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Learning Theories


+ Characteristics

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Repetition
  • Extrinsic motivators such as praise and rewards
  • Environment controlled to modify behavior. Seating arrangements, group assignments.
(Brau et all. 2022)

It is based on conditioning the behavior by altering the environment. (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2016)

Behaviorism links learning to external cues and consequences. For instance, rewarding a class with no homework for doing well on a test reinforces studying due to the reward. Potential risk:students only do it for the reward. (Brau et all. 2022)

Theorists: Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner.


Strategies for memorization and learning

  • Drills
  • Questions and Answer
  • Guided practice
  • Regular review
  • Positive reinforcement
(Western Governors University, 2020)

Cognitive learning optimizes the brain's potential by connecting new knowledge with existing ideas. This brain process is called cognition.(Valamis. 2023, June 17)

Theorists: Jean Piaget Ulric Neisser


LearningLearners go through a cycle:

  • Comprehension
    • Why is this information important?
  • Memory
    • Deep understanding enhances retention
  • Application
    • Real-life situations

Memory: It comes from having deep understanding of a subject instead of cramming information.


  • Humans learn from thinking and experiencing.
  • New information connects to existing information.
  • Knowledge is an internal process and not a product.
(Constructional learning, n.d.).

Theorists: John DeweyLev VygotskyJean Piaget


Memory & Learning

  • Learners understand why they are learning
  • New information is related to previous experience
  • Learners apply their knowledge
    • PBL
    • IBL


  • Knowledge is built upon previous knowledge
  • Learning is an active process
  • Learning is contextual
  • Learning is a social process
(Western Governors University, 2020)