Learning Theory and the Educational Processes

  • Docx File 49.69KByte



Learning Theory and the Educational ProcessesMonica R. WoodsUniversity Of PhoenixAbstractThis paper is to summarize the learning theories behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, social cognitivism, humanism, and moral development. It is intended to describe key concepts of each learning theory discovered through the course readings and further examination of learning theories. This paper will also identify major theorists that identified as contributors to of each theory and introducing them to science and society. This summary will also include some identified strengths and weaknesses of each theory. Finally, this paper will discuss each theory and how educators can use these theories to optimize the learning processes and experiences of students in the classroom setting.Keywords: learning theory, behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, classroom, instruction, social cognitivism, humanism, moral development, and self-actualizationLearning Theory and the Educational ProcessesToday's classroom teaching requires educators to go beyond the systematic execution of basic pedagogical steps of instructional design. The necessity to close the gap between learning theories and educational practices have been discussed amongst researchers for since the late 1900's (Ertmer and & Newby, 2013). According to Ertmer and Newby, researchers have expressed a strong need to giving an engineering analogy to science and math content to translate theory into practice. Educators must have a clear understanding of various learning theories to consider the benefits associated with strategies of instruction in the classroom. Learning theories discussed in this paper are behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, social cognitivism, humanism, and moral development. These approaches offer strategies that can bringing clarity, direction, and focus on designing and implementing instruction that align with student learning. BehaviorismBehaviorism is a learning theory that dates back to Plato’s ideas of the mind being the basic principle of reality (Gredler, 2009). Gredler discussed other behaviorists Aristotle, Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner, and Edward Thorndike as major contributors to the study of behavior. Pavlov was most noted by his work with a dog, a bell, and food, which brought us classical conditioning (Mergel, 1998). John Watson took Pavlov's idea and studied human behavior (Mergel). Watson demonstrated classical conditioning using a baby and a white rat associating a loud noise to the baby touching the white rat. Mergel described B. F. Skinner as a behaviorist that associated rewards or positive behavior, called operant conditioning, to the stimulus-response pattern, which he saw as a way to condition behavior. Edward Thorndike held a behaviorist belief stating that a bond establishes between stimuli and responses when the response was positive (Mergel). Behaviorism plays an important role in instruction as the need for educators to structure the classroom environment to stimulate learning in direct response to the behavioral needs of the student. As shown in the chart attached, behaviorism occurs when teachers can demonstrate a relationship between the curriculum (stimuli) and the engaging (response) of the student. Teachers can activate the memory through review and practice to get an idea of the student's readiness. Factors that influence learning using the behaviorists view include designing the environment with the needs of the student's learning style in mind. Students are building and strengthening instructional cues and reinforcing concepts through practice.CognitivismWhere behaviorism focuses on observable behaviors, cognitivism, on the other hand, focuses on the internal processes of the mind. Cognitivists such as Vygotsky, Bruner, Piaget, Dewey, and Gagne recognized learning went beyond observable behaviors (Gredler, 2009). Cognitivists believe that learning takes place when associations can be made cognitively with repetition. Gredler states that fundamental concepts of cognitivism include schema, which is the internal knowledge with existing cognitive structures. It also includes a three-stage information process involving sensory register, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Cognitivist concepts also use meaningful effects that make information easier to learn and remember. Serial position effects make it easy to remember information sequentially from beginning to end and. Practice effects that employ practicing and rehearsing to improve retention. Transfer effects of prior learning to learning new information is another concept of cognitivism. Concepts also include the interference effect where prior learning interferes with learning new knowledge. Then, organization effects when the learner categorizes what I taken in to make information easy to remember. Another commonly used concept is mnemonic effects, which involves using strategies to place meaningless input into meaningful images or context (Mergel, 1998). The best learning teachers can use with cognitivism is to challenge students' retrieval and store information to use at a later time. As shown in the chart, cognitivism works best with strategies that require reasoning and problem-solving skills.ConstructivismConstructivists such as Piaget, Bruner, Vygotsky, Dewey, Vico, and Rorty view learning as the building of knowledge through doing (Gredler, 2009). Constructivism learning theory