Learning Theories Essay - Part 2

Running head: LEARNING THEORIES Learning Theories and Reading Development Grand Canyon University RDG 530 Learning Theories People learn - Learning Theories Essay introduction. There is no debate about that. The challenge comes in determining how people learn, and what impacts their learning. This challenge has spawned a variety of theories. While many of these theories are rooted in some basic understandings about human behavior, there are some differences worth distinguishing. Constructivism, as a concept, has been developed by several researchers.

Each researcher has found, through observation and study, a slightly different explanation on how people learn. The basics, however, remain rooted in the notions that people learn based on their own individual understandings, they construct their own meaning; thus the idea of constructivism (Cobb and Kallus, 2005). Constructivism is a learning, or a making meaning theory where knowledge is gained from interaction with information or content. Piagetian Constructivism This can be referred to as either Piagetian or psychological constructivism.

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The underlying assumption of Piaget’s theory is that concept development forms when new information is assimilated into the working understandings of previously learned information. Further, motivation rests internally and with the new content materials (Cobb and Kallus, 2005). According to Huitt and Hummel (2003), Piaget recognized that the process of learning happened basically innately in children. They began to process information as it came to them. Although there was a process that children went through, according to Piaget, the basics are the same.

Knowledge, then, was something that happened when exposure happened. Working with new ideas created the learning and the knowledge was then formed. Radical Constructivism Although there are similarities, the difference is quite easy to identify. In radical constructivism, the meaning and learning takes place when the person chooses to interact with it. Falling into the definition of radical constructivism is the idea that people begin to fit knowledge and understanding into their experiences. There is some cognitive viability that is the vehicle that determines what and how we learn.

This idea further would be defined by the notion that the world and surroundings are changed to meet the needs of a persons’ understanding. Understanding about the way the world works, about reality, and perceptions is tightened by the experiences and interpretations of the human experiencing them. It is a matter of interpretation. This difference could be identified by using the following verbs: receiving and interpreting. Interpreting takes more engagement from the learner. This is the large difference in the two constructivist approaches.

Although they are similar to the ideas of earlier constructivism ideals, social constructivism takes a leap in how student understanding truly takes place. Social constructivism, spearheaded by Vygotskian, focuses on education in the social changes and transformation. The theory explains human development in the realm of people in social and cultural contexts. IT looks at human learning in a more broad way, recognizing that social interactions create meaning for people (Vygotsky, 1978). Engaging with new information, people begin to create new knowledge.

It is, according to Vygotsky, a process between the new information and the environment. As the environment changes, the understanding does as well. The relationship between the setting and the learning constructions are the new meaning. In the setting of the school, the culture of the context, whether it be reading, mathematics, writing, or science, the modes for learning do change based on the cultural and background in the learning setting. Of course, the classroom is not the single, or only, cultural influence, but does play an integral role within the school scenario. There are a variety of constructivism approaches.

These variants of social constructivism include situated constructivism, social reconstructivism, sociocultural constructivism, sociohistorical constructivism, and emancipatory constructivism. Learning is constructed. When learners begin to work with new information and make sense of it, that is when they are constructing knowledge. These ideals are an important part of the historical perspective of teaching and learning. Students who are given opportunities to discover, make connections to their learning, and construct understanding, are likely to understand and move through learning processes with a greater sense of ease.

References Cobb, J. & Kallus, M. (2005). Historical, theoretical, and sociological foundations of reading in the united states. Boston, MA: Allyn and . ISBN: 9780137020393. Huitt, W. , & Hummel, J. (2003). Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved February 26, 2011 from http://www. edpsycinteractive. org/topics/cogsys/piaget. html . Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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