Comparison Of Learning Theories


Comparison Of Learning Theories

There are three main types of learning theories, behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Behaviourism can be involved with observable behaviour; it categorized learning as acquiring brand-new behaviour predicated on environment. Cognitivism in essence is concern with person thinking method. On the hands congnitivism philosophy of learning based it premise that as person think about past activities they construct their unique meaning of experience and understanding. These three theories will be discussed with some concentrate on their likeness and differences. Since, each of them have implication to teaching and learning. Such as for example, keeping student’s thinking method in mind; looking at student’s responses and the results of these responses.


There isn’t single group of learning theory that if devotedly adopted guarantee educators perfect effects in the classroom. Nevertheless, the study of learning has made much discussion for quite some time. It’s been at the main of educational psychology. Although the value of learning as a topic of study is definitely agreed by psychologists; they often times disagreed on the mechanics of how learning process happened. (Wittrock, 1977) cited by (Good and Brophy 1995) described learning as “the process of acquiring relative long lasting change in understanding, frame of mind, knowledge, information, potential and skill through experience”. This paper seeks to make clear congnitivism, behavioural and constructivist theorists of learning, examining the similarities and distinctions between the theories, gives types of how theses theories could found in the classroom.

Cognitive theories focusing on how people process data and learn. They talk about concept such as memory, difficulty solving and decision building. David Ausubel’s (1963) cognitive theory distinguishes reception learning from rote and discovery learning. It is concern with how students or persons learn large amount of meaningful material believed a verbal expository teaching method (Woolfolk1990 P. 292). He recommended that learning is founded on presenting facts in a hierarchical sequential, organized, manner to learners. This help and motivate meaningful learning, interconnection and retention of fresh information. Since, information presented is usually linked to previous learned “subsumer”. A subsumer is definitely a concept or proven fact that includes others notion (Woolfolk, 1990). Basic put, for learning to become meaningful there should be a possible in shape or incorporation between learners existing cognitive composition and the info to be learned. To do this Ausubel postulates that educator should focus on “advance organizer”. Progress organizers are simple affirmation used to introduce bigger- level concepts to be learn. They offer a structure for fresh information in a general manner and covers the concepts to be learnt (Slavin, 2003). To illustrate, as a teacher I at times uses the KWL chart to teach certain topics, like the continents. First I gave the students a KWL chart; I encourage them to record what they already is aware of the continents, therefore want they wants to know about continents and finally what new info they learned.

Therefore with knowledgeof advance organizers at heart educators should be cognisant of student’s prior know-how and pre-requisite capabilities ought to be determined before supplying any instruction. When instructing new concepts teachers shouldincorporate and initiate with advance organizers. Guidance or concepts ought to be integrated which will inspire integrative assessment, links and transfer of information. Moreover, to help transfer of knowledge teachers should present data in a progressive approach you start with lower- level expertise before moving up to higher-level skills. Additionally, a much as feasible learning material taught in a single subject area should help learning in another subject area. For example, students can be encouraged to create links between some English phrases and Spanish text or Latin words.

Also, in the classroom, instructions will include both discovery and receptive teaching. To help this, after given guidance teachers should follow-up with concerns and assessments that mayprovide opportunities for pupils to encode material within their own approach and apply the concept learn. Furthermore, provide instructions in simple steps, organizing facts in sequential and logical techniques which will be simple to follow. This may also aid and help mastery of details at each level. This hierarchical data format of giving instruction was backed by Gagne’s theory.

Robert Gagne (1979) offers proposed a theory of instructions (Woolfolk, 1990). Gagne postulate several types of learning which needs various kinds of instructions. According to (Great & Brophy, 1995) Gagne discovered five key types of learning. They happen to be attitudes which are interior state that influence personal choices, for instance how college student feel after studying a poem. Motor skills involve using your reflexes such as tying your shoes. Data entails facts and understanding stored in the memory, for example addition and subtraction information. Using intellectual expertise that allow learners to discriminate between concrete, define principles, and resolve problems using guidelines. Finally, use personal ways to guide learning, acting and develop solutions to problems.

