Learning Theories Sarah Harris EME 2040-5499 How Do We Learn? Is learning a product of our behavior and acquisition of concepts, or is it the process that leads us to understanding? There are many theories on how we learn and how we perceive and process information. It is a matter of determining styles and methods of instruction to best fit the learning process for maximum retention of knowledge. Constructivism • Bruner’s theory emphasizes instruction based on the study of cognition and linked to child development research as well as social and cultural aspects of learning • Instructor must encourage learner to discover concepts on their own • Instruction must make the student ready and willing to learn through a connection in context with experience • Instruction must be structured to be easily grasped • Spiral organization of instruction for building knowledge • Instruction designed for exploration and going beyond the information presented For more information visit Funderstanding Constructivism Behaviorism • Learning is a function of a change in behavior • Behavior is a response of an individual to events or stimuli that occur in the environment • Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning aims to provide behavioral explanations for cognition • He also aims to explain motivation and response as well as discuss the issues of free will and social control • Reinforcement is the key element in Skinner’s theory • This element includes both positive and negative reinforcers as well as punishment and their effects on establishing and maintaining behavior For more information visit Behaviorism Behaviorism • Pavlov’s theory of classical conditioning and reflex learning • Learning doesn’t depend on us doing anything • An unconditioned stimulus resulting in an unconditioned response presented with a conditioned stimulus will eventually produce a conditioned response • Learning by association Cognitivism • Our mind is composed of a sensory register, short-term memory, and long term memory • These memory stores register, process, store, and retrieve information • Miller proposed several theoretical ideas on information processing that would replace the stimulus-response idea of behaviorism • Chunk: a meaningful unit of information (digits, words, faces, etc.); capacity of short-term memory is 5-9 chunks • Test-Operate-Test-Exit (TOTE): a goal is tested for achievement, an operation is performed in attempt, and testoperate is repeated until the goal is either achieved or abandoned For more information visit The Information Processing Approach to Cognition Contrasting the Theories… Constructivism Behaviorism Cognitivism •Active and Exploratory Learning •Learners construct new ideas building on current and previous knowledge and experiences •Learning in response to a stimulus •Learner has no control •Learning shaped by repetition and reinforcement •Information Processing through memory stores •Use of retention strategies •Interactive Learning •Group Work/Projects •Visualization of concept through hands-onactivities •Simulation •Open-ended Questions •Dialogue •Instructional Design •Immediate Feedback •Question and Answer •Reinforcement •Computer Assisted Instruction •Symbolic Representations •Lecture •Direct Instruction •Video, Visual Presentations The information included in this presentation provides a foundation for understanding the many diverse learning theories that have been developed and their importance in education. Three learning theories have been presented along with the basic concepts concerning them. I have discussed the work done by theorists in forming these views on learning as well as how these theories can be incorporated in the classroom with the use of technology.