Matrix of Learning Theories

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This summary outlines three major learning theories: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Behaviorism, which includes theorists such as Watson, Guthrie, Thorndike, and Skinner, focuses on observable and measurable behavior and suggests that learning is a result of repetition and reinforcement. Cognitivism, which includes theorists such as Piaget and Bruner, focuses on mental events during information processing and suggests that learning is a result of cognitive processes such as problem-solving and attention. Constructivism, which includes theorists such as Vygotsky and Bandura, suggests that learners construct their own knowledge through experiences, discovery, and modeling. The summary also outlines key principles, assumptions about learning, factors that influence learning, the role of memory, how instruction should be structured, and learning outcomes for each theory.

Table of Content

Behaviorism Cognitivism Constructivism Theorists John B. Watson Edwin Guthrie Edward Thorndike BF Skinner (Schultz & Schultz, 2004) Wolfgang Kohler & Kurt Koffka Jean Piaget Leon Festinger (Schunk, 2004) Jerome Bruner Albert Bandura Carl Rogers Lev Vygotsky (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Theories Laws of frequency & recency Contiguity theory Law of effect, satisfiers and annoyers Operant conditioning (Schultz & Schultz, 2004) Problem-solving Perception and attention Cognitive stages of development Cognitive dissonance (Schunk, 2004) Constructivist theory Social learning theory Experiential learning Socio-cultural development (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Key Principles The study of human behavior should be limited to observable and measurable behavior. Stimulus-response model of behavior (Schultz & Schultz, 2004) The focus of the study of psychology should be the mental events that occur in the individual during information processing. Stimulus-mental processes-behavior model (Schunk, 2004) Meaning is internally constructed and is influenced by experience Knowledge is situated in the mind and each person constructs his/her own mental representation of that knowledge (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Representations of the learning process Learning is observed to occur and measured as a change in behavior (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Learning occurs when newly acquired information is related to previously learned information Learning is the search for meaning (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Assumptions about learning Learning is formed through a series of repetition and reinforcement The learner has no control over the learning process, the teacher is the source of all knowledge (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Cognitive process shape learning Knowledge is organized Learning involves the formation of mental associations Humans have the capacity for complex learning (Schunk, 2004) Learners can construct their own knowledge without much instruction from the teacher Learning is facilitated by discovery, experience and modeling (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Factors that influence learning Number of trials & repetitions Punishment and rewards Conditioning (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Previous learning Prior experiences Age or readiness Cognitive processes (Schunk, 2004) Quality of learning environment Social interaction Intrinsic motivation Quality of instructional materials (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Role of memory Memory does not exist, since behavior is elicited as a response to a stimulus (Schultz & Schultz, 2004) New information is stored in short-term memory which is then re-encoded to be associated with previous knowledge and will be stored in long-term memory which will also be retrieved at will when the individual is faced with a similar task or problem.

(Schunk, 2004) The memory is the storehouse of all that has been learned. The learner  uses his/her memory to construct meaning by comparing it to previous experiences. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) How should instruction be structured Programmed learning, modular Structured activities Provide positive and negative reinforcements Rote learning Teacher centered instruction (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Organized and structured learning activities but allow for learner initiative and creativity. Must be cognitively appropriate Must be related to real-life examples (Schunk, 2004) Unstructured learning activities Group activities that emphasize social interaction Hands-on learning Encouraging discovery Learner-centered instruction (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) Learning outcomes Behavior change Mastery of overt skills (Schultz & Schultz, 2004) Problem solving Creativity Analysis of learned materials (Schunk, 2004) Construction of knowledge Application of learned material or knowledge to novel tasks Problem solving (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2004) References Hergenhahn, B.

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& Olson, M. (2004). An Introduction to Theories of Learning 7th ed. Upper Saddle River: NJ: Pearson, Merrill Prentice-Hall Schultz, D. & Schultz, S.

(2004). Behaviorism: After the founding. In A history of modern psychology  8th ed. (pp. 320-356).

Belmont, CA:Wadsworth/Thomson Learning Schunk, D. (2004). Cognitive learning processes. In Learning theories: An educational perspective 4th ed. (pp.

190-239). Upper Saddle River: NJ: Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall.  

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