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Learning Theories
Mary Knestrick
Section 1357
o It has often been said that, “Behave is what organisms do.”
o Behaviorism- a term first used by John Watson, is a theory of
animal and human learning that only focuses on objectively
observable behaviors and discounts mental activities.
o In other words, if you are a behavior theorist, you
define learning as nothing more than the acquisition
of new behavior.
o Some famous behavior theorists are: Ivan Pavlov,
John Watson, and B.F. Skinner.
For more information on behaviorism go to:
Funderstanding- Behaviorism.
o Cognition is the “primary source of study”
o Cognitivism- a theoretical approach to understanding
the mind, which argues that mental function can be
understood by quantitative, positivist and scientific
methods, and that such functions can be described
as information processing models.
o For information on Cognitivism go to:
Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia
o Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded
on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences,
we construct our own understanding of the world we
live in.
o Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental
models," which we use to make sense of our
o Learning, therefore, is simply the process of
adjusting our mental models to accommodate new
o For information on Constructivism go to:
Funderstanding- Constructivism
o There are two schools of thought studied by Constructivists:
Cognitive Constructivism and Socio-Cultural Constructivism.
How people learn vs. Use of
How people
can be used
Learning is accomplished
by doing, experience,
trial and error.
Learning is
accomplished by
cognitive processes
such as: info.
processing, symbol
manipulation, and
Learning is
accomplished by
problem solving,
metacognition, and
critical thinking.
o Teaching machines
o Instructional films and
o Instructional design
o Direct Instruction
o Simulations
o Artificial intelligence
o Expert systems
o Intelligent tutorial
systems (CMI)
o Virtual reality and
o A tool for the learner
o An integral part of the
cognitive activity
o Programming (LOGO)
o Mindtools