states that knowledge is based on individual experiences and cannot be passed from one learner to another. Constructivism assumes that learning is adaptive, is positional, is constructed by the learner, is resistant to change, and is social (Yilmaz, 2008). Constructivist learning is seen in self-directed learning environments where student activity is hands-on and reflecting. Constructivism shows a focus on the learner constructing knowledge within a social context (Yilmaz, 2008). Learning occurs in constructivism when students are given the opportunity to construct (create) their meaning and understanding (interpret) of the concept derived from their individual experiences (see chart included). Teachers who use the constructivists view in instruction facilitates the learning allowing students to function in a social setting that invite discovery.Social CognitivismAlbert Bandura founded the social cognitive theory in his discovery of behavioral modeling while working with his patients with snake phobias. Bandura's theory broadened by theorists Edwin Holt, Harold Chapman Brown, Neal E. Miller, and John Dollard (Ormrod, 2014). The social cognitivist view is learning by relating to one’s environment. Bandura suggests that people learn by observing others in their environment. Miller and Dollard took Bandura’s theory further suggesting that learning occurs through observing and imitating the behavior of others (Ormrod, 2014). Social Cognitivism theory employs the most simplistic instructional implications for classroom instruction. Teachers should provide students with frequent opportunities to observe models of knowledge, behaviors, and skills they are expected to master. Learning occurs in a social cognitive classroom through a reciprocal interaction of students, the environment, and behavior (Denler, Wolters, and Benzon, 2014). Social Cognitivism theory uses cognitive, verbal, and coping functions learned and stored in the memory (see the chart associated). Students learn best in classrooms where the teacher utilizes mnemonics, visual graphics, and makes the content relevant and personal to the student.HumanismHumanists Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, John Dewey, Malcolm Knowles, and Rollo May shared the belief that learning is activated by personal drive guided by reason (Carter, 2014). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs demonstrates the process educators can use to lead students to discover self-identity and holistic understanding. Carter explains humanistic theory is unlike most theories as focusing on how learning takes place and acquiring knowledge, humanism emphasizes the learners learning by the association between social transformation and self-actualization. The teacher who uses humanistic pedagogy will design learning with an understanding that learning occurs when the instruction is intended to meet cognitive needs, and the student can derive personal meaning from the content. Humanistic instruction is activated when influenced by an environment in which the educational decisions and practices are personalized, promotes positive direction and independence. A humanistic teacher will adapt from being an instructor presenting the curriculum to a facilitator guiding students in their learning.Moral DevelopmentMoral development theory is based on a system of beliefs, values, and principles directed by human conduct associated with the behavior response and its consequences. Moral theorists Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Carol Gilligan, H.J. Eysenck, and Justin Aronfreed were very influential in the field and built upon the three levels and six stages of moral development founded by Piaget and Kohlberg (Stephens, 2009). These stages are critical in the moral development of people, beginning with babies. Kohlberg identifies the three levels and six stages of moral development as (1) pre-conditional morality- individual moral decision based on self, (stage 1) obedience and punishment orientation, (stage 2) individualism and exchange; (2) conventional morality (stage 3) good interpersonal relationships, (stage 4) maintaining the social order; (3) post-conventional morality (stage 5) social contract and individual right, (stage 6) universal principles (Stephens, 2009). Learning occurs in moral development theory by the student’s ability to discern between obedience and punishment. According to Stephens, learning occurs as the student associate obedience to discipline, uses reasoning skills, understands one's beliefs and values, and fears authority. Moralistic teachers gear students in the direction to gain acceptance from peers. Classroom instruction is best provided to students in cooperative learning groups, and using word problems, problem-solving skills in activities and assessments. Decision-making and self-interest are also the centers of moral development. A teacher that promotes Strengths and WeaknessesThe strengths and weaknesses of learning theories vary based on the learning outcomes of the learner. The strengths of behaviorist learning are rooted in goals to be met, and learner focus on achievement (Ertmer and Newby, 2013). The weakness in behaviorism is in the effectiveness of stimuli-response. If the stimuli-response lacks the appropriate incentive, then the desired behavior may not appear. The strengths of cognitivism are that instruction potentially derives meaningful learning for longer impact on the learner and is well suited for higher levels of learning (Yilmaz, 2008). The weakness of cognitivism lies in the schemas that help