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Transcript

Learning Theories Part 1

INTRODUCTION HERE

By Stephanie Borgardt

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Behaviorism

Major Theorists: The most notable theorist of the behaviorist theory is Ivan Pavlov. Other notable theorists include Edward Thorndike, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner.

Role of Memory: Memory is built from reinforcers that alter learning and have their own unique consequences. Behavior and knowledge is learned through the consistent use of reinforcers.

Types of Learning: Behaviorism relies on step-by-step, structured learning methods" with curriculum broken down into smaller units with "appropriate sequencing of tasks and reinforcement of desired behavior” (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017). Learning is best acquired through incremental changes to observable behavior.

Major Characteristics: There are three major tenants of behaviorism: “Behavior is learned from the environment. Behavior must be observable. All behaviors are a product of the formula stimulus-response” (Brau, Fox & Robinson, 2020). Pavlov emphasized classical conditioning which is when “stimuli cause responses and that the brain can associate stimuli together to learn new responses” (Brau, Fox & Robinson, 2020). In order for behavior to be changed, reinforcement needs to encourage desired behavior while punishment reduces it (Brau, Fox & Robinson, 2020).

How Learning Occurs: For learning to occur, educators need to plan for outcomes through “small instructional steps and sequences of responses that increasingly approximate the desired behavior or learning” (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017). Learning is developed through the formation of habits, in which the learner responds to the desired stimuli (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017).

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Cognitivism

Major Theorists: The most notable theorist for cognitivism is Jean Piaget. Cognitivism was also influenced by the work of Maria Montessori.

Role of Memory: Short term memory has limited capacity and duration. This is also called working memory, where learned information is temporarily stored. Long term memory is unlimited in capacity (Michela, 2020). This is where information is stored for long term retrieval as needed.

Types of Learning: Through cognitivism, learners are actively learning throughout their knowledge retrieval process. Knowledge is built off prior knowledge obtained, and frequently retrieved to further develop existing knowledge (Michela, 2020).

Major Characteristics: Cognitivism explores the “nature of learning, specifically how individuals generate structures of knowledge and how they create or learn reasoning and problem-solving strategies” (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017). Memory plays a vital role, through the use of short term memory and long term memory.

How Learning Occurs: Learning occurs through multiple processes. The first step is assimilation which "is the incorporation of new experiences into existing ones" (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017). Then, new cognitive structures are created, as well as existing ones are modified, resulting in accommodation. Finally, equilibration occurs due to "the process of balancing what is already understood with what has yet to be understood, the dual process of assimilating and accommodating of one’s environment” (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017).

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Constructivism

How Learning Occurs: Learning occurs through knowledge taught by an experienced educator. Educators act as facilitators, encouraging and guided the acquisition of new material. “The learner must consider the information being taught and - based on past experiences, personal views, and cultural background - construct an interpretation” (Brau, 2020).

Types of Learning: Vygotsky argued that students must learn in their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) (Brau, 2020), which is what the learner can do with support from their educators. While their educators support them, students are learning by actively engaging with the material. “The environment of the classroom should be supportive of each individual learner’s thinking and encourage a constant challenge” (Brau, 2020).

Major Theorists: The major theorists of constructivism are Leo Vygotsky and John Dewey. Constructivism also has influence from Jean Piaget, a theorist who also worked with the cognitivism learning theory.

Role of Memory: Memory is developed based on interpretation of an event or piece of information. “The interpretation is constructed based on past experiences, personal views, and cultural background" (Brau, 2020). After the interpretation, learners are to reflect on the information and see how to rationalize it within their own perspective.

Major Characteristics: Constructivism is the "learning theory which holds that knowledge is best gained through a process of reflection and active construction in the mind” (Brau, 2020). Knowledge is developed through interactions with others in a shared environment.

References

Brau, B. (2020). Constructivism. In R. Kimmons & S. Caskurlu (Eds.), The Students' Guide to Learning Design and Research. BYU Open Learning Network. https://open.byu.edu/studentguide/constructivismBrau, B., Fox, N., & Robinson, E. (2020). Behaviorism. In R. Kimmons & S. Caskurlu (Eds.), The Students' Guide to Learning Design and Research. BYU Open Learning Network. https://open.byu.edu/studentguide/behaviorismMichela, E. (2020). Cognitivism. In R. Kimmons & S. Caskurlu (Eds.), The Students' Guide to Learning Design and Research. BYU Open Learning Network. https://open.byu.edu/studentguide/cognitivismOrnstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2017). Curriculum: Foundations, Principles, and Issues (7th ed.). Pearson.