuals who have those titles rather than by just having students read descriptions of them. In this way students can discover their interests and fellow travelers. This exposure would open up the school curriculum, which traditionally has been highly circumscribed.

As an example of the need to give students time to explore, we can look to Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, who only completed one term at Reed College. He did not like taking courses, and fortunately a dean allowed him to stay on and audit classes as he wished (Isaacson, 2011). One of them was a course on calligraphy, taught by a distinguished expert in that field. This interest in the design of script fostered Jobs’ interest in aesthetics, which in turn led him to require his staff at Apple to design computers that were aesthetically pleasing and incorporated a wide variety of typefaces. The rest of the story is, as they say, history.

Because reality is so complex, the individuals who create the curriculum need to be a focus of study. As an example, I refer to a book I recently came across: American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts That Never Made It into Textbooks (Morris, 2010). The book is of interest to me because I once happened to teach U.S. history to eighth graders for several months. Our focus was colonial life and the Revolutionary War. I discovered from 200 Startling Facts that the recruitment of soldiers for the Revolutionary War was terribly difficult (as it has been for other wars). The author states: “During the American Revolution, almost as many inhabitants of the American colonies fought for the British as for the Continental Army: seven thousand loyalists versus eight thousand patriots. Furthermore, George Washington had great difficulty securing food for his troops because local farmers preferred to sell their goods to the British, who could afford to pay more for them.”

Now one might argue that eighth graders should not be exposed to such knowledge or only when they are older. But the point is that some individual or group made the decision not to include representations of this aspect of colonial reality in the curriculum. My students and I as their teacher had no way of knowing who limited our exposure and why.

How did I finally become aware of this knowledge? I subscribe to a free Internet service,, which each day delivers excerpts from a recent book to my email inbox. The books cover many different domains of knowledge, and so I am exposed to knowledge and aspects of reality that were not part of my formal schooling. This exposure supplements my occasional reading of The New York Times list of best-sellers, my weekly reading of The New Yorker, whose articles cover a wide range of topics, and occasional forays into bookstores where I wander about. As educators, we need to ask whether the students who graduate from our schools have developed their own methods of constantly exposing themselves to new aspects of reality or whether they are content to transverse only within well-worn tracks.

Knowledge is Embedded in Communities of Practice

The concept of a community of practice was developed and popularized by two researchers, Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (1991). A community of practice, broadly defined, is a group of individuals who form an organized group to create or use knowledge for particular purposes. Indeed, much if not all human knowledge is linked to a community of practice that created and uses it. Lave and Wenger make the point this way:

The community of practice of midwifery or tailoring involves much more than the technical knowledgeable skill involved in delivering babies or producing clothes. A community of practice is a set of relations among persons, activity, and world, over time and in relation with other tangential and overlapping communities of practice. A community of practice is an intrinsic condition for the existence of knowledge… (p. 98).

One of the most interesting things about knowledge is that it can be used differently by different communities of practice. Consider mathematics. In my case, I studied algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus in high school and statistics at the University of California at Berkeley. My main professional use of math has been statistical analysis of psychological research data.

Now my father was a machinist and tool and die maker with an eighth-grade education. He studied math, too, and used it daily in his job, but it was a different sort of math. It mostly involved measurement to get objects lathed to a certain level of tolerance, or in other words, within an allowable level of measurement error. So, both of us used math, but different kinds of math, for different purposes and within different communities of practice.

Lave and Wenger point to apprenticeships as a worthwhile and historically common way to incorporate new members into a community of practice. For example, they make this observation: “In the United States today much learning occurs in the form of some sort of apprenticeship, especially wherever high levels of knowledge and skill are in demand (e.g., medicine, law, the academy, professional sports, and the arts” (p. 63).

One of the great shortcomings of public education is that it most often conveys knowledge devoid of any community of practice. Many students have no idea how math, social studies, physics, and other subjects fit into their present and future life. Education would improve greatly if teachers helped students make connections between knowledge and the students’ own current communities of practice, such as their sports and entertainment activities, and in the communities of practice that they might someday enter. Apprenticeships, or what I consider its near equivalent internships, would make these connections even stronger. With the current emphasis on having students develop higher cognitive skills, the idea of apprenticeships becomes even more appealing.

The incorporation of communities of practice into the school curriculum is complicated by the fact that different students will be attracted to different communities of practice. So, for example, should schools impart knowledge that is useful for college-bound students and different knowledge for students who wish to go into the trades, and still different knowledge for students who wish to become artists or to pursue a spiritual path? The current vision is that all or most students will be college-bound. This vision ignores the highly diverse nature of student interests and talents.

Types of Knowledge

Representations of reality, such as an essay or painting, do not speak on their own. As we examine them, we interpret them to produce meaningful knowledge. So, for example, when I look at a painting, I know that it is a painting because I have learned the concept of a painting. If I can recognize trees, sheep, and a river in the painting, it is because I have learned these concepts. If I can determine the ratio of the painting’s height to its length, it is because I have learned rules for computing a ratio.

