What is Theory?
A theory can be thought of consisting of an object (phenomenon/empirical observation/belief/fact or property thereof) that is sought to be described/explained/predicated/predicted, the context within which it is situated and a coherent set of ideas (medium/message). A theory provides insights on interpreting an object in a given context through a set of propositions, conjectures, opinion, hypothesis or observations. The strength of a theory depends upon multiple factors such as generalizability, falsifiability, testability, predictive power etc.
Aspects of theory
Theory has the following aspects:
- object (what is it attempting to describe or explain or predicate or predict – phenomenon, empirical observation, belief, knowledge – and/or its property, state, interaction with others) e.g. the process of learning, planetary motion, human behaviour, political trend, organizational success, neural networks, scientific induction, connectivism
- context – what is the context of the object that is sought to be described (prior experience, empirical observation, conjecture, epoch/time, relationship to others)
- medium/message – a coherent set of ideas – the why, whether, what, when, where, if and / or how explanation/description or set of propositions
I tried to put down some examples:
- How does learning occur in a connective world?
- object - attempts to describe or explain or predicate a mechanism for the phenomenon of learning
- context - memes, social networks, connectionism, web 2.0, connectivism
- medium - how – knowledge is a pattern in a network
- how to ride a bicycle
- object - attempts to describe or explain or predicate a mechanism for the skill of riding a bicycle
- context - quality of roads, gears, mountainous, competition
- medium - how – guidelines and tips
- Why does open source work for education?
- object - open source
- context - education, industry, free movements, commons, open-ness
- medium - what – is open source, why – does it work? for whom?