Additionally, (Woolfolk, 1990) stated Gagne was “more considering the product quality, permanence and usefulness of college students learning”. To do this, he postulated that instructor used nine instructional occasions. First teachers must gain students attention. This may and should be done using a selection of approaches and methods. For example, to receive my Kindergarten’s attention I quite often combine music, drama, nursery rhymes, or poems to bring in my lessons. They are likely to grab students’ attention and interest since kids generally like these activates.

After student’s attention can be gain, Gagne proposed that teachers communicate to learners of the objectivities of the lesson. This is often performed by reviewing prerequisites, oral questioning or quizzes. Teachers can also offer demonstrations of learning products or outcomes (Slavin, 2003). For instance, when teaching students how to use different designs to build a house I’ll present therefore with a style of what they are able to finally generate themselves. When attention is certainly gain educators must stimulate learners recall of prior learning. This calls for getting pupils to retrieved info they have learned. Then simply, present the stimulus that is presenting the material to be learnt, accompanied by providing learning guidelines. This may be anything from guided discovery activities, explanations or demonstrations, on the other hand, information presented should be in a logical and understanding approach. After undertaking this (Woolfolk ,1990) stated “learning does not end there”. Since, teachers must insure learner demonstrate understanding of taught info. Gagne proposed that is done by his next thing which involves providing advice to learners. Gagne’s sixth instructional function involvesquestioning college students for understanding, their responses allow teachers to judge learners comprehension this likewise provides reinforcement, opinions and assess effectiveness, which Gagne posited as his 7th and eight instructional level. His theory indicates that after each issue is trained teachers should examine pupils performance, this can be done via formal or informal analysis. Finally, educators must boost retention and facilitate transfer of know-how to other top and subject matter and real life situations.

With this information in mind, educators must be mindful that different guidance are required for different learning outcomes. For example in my own classroom when I’d like my class to identify letter “a” I do not give attention to the letter’s sound but on its development or differentiating it from others. Furthermore teachers should be purposeful in selecting instruction tactics, understanding the restrictions and features of the strategies they choice. Additionally, approaches choice should be based on the students, content material and circumstance of it applied, for individual differences are to be considered. Furthermore, lessons should commence with declaration of what and just why students must learn the information. Additionally,

Pavlov’s and Skinner’s theory were behaviourist. Behaviourism is normally concern with observable and measurable aspects of human behaviour (Good & Brophy, 1995). This means that their theories centered on observable, measurable behaviour. Traditional conditioning is normally a term used to describe learning which has been acquired through experience. According to Legge & Harari, 2000). Pavlov used pets mainly pups in his experiments to demonstrated classical conditioning, he arranged for the study of salivary conditioning. The puppies he used demonstrated a salivation response if they where offered meals (unconditional stimulus). The food was offered several times with the sound of a buzzer (conditionalstimulus). After this, the sound of the buzzer by itself could generate the salivation response. This theory has got some links to classroom situations. For instance, a bell ringing is utilized in schools to indicate thefinish of instruction time, recess time, or apply a whistle to obtain students interest during physical education exercises.

Like Pavlov’s theory B. F. Skinner agreed that some human reflexive behaviour is evidently encouraged by certain stimuli. On the other hand, Skinner proposed that reflexive behaviour makes up about only a little proportion of all actions (Slavin, 2003). He proposed the use of pleasant and unpleasant consequences. He work centered on placing subjects in handled situations and observing their behaviour. Operant conditioning may also be known as instrumental conditioning is a way of learning involving reward and punishment of behaviour (Legge & Harari, 2000). Skinner’s theory has features some important rules, is that, behaviour alterations according to its instant “consequences”. Pleasant implications strengthen behaviour, unpleasant consequences weakens it (Slavin 2003). Simple place a person will replicate a behaviour if the results of this behaviour is satisfying or pleasant. Slavin likewise, posit that pleasant outcomes are call reinforcer, distressing consequences are known as punishers. Reinforcers are any consequence that strengthens or increase behaviour. Reinforcers could be positive or negative and both are used to strengthen behaviour. Great reinforces which are favorable incidents that are presented following the behaviour, such as, compliment, grades and stickers. Harmful reinforcers are unfaviourable Negative reinforcers involve removing an unfavorable happenings to reinforce a behaviour.( ww.psychology.about .com)