We see, then, that our ability to form concepts and rules is critical to the development and use of knowledge. I think of concepts and rules, together with facts, as a typology of knowledge types. One prominent typology (Gagné, Wager, Golas, & Keller, 2005) includes five knowledge types that are called categories of learning outcomes: intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, verbal information, motor skills, and attitudes.

In my typology, a fact is a representation of one thing that has no generalization. The name of the institution where I spent most of my career is the University of Oregon. That’s a fact. It tells you the name of my school, but of no other school. The University of Oregon is located in Eugene, Oregon. That’s a fact, because it tells you where this university is located, but not the location of any other university.

Concepts are generalizable. A concept is a knowledge representation that groups things on the basis of shared characteristics. For example, marriage is a concept. You can group people according to whether they are married or not. Divorce is another concept. You can group people according to whether they are married or were married but no longer are.

Rules are relationships between concepts. Mathematical formulas such as E = mc2 are rules. That formula expresses a relationship among three concepts—mass, energy, and light. Golf, which I play, has a huge number of rules, all of them questionable. Grip the club in a certain way, take it away into a backswing in a certain way, and create a downswing in a certain way. And follow those rules consistently, which should lead (in theory at least) to a repeatable golf swing.

Facts, concepts, and rules can vary in importance, significance, and value, depending on the individual or group. February 18 has some significance to me, because that is my birth date. House is a concept, so all things called a house have certain things in common; however, houses vary in monetary value. A discovery about the speed of neutrinos is important to atomic physicists and to those with a general interest in science, but probably of no importance, meaning, or significance to the general public. Crime is a concept to which we attribute negative value.

The fact that humans have created different types of knowledge to represent and interpret reality has important consequences for curriculum. To illustrate, I will draw again on my experience teaching the American Revolutionary War to eighth-graders. The American Revolutionary War constitutes a set of facts, but “revolutionary war” is a concept. So should I teach this topic as a set of facts about the war (mostly about nations, battles, generals, towns, and dates) or should I teach the concept of a revolutionary war and its related concepts, revolution and revolt?

It happens that the Soviet Union was undergoing a revolution (1989-1991) that led to its dissolution while I was teaching my course. I decided to tape segments of PBS’ MacNeil/Lehrer news hour reporting this revolution and show them to the class. The students were quite interested in watching these segments, because they knew that something important in the world was happening, but weren’t sure what it was. I also asked students to bring something to class having to do with revolution or war. One student brought in his dad’s military dog tag; I brought in a CD of the Beatles’ song “Revolution” and played it for the class. In this way, students learned not only about the American Revolutionary War, but also about the concept of revolution and the various reasons why people organize a revolt. As a result of my focus on concepts and not just facts, the students probably were in a better position to study any other revolt or war throughout recorded history.

This example suggests that it requires significantly more effort to design instruction for the teaching of concepts than for the teaching of facts. One needs to search for the examples, preferably in different media, whereas facts are inherently simple and can reside comfortably in textbooks or on the Web. The teaching of rules is complex, too, especially if the teacher wants to show how the rules were developed and their application across many different situations. Thus, I would argue that the design of instruction for teaching concepts and rules is beyond the capacity of the individual teacher. If this is true, we need to rethink how instruction should be designed and delivered to students.

Knowledge Creation, Acquisition, and Use

Knowledge can be thought of as having three stages. First, someone has to create knowledge. Then others can acquire that knowledge. Finally, those who have acquired this knowledge can apply it. My analysis might seem simplistic, but I find it helpful in thinking about knowledge as the foundation of education.

Researchers are in the business of creating new knowledge, hopefully, knowledge that has wide application. Others create local knowledge, for example, a shop owner who develops and maintains an inventory, perhaps using a computer application, of the store’s goods. (The inventory is knowledge, because it represents the store’s goods.)

I think that students should have many opportunities to create knowledge. This might be in the form of doing projects, such as gathering information about a particular topic and organizing it into a report. The most useful activity, though, would involve creating knowledge within a community of practice. To illustrate, permit me to share a personal example. In all of my education, which included parochial school, a prep school in New England, and an Ivy League college, the most valuable learning occurred in my doctoral program in psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. We were required to do research projects from the beginning of our program and were assigned a professor to guide us. I did not have a clue about how to start such a project (my college major was English), so my advisor recommended that I start reading articles that reported psychological research. Gradually I figured out the steps of a research project, found a problem that interested me (whether incubation facilitates creativity), collected data, and wrote up the results in two papers that were published in refereed journals. All this with just a course on statistics and a good advisor. I never did take a course on research methodology, although I have co-authored two textbooks on this subject.

Rather than being stimulated to create knowledge, students generally are engaged in the task of acquiring knowledge that others have created. The instruction is bound within the artificial constraints of a classroom, with the teacher lecturing, assigning homework, and testing how much knowledge each student has acquired. Perhaps this emphasis on knowledge acquisition is what leads many students to be bored by their school subjects and eventually drop out of school.

In the third stage, the learner has the opportunity to apply knowledge. In early grades, students learn decoding and then apply this knowledge to reading text. In later grades, they will be asked to write an essay that requires them to apply knowledge they have acquired. At many grade levels they will be asked to solve mathematical or scientific problems of the sort that one commonly sees in textbooks and college admission tests. My criticism of these school activities is that they are often artificial. As an example, this type of math problem comes to mind: When will two trains traveling different rates of speed from opposite locations pass each other on a set of parallel tracks? Who really cares to know?

