- Learning theories refers to theoretical frameworks which try to explain how people and animals learn, thereby helping us understand the inherently complex process of learning.
- Learning refers to “a persisting change in human performance or performance potential brought about as a result of the learner’s interaction with the environment”
- There are three main categories of learning theories:
- Behaviorism -focuses only on the objectively observable aspects of learning.
- Cognitive theories – look beyond behavior to explain brain-based learning.
- Constructivism – learning as a process in which the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts.
Image Courtesy: http://iansmathedblog.blogspot.com
- First explained by B. F. Skinner
- Ivan Pavlov – Classical Conditioning Theory
- Refers to observable and measurable behavior
- Three basic assumptions of behaviourism are:
- Learning is manifested by a change in behavior.
- The environment shapes behavior.
- The principles of contiguity and reinforcement.
- Behaviourism includes:
- Classical Conditioning – Pavlov
- Operant Conditioning – Skinner
- Cognitive theories consider the thought process behind the behavior.
- It states changes in behavior as indicators to what is happening inside the learner’s mind.
- Cognitive theories make two basic assumptions:
- Memory system is an active organized processor of information and
- Prior knowledge plays an important role in learning.
- Jean Piaget, John Dewey
- ” learners construct knowledge for themselves from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas”
- Constructivism explains learning as a process in which the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts based upon current and past knowledge or experience.
- Constructivism focuses on preparing the learner to problem solve in ambiguous situations.
- Learning theories gives a general explanation for how people learn.
- These theories are applied in educational psychology, curriculum development, instructional methodology.
- Chauhan SS. Advanced educational psychology. 5th edition. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House PVT LTD; 1993.
- Mangal SK. Educational psychology. 8th edition. Ludhiana: Prakash Brothers Educational Publisher’s; 1990.