The theory base draws largely from the work of Vygotsky (1923) on contexts and culture. The theory emphasises culture localisation as basis for understanding human behaviour. Learning as a human behaviour is rested on interaction with significant others and the psychosocial environment which in turn is influenced by the culture of the people. The dynamism of culture is also recognised. For instance, the cultural contexts in Africa of the 19th century is different from the 20th with regard to some elements notably those influenced by changing technology. In turn, the 21st will be different from the 20th, yet there are common elements which remain unique and unchanging. These common elements form the focus of CTCA.
Okebukola’s eco-techno cultural theory of CTCA
After two decades of research to gather supporting evidence, Okebukola and Jegede, proposed the ecocultural theory of science learning (Okebukola & Jegede, 1990). The theory which is a STEM slant of the general theory of ecoculture holds that the context (ecology) where teaching and learning of science takes place as well as the microcultures of students and teachers, exert noteworthy effects on learning. The pathways of the effect are two bridges. The first bridge is the link between experiences derived from the learning context and the subject matter to be learned. This bridge can be seen, for example, in relating practices of electroplating that students can observe in their immediate school environment, perhaps in a nearby blacksmith workshop and the topic of electroplating in a chemistry class. The second bridge has longer span, tucked deep in the cultural orientation of learners. This cultural bridge links indigenous knowledge and cultural practices that are related to a STEM concept. The effect of the two bridges is likened to a catalyst accelerating the formation of neural networks which are evidentiary that learning has taken place.
The two bridges of context (ecology) and culture work in a similar manner to the neurotransmitter- acetylcholine in the transmission of nervous impulse from one neuron to another, a process that is implicated in the mechanism of learning. Acetylcholine acts at various sites within the central nervous system where it can function as a neurotransmitter and as a neuromodulator. It plays a role in motivation, arousal, attention, learning, and memory.
In a series of additional experiments within the framework of the ecocultural theory, two elements- technology and humour were inserted into the intervention equation. The aggregated findings of these studies led Okebukola (2015a) to derive the eco-techno cultural theory. This theory sees learning as product of the effect of activation energies from four sources. Like its precursor, the ecocultural theory, where two bridges link context and culture to concept formation, the eco-techno cultural theory, extends the bridging to four activation energies which ensure that the links by the bridges are speedily established and are longer lasting. Activation energies lower the rate of reactions which bring about learning of a (STEM) concept. They foster the formation of neural networks which are indicative that learning has occurred. Indigenous knowledge and cultural practices are ecocultural determinants which immerse the learner in a world where belief systems and cultural practices are drivers of learning. Human beings as social animals, have their behaviours changed as a consequence of interacting with significant others in a cultural setting.