Theories Of Teaching And Learning In Education Pdf

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Learning theories are an organized set of principles explaining how individuals acquire, retain, and recall knowledge. By studying and knowing the different learning theories, we can better understand how learning occurs. The principles of the theories can be used as guidelines to help select instructional tools, techniques and strategies that promote learning.

Theories of Learning and Studies of Instructional Practice

Learning theory describes how students receive, process, and retain knowledge during learning. Cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences, as well as prior experience, all play a part in how understanding, or a world view, is acquired or changed and knowledge and skills retained. Behaviorists look at learning as an aspect of conditioning and advocate a system of rewards and targets in education.

Educators who embrace cognitive theory believe that the definition of learning as a change in behaviour is too narrow, and study the learner rather than their environment—and in particular the complexities of human memory.

Those who advocate constructivism believe that a learner's ability to learn relies largely on what they already know and understand, and the acquisition of knowledge should be an individually tailored process of construction.

Transformative learning theory focuses on the often-necessary change required in a learner's preconceptions and world view. Geographical learning theory focuses on the ways that contexts and environments shape the learning process. Outside the realm of educational psychology , techniques to directly observe the functioning of the brain during the learning process, such as event-related potential and functional magnetic resonance imaging , are used in educational neuroscience.

The theory of multiple intelligences , where learning is seen as the interaction between dozens of different functional areas in the brain each with their own individual strengths and weaknesses in any particular human learner, has also been proposed, but empirical research has found the theory to be unsupported by evidence. Plato BC— BC proposed the question: How does an individual learn something new when the topic is brand new to that person?

This question may seem trivial; however, think of a human like a computer. The question would then become: How does a computer take in any factual information without previous programming? Plato answered his own question by stating that knowledge is present at birth and all information learned by a person is merely a recollection of something the soul has already learned previously, [5] which is called the Theory of Recollection or Platonic epistemology.

He describes learning as a passive process, where information and knowledge are ironed into the soul over time. However, Plato's theory elicits even more questions about knowledge: If we can only learn something when we already had the knowledge impressed onto our souls, then how did our souls gain that knowledge in the first place? Plato's theory can seem convoluted; however, his classical theory can still help us understand knowledge today.

John Locke — offered an answer to Plato's question as well. Locke offered the "blank slate" theory where humans are born into the world with no innate knowledge and are ready to be written on and influenced by the environment.

The former provides insights regarding external objects including their properties while the latter provides the ideas about one's mental faculties volition and understanding. Locke recognized that something had to be present, however. This something, to Locke, seemed to be "mental powers".

Locke viewed these powers as a biological ability the baby is born with, similar to how a baby knows how to biologically function when born. So as soon as the baby enters the world, it immediately has experiences with its surroundings and all of those experiences are being transcribed to the baby's "slate". All of the experiences then eventually culminate into complex and abstract ideas. This theory can still help teachers understand their students' learning today.

The term "behaviorism" was coined by John Watson — Watson believed the behaviorist view is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science with a goal to predict and control behavior.

Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness. Methodological behaviorism is based on the theory of only explaining public events, or observable behavior.

Skinner introduced another type of behaviorism called radical behaviorism , or the conceptual analysis of behavior, which is based on the theory of also explaining private events; particularly, thinking and feelings.

Radical behaviorism forms the conceptual piece of behavior analysis. In behavior analysis, learning is the acquisition of a new behavior through conditioning and social learning. Ivan Pavlov discovered classical conditioning. He observed that if dogs come to associate the delivery of food with a white lab coat or the ringing of a bell, they produce saliva, even when there is no sight or smell of food. Classical conditioning considers this form of learning the same, whether in dogs or in humans.

A reward increases the likelihood of the behavior recurring, a punishment decreases its likelihood. These three learning theories form the basis of applied behavior analysis , the application of behavior analysis, which uses analyzed antecedents, functional analysis , replacement behavior strategies, and often data collection and reinforcement to change behavior. The old practice was called behavior modification, which only used assumed antecedents and consequences to change behavior without acknowledging the conceptual analysis; analyzing the function of behavior and teaching of new behaviors that would serve the same function was never relevant in behavior modification.