make learning meaningful. According to Ertmer and Newby (2013) learners are at a disadvantage when schemas or prior knowledge are not present. Constructivism theory is strengthened by the ability to present content in various ways. Constructivist learners can develop and present new information and knowledge in an active learning way (Baumgartner and Duncan, 2009). Constructivism is weakened by individual interpretation and interests, making it difficult to assess learning outcomes.ConclusionBehaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are founding theories that other theories such as social cognitivism, humanism, and moral development were derived. Because each theory gives insight into human learning, it is important that educators understand how to incorporate the distinguishing elements to effect instruction. Factors key to behaviorism theory gives teachers tools to develop rules and guideline that set up a classroom environment that is nurturing and encourages learning. The cognitive theory allows teachers to develop learning activities to teach students problem-solving and reasoning skills. Constructivism turns a classroom into an environment that teaches to individual learning styles and empowers the learner to construct meaning based on individual experiences. Social cognitive theory guide student using mnemonic themes and relative curriculum that leads to cognitive and verbal mastery. Humanistic teaching calls for personalized education plans that supports positive direction and independence while incorporating technology and cooperative group learning. Finally, teachers should understand the moral development of students to gauge reasoning skills and the ability for a student to make good decisions. Where one theory can improve learning based on desired outcomes, a mix of theories can lead to individual self-actualization.ReferencesBaumgartner, E., & Duncan, K. (2009). Evolution of students' ideas about natural selection through a constructivist framework. The American Biology Teacher, 71(4), 218.Denler, H., Wolters, C., & Benzon, M.?(2014, January).?Social cognitive theory.?,1-18. Retrieved?from?, P. A., & Newby, T. J.?(2013).?Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective.?Performance improvements quarterly, 26(2), 43-71. doi:10.1002/piqGredler, M. E. (2008). Learning and instruction: Theory into practice, 6th edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from , C. (2005). Democratic Education and Social Learning Theory. Philosophy Of Education Yearbook, 161-170.Hurst,?M. (n.d). Social cognitive learning theory: Definitions and examples [Video file]. Retrieved from website: for the 21st Century (2012,?December?30). Use A Learning Theory [Video file]. Retrieved from Youtube website: , B.?(n.d).?Learning theories of instructional design.?Retrieved from , J.?(2009, December).?Moral development.?, 1-18. Retrieved?from?, K.?(2008, Spring).?Cognitivism: its theoretical underpinnings, variations, and implications for classroom instruction.?Educational Horizons,161-172. Retrieved?from? HYPERLINK "" Chart, Part 2CUR/711Monica R. WoodsDistinguishing Elements to QuestionBehaviorismCognitivismConstructivismSocial CognitivismHumanismMoral DevelopmentHow does learning occur?Association between stimuli & responseStructured acquisition of knowledge Creating meaning from experience; build interpretation from experiencesSocial context with a dynamic and reciprocal interaction of the person, environment, and behaviorMeet affective and cognitive needs; derive personal meaningAssociation between obedience-punishmentWhat is the role of memory?Memory plays less of a role; practice or review shows readiness of responseStorage, retrieval & encoding informationPre-existing knowledge with new experiencesCognitive, verbal, mastery, copingCognitive, learning is internal, self-actualizationReasoning skills, understanding one’s beliefsWhat factors influence learning?Environmental, the learnerSchema, prior experiencesEnvironment, social interactions, cultural exposureEnvironmental, mnemonics, visual graphicsEnvironmental, personalized educational decisions and practicesFear of authority, acceptance by peersWhat types of learning are best explained by the theory? Building and strengthening use of instructional cues, practice, reinforcementReasoning, problem-solving, & information processingCollaboration, social, inquiryRehearsal, visual models, relevant and personal materialCooperative learning groups, promote positive direction and independence, technologyCooperative learning groups, problem solving, decision making, and self interestWho are major Theorists?AristotleIvan Pavlov John B. Watson B.F. Skinner Edward ThorndikeLev Vygotsky Jerome Bruner Jean Piaget John Dewey Robert Gagne Lev VygotskyJean PiagetJohn DeweyGiamattista VicoRichard RortyAlbert BanduraEdwin HoltHarold Chapman BrownNeal E. MillerJohn DollardAbraham MaslowCarl RogersJohn DeweyMalcolm KnowlesRollo MayJean PiagetLawrence KohlbergCarol GilliganH.J. EysenckJustin Aronfreed(Ertmer and Newby, 2013; Gredler, 2009; Ormrod, 2014; Carter, 2015; Stephens, 2009)BehaviorismBehaviorists view learning as a process of behavior that is taught and can be modified based on the associated stimuli and consequences of the behavior (Gredler, 2009). Behaviorism is observable actions that change in response to a specific environmental cause resulting in an effect from such behavior (Gredler, 2009). CognitivismDerived from Behaviorism, Cognitivism refers to the study of the mind in learning. Theorist made a shift in believing that not all learning