Obviously, instructor can apply Skinners’ and Pavlov’s theories. They are able to decide what behaviours they need learners to emulate, and reinforce these behaviours

when they occur. For example in my own class when I’d like my students to practice raising their hand to point they desired to give a remedy, I praisethem if they do so and as time passes I get the desired behaviour I’d like. However, as teacher we must be careful not to praise or reward function that usually do not deserve praise. Since, pupils may well not strive to work to their fullest capabilities. As well, after determining of the targets teachers must analyze the task into prerequisite abilities and sub-skills.

Additionally, rewards for academic effort should be meaningfully, such as extra recess time, prospects to work on the computer or extra credit rating on key assignments. Furthermore, students should know very well what behaviour you desire so when students exhibit the desired behaviour plus they are reinforce, you tell them why. Also, as educators we should ensure reinforcement is actually reinforced. For instance, when presenting class guidelines, set up both negative and positive implications for breaking or following the rules. As well, use cues to greatly help establish new behaviours. Sometimes at the beginning of theinstitution year I Call learners attention to the notice board, which often has list of material they should have or will require when official course begins. Furthermore, teachers must be sure you reinforce appropriate behaviour as quickly as possible. For delayed reinforcement usually are less effective than immediately reinforcement. In addition, one must keep in mind anything children like can be use as a powerful reinforcer, although all can not be use in the classroom. However, as a instructor I sometimes use what whatever functional reinforcement to encourage my students.

Constructivism is definitely a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our encounters, we construct our very own understanding of the world we reside in. According to Slavin (2003) it draws a lot of it philosophy on the task of Piaget and Vygotsky, they emphasis thesocial nature of learning, and both suggested the application of different abilities grouping to market conceptual change.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980), is one of the most influential kid psychologies. He proposed a theory of cognitive development which has many implications on teaching and learning.

In Piaget’s theory he seen cognitive advancement on two biological tendencies organization, and adaption( Legge & Harari 2004). Company as Piaget noticed it involved organising experiences and observation into cohesive systems. Adaption includes adjusting to the environment. It is just a process where individual create matches between their pervious learnt facts and new information that may not exactly fit together. This is where individuals demonstrate patterns of behaviour or thinking defined by Piaget as ‘schema’ (Slavin 2003 P.30). This calls for using two techniques assimilation and lodging. Assimilation involved trying to comprehend something brand-new by fitting it into what one currently knows. For example, the first time many children start to see the moon they call up it a ‘ball’. They are assimilating the information into their current perspective of the universe. If the kid observation does not match their existing schemas they support or adjust schema. When the average person has strike a equilibrium between assimilation and accommodation that person has accomplished equilibrium because existing schemes and switch schemas nowadays fits.

Therefore, with the higher than information in mind teachers or educators should facilitate assimilation method by matching innovative learning experiences with learners existing considering patterns. However, the match between new experience and existing thinking scheme of learners should not be too precise, for no or little lodging will occur. When organizing teachers should create possibilities of experience that generate novel strategies and divergence sights this will demand some reconstructing of thinking and belief. Likewise, when presenting new information to learners it is important that this is performed in a sequential and meaningful method this will facilitate business of information and inspire learners to organize their thought into main ides, concepts and generalisation; this can help students to consider past learning in a divisive and included way which can becomes problem solving tools.

According to (Woolfolk 1990) Piaget likewise postulates a level theory. He suggested that children regardless of factors such as race and gender get though diverse stages of creation, and that at each level they think qualitatively dissimilar to the stage ahead of. In the first level sensorimortor, (birth to 24 months) is the period when infants gain understanding of the globe though manipulating things and innate reflexes. They master that an object will continue to exit even if it really is out of sight Woolfolk (2003). The preoperational stage (2 to 7 years) children can now use imagery predicated on her or his memory of prior behaviour in the same problem (Good & Brophy, 2008). Preschooler’s terminology develops at an unbelievable rate. On the other hand their thinking remains to be egocentric and central. Accordingly, teachers should use visible aids whenever you can. When given instructions to preschoolers, educators can allow them to do something it out as well as provide them with oral information and don’t expect pupils in the preoperational stage constantly see the environment from others perceptive. Additionally opportunities must be provided for group phrase, this facilitates co-procedure, and lessen subjectivity.