Behaviorists view the learning process as a change in behavior, and arrange the environment to elicit desired responses through such devices as behavioral objectives, Competency-based learning , and skill development and training. Transfer of learning is the idea that what one learns in school somehow carries over to situations different from that particular time and that particular setting. Edward Lee Thorndike was a pioneer in transfer research. He found that though transfer is extremely important for learning, it is a rarely occurring phenomenon.

In fact, he held an experiment where he had the subjects estimate the size of a specific shape and then he would switch the shape. He found that the prior information did not help the subjects; instead it impeded their learning.

One explanation of why transfer does not occur often involves surface structure and deep structure. The surface structure is the way a problem is framed. The deep structure is the steps for the solution. For example, when a math story problem changes contexts from asking how much it costs to reseed a lawn to how much it costs to varnish a table, they have different surface structures, but the steps for getting the answers are the same.

However, many people are more influenced by the surface structure. In reality, the surface structure is unimportant. Nonetheless, people are concerned with it because they believe that it provides background knowledge on how to do the problem.

Consequently, this interferes with their understanding of the deep structure of the problem. Even if somebody tries to concentrate on the deep structure, transfer still may be unsuccessful because the deep structure is not usually obvious. Therefore, surface structure gets in the way of people's ability to see the deep structure of the problem and transfer the knowledge they have learned to come up with a solution to a new problem.

Current learning pedagogies focus on conveying rote knowledge , independent of the context that gives it meaning [ citation needed ]. Because of this, students often struggle to transfer this stand-alone information into other aspects of their education. Students need much more than abstract concepts and self-contained knowledge ; they need to be exposed to learning that is practiced in the context of authentic activity and culture. Some theorists argue that transfer does not even occur at all.

They believe that students transform what they have learned into the new context. They say that transfer is too much of a passive notion. They believe students, instead, transform their knowledge in an active way. Students don't simply carry over knowledge from the classroom, but they construct the knowledge in a way that they can understand it themselves. The learner changes the information they have learned to make it best adapt to the changing contexts that they use the knowledge in.

This transformation process can occur when a learner feels motivated to use the knowledge—however, if the student does not find the transformation necessary, it is less likely that the knowledge will ever transform [21]. There are many different conditions that influence transfer of learning in the classroom.

All the unique features contribute to a student's ability to use transfer of learning. These structural strategies include hugging and bridging. Hugging uses the technique of simulating an activity to encourage reflexive learning. An example of the hugging strategy is when a student practices teaching a lesson or when a student role plays with another student. These examples encourage critical thinking that engages the student and helps them understand what they are learning—one of the goals of transfer of learning [24] and desirable difficulties.

Bridging is when instruction encourages thinking abstractly by helping to identify connections between ideas and to analyze those connections. An example is when a teacher lets the student analyze their past test results and the way they got those results.

This includes amount of study time and study strategies. Looking at their past study strategies can help them come up with strategies to improve performance. These are some of the ideas important to successful to hugging and bridging practices.

There are many benefits of transfer of learning in the classroom. One of the main benefits is the ability to quickly learn a new task.

This has many real-life applications such as language and speech processing. Transfer of learning is also very useful in teaching students to use higher cognitive thinking by applying their background knowledge to new situations. Cognitive theories grew out of Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology was developed in Germany in the early s by Wolfgang Kohler [26] and was brought to America in the s. The German word Gestalt is roughly equivalent to the English configuration or organization and emphasizes the whole of human experience.

However, the lights are actually flashing. Each light has been programmed to blink rapidly at their own individual pace. Perceived as a whole however, the sign appears fully lit without flashes. If perceived individually, the lights turn off and on at designated times. Another example of this would be a brick house: As a whole, it is viewed as a standing structure. However, it is actually composed of many smaller parts, which are individual bricks. People tend to see things from a holistic point of view rather than breaking it down into sub units.