Once again, the concept of a community of practice is relevant. Opportunities to apply knowledge are valuable, but much more so if learners are applying knowledge that interests them to problems of practice that also interest them. To illustrate, consider the fact that many companies have developed a specialization called knowledge management (Frappaolo, 2006). For knowledge managers, the purpose of knowledge creation and acquisition is to use it to improve an organization’s ability to innovate and respond to market conditions.

Peter Drucker, the noted management theorist, argues that knowledge, not labor or raw material or capital, has become our most important economic resource (Drucker, 1994). But it is not knowledge itself, but rather the application of knowledge that is key. For example, Drucker states that the comparative advantage of one country over another in the world economy is this: “The comparative advantage that now counts is in the application of knowledge—for example, in Japan’s total quality management, learn manufacturing processes, just-in-time delivery, and price-based costing, or in the customer service offered by medium-sized German or Swiss engineering companies.”

Final Thoughts

I have tried to make the case that knowledge is the fundamental object of study and practice for the education profession. Philosophers, instruction design specialists, and others have developed a set of concepts that provide the basis for a theory of knowledge, or what I call knowledge theory. The primary concepts that comprise knowledge theory are: representations; types of reality; reality complexity; knowledge claims and validity; types of knowledge; communities of practice; knowledge creation, acquisition, and application.

The brief sketch of knowledge theory that I present here calls into question the soundness of many current schooling practices—the lack of curriculum diversity, the selective nature of the curriculum, instruction devoid of a community of practice, almost exclusive reliance on classroom instruction over real-world experience, and the prevalence of sterile representations of reality in textbooks. In addition to serving as a critique of current practices, knowledge theory can also point the way to new practices that enhance learners’ personal lives and participation in society and the workplace.

Some people think that the Common Core Standards and the increasing use of technology (e.g., providing students with iPads) will elevate public education to a new level. However, I see two major problems with this vision. One is that education is still pre-scientific, certainly when compared to professions such as medicine and engineering. It relies on tradition rather than on theory and research.

The other major problem is that public education is highly fragmented because of the commonly held belief in local control of schools. Local communities and individual teachers lack the resources required to develop high-quality curriculum materials based on a careful analysis of knowledge that diverse learners at different developmental levels need. For example, no community or state would think of developing its own cars or films for theatrical release. The costs would be too great and the talent pool is too small. Yet schools and individual teachers continue to rely heavily on their own limited resources to create and implement instruction. Even teachers who design good instruction eventually retire and take with them whatever craft knowledge they have acquired.

The alternative is to gather a great pool of diverse talent experts and give it the resources to develop representations of reality, using multiple media but especially video; make these representations easily accessible for diverse settings and students (most likely using computers and the Internet); and then disseminate them, with training in their use, to teachers and to students who are capable of learning independently.


Drucker, P.F. (1994). The age of social transformation. Atlantic Monthly, 274(5), 53-80. Retrieved from

Flinders, D.J., Noddings, N., & Thornton, S.J. (1986). The null curriculum: Its theoretical basis and practical implications. Curriculum Inquiry, 16(1), 33-42.

Frappaolo, C. (2006). Knowledge management. Oxford: Capstone.

Gagné, R.M., Wager, W.W., Golas, K., & Keller, J.M. (2005). Principles of instructional design. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University.

Morris, S. (2010). American history revised: 200 startling facts that never made it into textbooks. New York: Broadway.

Nobori, M. (2014). A bold approach to reducing student stress. Retrieved from

Oxford Dictionaries (2010). Compact Oxford English dictionary of current English. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University.

Pitzele, P. (1995). Our fathers' wells: A personal encounter with the myths of Genesis. New York: Harper.

Wilhelm, J. (2001). Improving comprehension with think-aloud strategies: Modeling what good readers do. Revised and updated. New York: Scholastic.


Meredith “Mark” Gall is an emeritus professor of education at the University of Oregon and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. He earned a bachelors and masters degree at Harvard University and a doctorate in psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. While at the University of Oregon, he served as director of graduate programs in curriculum and instruction, director of the summer program on teaching skills, and department head for teacher education. He served as executive or consulting editor for several research journals and is co-author of Tools for Learning: A Guide to Teaching Study Skills, Clinical Supervision and Teacher Development (6th ed.), Educational Research: An Introduction (8th ed.), and Applying Educational Research (7th ed. in progress). Dr. Gall welcomes feedback on his article at:

Reader Comments

We are using the Disqus commenting system to facilitate comments and discussions pertaining to this newsletter. To use Disqus, please click the Login link below and sign in. If you have questions about how to use Disqus, please refer to this help page.

Readers may also send comments via email directly to and

About Information Age Education, Inc.

Information Age Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving education for learners of all ages throughout the world. Current IAE activities and free materials include the IAE-pedia at, a Website containing free books and articles at, a Blog at, and the free newsletter you are now reading. See all back issues of the Blog at and all back issues of the Newsletter at