happened through changing and shaping behavior. Cognitivism focuses on how the mind takes in, processes, and stores information (Ormrod, 2014). Learners in a cognitivist environment are active in their learning while the mind works as a computer processing and storing information (Ormrod, 2014).ConstructivismConstructivism is learning that takes place in the form of learners building their own knowledge through hands on activities (Baumgartner and Duncan, 2009). Following the constructivist theory, learners draw from prior knowledge current worldviews to discover new ideas and move to new worldviews that can accept new concepts (Baumgartner and Duncan, 2009).Social CognitivismSocial cognitivists view learning as the acquiring of social skills through watching and interacting with others (Ormrod, 2014). Social cognitivism focuses on the assumption that modeling is a key factor in learning. Social cognitive theory is an internal process that states knowledge learned may be stored cognitively and retrieved at a later time (Ormrod, 2014).HumanismHumanists view learning as the focus on the whole person and their freedom, dignity, and potential. Humanism is a paradigm or pedagogical approach believing that learning is a personal act to fulfill one’s potential in life (Carter, 2015)Moral DevelopmentMoral development is a system of beliefs, principles, and values that govern human conduct by prescribing both positive behavior and the negative consequences that accompany negative behavior towards others in a society (Howell, 2005) Individual: Theory Chart, Part II?10 Possible Points9Feed ForwardMake a concentrated effort to connect the learning from one week to the next. See how the information interrelates with the new information of each subsequent week.Doctoral Paper Grading RubricCriteriaPercentsPossible PointsPoints EarnedCommentDepth Of Scholarship10%11?Assignments should represent the learner’s careful, thoughtful efforts to cover the key elements of the topic thoroughly. Content should go beyond mere description or regurgitation. The work should be thematic and based on an analytical framework of the learner’s choosing.????Key Elements???You covered the content well and referenced your sources adequately. You were thorough in the information provided. It was comprehensive and research was used to back up the information found. Your graphics were well done. I especially liked the table that demonstrated how the theories overlapped.Word count range: 1500 - 2400 word count for the thesis section of the paper (entire paper).?0.20.2Corrections are clearly identified.?0.20.2Included new theorists and theories learned in Week 4.?0.20.2Includes a separate diagram for all six theories. Note how some overlap.?0.20.2Obvious improvement over the first draft to warrant additional points.?0.20.2?????Originality of ideas and research15%1.51.5The paper demonstrated excellent originality of ideas in the development of the graphic organizer and information presented. This assignment was not only a revision of last week's paper, but was an extension based on Week 4's additional three theories. Demonstrated originality of thought in proposed rationale for information provided.?0.50.5Enlarged upon researched authors’ points of view.0.50.5Revisions of the chart reflect feedback of peers, resulting in a much clearer diagram from the original.0.50.5?????Theoretical and conceptual framework15%1.51.5You expanded on the Week 3 theories and theorists in the thesis paper. Contributed substantive value to the understanding of the information provided?0.750.75Related the theories and theorists to practical applications.0.750.75?????Use of literature15%1.51.5Good use of the literature. You had a variety of sources, going beyond just the course materials. Good job!Supported the assertions with peer- reviewed literature.?0.750.75Used appropriate, timely, and adequate literature.0.750.75?????Substantive value15%1.51.1I question your learning because you failed to cite sources of information learned and the failure to correctly format a direct quote.Contributed substantive value to the understanding of the concepts discussed based on course learning ?0.750.55Presented information in a manner that would convince others of the point of view established.0.750.55?????Clarity and logic of presentation10%11Use subheadings to help sectionalize the paper and helps with the transitions from one idea to the next.. The organization of the paper was clear and easy to follow. Work on your introduction and summary sections. They are key elements of all assignments. Utilized a strong organizational structure.?0.50.5Covered the facts in a logical and consistent manner.0.50.5?????Grammar and adherence to APA format20%21.4You struggle with when and how to cite your sources when writing. For instance in the conclusion, the information seemed to be pulled from your readings, but you failed to cite any sources. I do not believe the ideas you wrote were solely your own, but gleaned from the readings. You also had copied information directly from a source, yet the formatting did not indicate this. Properly formatting information as a direct quote is extremely important. Sentences, paragraphs structures and words used add to the organization of the document.?0.70.7Followed all rules governing grammar, spelling, and standard usage of American English.?0.650.5Followed all formatting guidelines of APA 6th ed. ?0.650.2Total Score100%109? ................
................

In order to avoid copyright disputes, this page is only a partial summary.

Online Preview   Download