The next stage may be the concrete operational (age 7 to 12) Children at this age are in colleges they could solve concrete (hands on) problems (Slavin 2003). They seriously depend on concrete activities to facilitate his or her thinking. Therefore, teacher must provide prospects for learner in this level to meaningfully manipulate objects. For instance,when I am educating topics such as addition or time I give student types of clocks or counter to aid their understanding. . Also, significantly students must have occasions to connect to the physical and social environment

The final stage (get older 12 and beyond) of cognitive development is described by the child’s capability to think abstractly and employ logical hypothesis screening to resolve problems. Teachers must consequently integrate new examples and illustration from previously educated lesson to increase old learning. Provide higher level problems to activate student in essential abstract thinking. In my own teaching my concerns and complications are set at diverse levels such as for example requires knowledge to reply, others required comprehension expertise while other might need analysis skills.

Vygotsky (1896-1934) can be a Russian psychologist who made significant contributions to developmental and constructivism theory. He proposes a theory of expansionwhere he presented several important concepts Legge & Harari 2004). He viewed cognitive developments as a result of a dialectical method, where a child learns through shared problem solving encounters with someone else. It is mainly through their speech that people happen to be assumed to transmit to children the rich overall body of expertise that exists in their way of life. As learning progresses, the child’s own language comes to help as her or his primary instrument of intellectual transformation (Slavin 2003).

Another concept is definitely his theoretical construct of the zone of proximal advancement (ZPD) which gives an explanation of what sort of child develops by making use of others (Woolfolk 2003). It is the gap between what kids are already in a position to do and what they are not quite prepared to accomplish independently (Slavin 2004). He clarifies how children develop through connection with others such as parents, teacher, siblings or a peer.The individual interactingwith the childundertakes most of the responsibility for guiding the situation solving, but little by little this responsibility transfers to the kid.

Vygotsky also posited scaffolding. It is very similar to scaffolding around a setting up. In that, it can be removed after the need for it ends. For example, whenever a child is shown how exactly to something and has mastered the idea he or she can now finish this assignment on his / her own.

Vygotsky’s theory could be applied to the classroom, he implies the teachers

Is important along the way of the transmission of knowledge .This implies teacher must ensure information given are correct and beneficial to learners. Moreover, they need to provide chances for peer tutoring, cooperative learning arrangements among student with mix-abilities. Personally I could attest that this approach works. Since, I’ve successful use this in lots of of my lessons. Allow students to gradually undertake more independentresponsibilities, removing the scaffold.

Teachers obligations are to help learning, what teachers carry out in the classroom are essential to the overall effect of students learning. Subsequently, teachers endeavour to making learning occur must be his or her best efforts. By doing this teachers can draw out of all the theories discussed in the essay. However, one should be mindful these theories ha some thins in keeping and differences.

Behaviourism is concern about behaviour which might be observed while cognitive psychology assumes that human beings have the capacity to process and organise information within their mind. It is concerned not as much with observable behaviour and more with the thought functions behind it. Constructivism like congnitivism targets thinking processes and difficulty solving but also considered pupils reactions which is an essential characteristic of the behaviourist theory. All three discussed theories try to explain and describe how learning comes about and viewed education and the instructional procedure all together. However, behaviourism formed the foundation for all learning theories.

Cognitivism and constructivism both stressed the importance of forging relation between past learnt information to fresh information. In other words, learners are anticipated to relate new details to prior understanding and experiences.

As stated before there is no ideal educational theory. Nevertheless the approach teachers found in their daily instructions are important. The techniques they use ought to be based on a range of issues, including the age of the pupils, their cognitive processing level, the subject matter and problems of the required task as a way to successfully achieve all the objectives.