In Gestalt theory, psychologists say that instead of obtaining knowledge from what's in front of us, we often learn by making sense of the relationship between what's new and old. Gestalt psychologists criticize behaviorists for being too dependent on overt behavior to explain learning. They propose looking at the patterns rather than isolated events. Two key assumptions underlie this cognitive approach: that the memory system is an active organized processor of information and that prior knowledge plays an important role in learning.

Gestalt theorists believe that for learning to occur, prior knowledge must exist on the topic. When the learner applies their prior knowledge to the advanced topic, the learner can understand the meaning in the advanced topic, and learning can occur. Cognitive theories look beyond behavior to consider how human memory works to promote learning, and an understanding of short term memory and long term memory is important to educators influenced by cognitive theory. They view learning as an internal mental process including insight , information processing, memory and perception where the educator focuses on building intelligence and cognitive development.

Once memory theories like the Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model [31] and Baddeley's working memory model [32] were established as a theoretical framework in cognitive psychology , new cognitive frameworks of learning began to emerge during the s, 80s, and 90s. Today, researchers are concentrating on topics like cognitive load and information processing theory.

Learning theory (education)

Below, you will find a brief outline of each educational learning theory, along with links to resources that may be helpful. Behaviorism is a view in which behavior can be explained by external factors and behavioral conditioning can be used as a universal learning process. In behaviorism, the ideas of positive and negative reinforcement are effective tools of learning and behavior modification, as well as a punishment and reward system. Cognitivism is a learning theory developed by Jean Piaget in which a child develops cognitive pathways in understanding and physical response to experiences. In this theory, students learn most effectively through reading text and lecture instruction. Constructivism is the idea that people are responsible in creating their own understanding of the world and using what they know based on previous experiences in the process of linking new information to these experiences. People use these experiences and new information to construct their own meaning.

There are many different theories regarding the way people learn. This section will very briefly explore some of them in alphabetical order , which you might like to research further and try out with your own learners. The posting below is a nice summary of various learning theories. Published by Sage Publishing Company. Copyright by Ann Gravells and Susan Simpson.


Despite the fact there are so many educational theorists, there are three labels that they all fall under. Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism.


The five educational learning theories.

It seems that you're in Germany. We have a dedicated site for Germany. Theories of Learning and Studies of Instructional Practice Timothy Koschmann, editor Though there have been numerous calls for educational researchers to attend more closely to the details of how teaching is actually done, instructional practice remains an inadequately studied topic. Theories of Learning and Studies of Instructional Practice seeks to remedy this by helping construct a foundation for a practice-based science of instruction. It focuses on the fundamental question, what roles should theories of learning play in the study of instructional practice?

In this paper the concept of teacher development is well examined, and theories pertaining to it are also linked to. There are some important terms that need clarification and defining before the concept is explored in deep. The reasons why some terms are worth clarifying is the need for shared understanding. The absence of shared common understanding threatens construct validity, and difficulty in identifying teacher development process.

No two students are alike, and the way every person learns will vary. Our brains are all unique, and our experiences all contribute to the different ways we learn. Psychologists have spent countless hours performing tests to better understand how students learn.

Vision and Mission

So what are educational learning theories and how can we use them in our teaching practice? There are so many out there, how do we know which are still relevant and which will work for our classes? In this article you will find a breakdown of each one and an explanation of the 15 most influential learning theories; from Vygotsky to Piaget and Bloom to Maslow and Bruner. By Paul Stevens-Fulbrook. Since Plato, many theorists have emerged, all with their different take on how students learn. Learning theories are a set of principles that explain how best a student can acquire, retain and recall new information.

The curriculum is one of the most effective tools for bridging the gap between education and development.

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Learning Theories. Their Influence on Teaching Methods