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Learning Theories

Dakota Parks


GCU- 522



  • Emerged in psychology in the 90s
  • Sociocultural theory is the idea that cognitive development is largely influenced by their surroundings (Cherry, 2022)
  • Social intraction plays a big role in this theory

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  • Learning takes place during basic interaction with others
  • Important part of sociocultural theory is the zone of proximal development
  • Vygotsky's theory included:
    • social factors influence development
    • development can vary between cultures
  • In the classroom
    • planning and organizing classroom instruction and lessons
    • using hints, prompts, and direct instruction
    • scaffolding (Cherry, 2022).

Human learning presupposes a specific social nature and a process by which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them(QuoteFancy, 2024).

- Lev Vygotsky



  • First introduced in 2005
  • Suggests students should combine thoughts, theories and general information (Western 2021)
  • Technology plays a major part in the process and the opportunity to make a choice in our learning

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Connectivism Principles

  • Learning and knowlege rests in diversity of opinions
  • Learning is a process of connecting
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances
  • Learning is more critical than knowing
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections are needed for continual learning
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill
  • Auccurate, up-to-date knowledge is the aim of all connectivist learning
  • Decision-making is a learning process (Western, 2021)

We need to move byond the idea that an education is something provided for us, and toward the idea that an education is something that we create for ourselves (Final, 2017).

- Stephen Downes

Adult Learning Theory

Adult Learning Theory

  • Research suggest that adult brains become lazy at the age of 25
  • First introduced in 1980
    • started with four pillars: self-concept, adult learning experience, readiness to learn, and orientation to learn
  • 1984 added the motivation to learn (New, 2021).

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Pillars of Adult Learning Theory

  • Self Concept
    • Children remain entirely dependent on others for learning and understanding
    • Adults carry skills to learn and understand independently
  • Adult Learning Experience
    • Children have minimalexperience to draw on when it comes to new concepts
    • Adults carry plenty of experiences to contextualize new ideas
  • Readiness to Learn
    • While we mature, we tend to center our learning around our assigned roles and responsibilities
  • Orientation to Learning
    • Children are receptive to general education
    • Adults learn better when the concept relates to their everyday lives
  • Motivation to Learn
    • Children's motivation to learn is mostly external
    • Adults drive to learn exists internally (New, 2021).

The learner should be actively involved in the learning process (AzQuotes, n.d.).

- Malcolm Knowles


  • AzQuotes. (n.d.). Malcom knowles quotes. https://www.azquotes.com/author/20868-Malcolm_Knowles
  • Cherry, Kendra. (2022). What is sociocultural theory? https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-sociocultural-theory-2795088
  • Final Project. (2017). Connectivism. https://finalproject017.weebly.com/connectivism.html
  • Quotefancy. (2024). Top 20 lev s. vygotsky quotes. https://quotefancy.com/lev-s-vygotsky-quotes#:~:text=%E2%80%9CHuman%20learning%20presupposes%20a%20specific,life%20of%20those%20around%20them.%E2%80%9D
  • Western Governors University. (2021). Connectivism learning theory. https://www.wgu.edu/blog/connectivism-learning-theory2105.html
  • New England Institute of Technology. (2021). What is adult learning theory? https://www.neit.edu/blog/what-is-adult-learning-theory

Lev Vygotsky

  • Believed that parents, caregivers, peers and their culture are responsible for developing the higher-order functions
  • human development relies on social interaction and can be different among cultures.


  • George Siemens and Stephen Downe
  • Students are seen as "nodes" (an object that connected to another)

Malcolm Knowles

  • Introduced his theory in 1980
  • Adopted the theory of andragogy from the german teacher Alexander Kapp