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  • Theorists: Thorndike, Pavlov, Watson, Gutherie, Hull, Tolman, Skinner
  • Major characterisitics: Change in Behavior
  • The role of memory: Stimuli in external environment
  • How learning occurs: Arranges environment to elicit desired response
  • The types of learning: Behavioral objectives, competency - based education, skill development and training


  • Theorists: Koffka, Kohler, Lewin, Piaget, Ausubel, Bruner, Gagne
  • Major characterisitics: Internal mental process (including insight, information processing, memory, perception)
  • The role of memory: Internal cognitive structuring
  • How learning occurs: Structures content of learning activity
  • The types of learning: Cognitive development, intelligence, learning and memory as function of age, and learning how to learn


  • Theorists: Vygotsky, Piaget, and Dewey
  • Major characterisitics: Addresses the nature of knowledge and the nature of learning
  • The role of memory: As learners construct knowledge and understanding, they question themselves and their views and interpret and interact with their world. Students must bring their “world knowledge” into their cognitive processes.
  • How learning occurs: The learner is the key player; learners participate in generating meaning or understanding.
  • The types of learning: The student connects new learning with already-existing knowledge. Learning is optimized when students are aware of the processes that they are structuring, inventing, and employing.