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Transcript of Learning Theories
What were the findings?
Constructivism is a view of learning based on the belief that knowledge is constructed by learners through an active, mental process of development (Bautista, 2013.)
Who developed them?
What are they and what do they mean?
Why is this useful?
Constructivism allows individuals to develop new outlooks, rethink their past misunderstandings, and learn to evaluate what is important. This knowledge gives individuals the ability to alter their perceptions on the wider world. (Constructivism Learning Theory. 2015.)
By basing learning activities in a real-world context, constructivism stimulates and engages individuals. Students in constructivist environments learn to question things and to apply their natural curiosity in everyday life. (Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning. 2015.)
Why is this learning theory useful?
When knowledge and understanding are viewed from a Social Constructivist perspective, it empowers individuals whether they are student or teacher as an intrinsic part of the building and development of each other and ourselves.
What were the findings?
Learning is an active experience, which requires participation in the process and engages the individual in the creation and discovery of knowledge as they cement new understandings; the focus here is the interactions of the individual as they develop (Stetsenko & Arievitch 1997).
Teachers recognise that each student has a body of knowledge and understanding that can be shared with the class. The culture and language of the students, the classroom, and the teacher all have significant effect on the level of development the students can achieve. (Oldfather, West, White,& Wilmarth 1999).
The constructivist approach to learning requires the learner to use sensory input and construct meaning out of it. It involves reflective activity in the mind, which enables individuals to incorporate new experiences into old experience and learn in relationship to what they already know and believe. This approach realizes that one needs knowledge to learn and by having previous knowledge to build on the learner is able to assimilate new knowledge. (Elements of Constructivism. 2015)
Two of the key concepts within the constructivism learning theory are accommodation and assimilation. Assimilating causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences. Accommodation, on the other hand, is reframing the world and new experiences into the mental capacity already present. (Constructivism Learning Theory. 2015.)
Behaviourism is a learning theory first discovered around 1913 by John B. Watson. John B. Watson was an American psychologist who founded the psychological school of behaviourism (Watson E 1999). He stimulated change in psychology in 1913 with a lecture given at Columbia University titled Psychology as the Behaviourist Views it. To demonstrate his behaviourist approach, he researched animal behaviour, advertising and raising children (Cooper S 2013). Watson suggested that only behaviours of an individual can be objectively studied, therefore, their thoughts and feelings should be disregarded (Cooper S 2013).
The theory of constructivism was first developed by a Swiss psychologist and philosopher named Jean Piaget.
Social constructivism is directly connected to the theory of constructivism. It was developed by a Soviet psychologist named Lev Vygotsky. Lev Vygotsky was the creator of the theory of human cultural and bio-social development and was the leader of the Vygotsky Circle (Mcleod S 2014). His main work was in developmental psychology, where he looked at higher cognitive functioning in children that resulted from children actively participating in a social environment (Mcleod S 2014). His ideas only became well known during the 1960s when they became a fundamental part of the development of educational psychology (Mcleod S 2014).
Within this short Prezi the three main Learning theories; Behaviourism, Constructivism and Social Constructivism will be broken into three simple categories; The Who, The What and The Why is to be explored and explained.
What were the findings?
Behaviourism or the behaviourist approach is primarily the theory of the observation of people’s external behaviours.
Why is this useful?
The behaviourist approach includes Instrumental conditioning, a learning process first described by B. F. Skinner where reinforcements or punishments are used to either increase or decrease behaviours to reoccur (Cherry 2015). This form of reinforcement, positive or negative, is an effective and almost essential component of how productively an individual engages in the learning environment and how effectively they process the learning materials delivered. For example, if a student is rewarded with praise every time he raises his hand in class, he becomes more likely to raise his hand again in the future (Cherry 2015).
He once stated “only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual” (Mcleod S 2015). According to man named Ernst von Glasersfeld, Jean Piaget was the creator of the constructivist theory of knowing. His beliefs aligning with constructivism didn’t become well known until the 1960s, which ultimately led to the study of development becoming a major branch of learning in psychology (Atherton JS 2013).
Why does an understanding of these theories hold valuable tools for today's educators and their students alike?
In exploring and explaining the ‘who, what and why’ of learning theories it has been helpful to research three main theories in more depth.
In Behaviourism, reinforcement is an important component in how well an individual engages and gains knowledge in the learning environment.
Expanding on the constructivist
approach, social constructivism found that the social interaction involved in cooperative learning led to higher cognitive functioning.
Whilst it is important to consider behavioural, mental and social aspects of the learning environment, it would follow from this research, that placing an emphasis on cooperative learning would be of most benefit to the learner.
Interaction with others is of significant importance. As individuals co-operate and have shared thinking and learning, they increase the level of development of all involved.
Interaction with others also includes emphasis on the effect of language, how language is used and the cultural influences experienced during any or all interactions. (Powell & Kalina 2009).
Atherton, JS 2013,
Learning and Teaching; Piaget's developmental theory
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What is instrumental conditioning?
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Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning 2004,
Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning,
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Constructivism Learning Theory 2015,
Constructivism Learning Theory
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Cooper, S 2013.
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Cooper, S 2013,
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LifeCircles Inc. viewed 21 August 2015, <http://www.lifecircles-inc.com/Learningtheories/behaviorism/Watson.html>
Elements of Constructivism 2015,
Elements of Constructivism
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Oldfather, P, West, J, White, J, & Wilmarth, J 1999. Learning through children's eyes: Social constructivism and the desire to learn.
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The key components of behaviourism include the ability to create predictors objectively measured from data. Like in lab testing of animals, an individual’s environmental data is observed and recorded without including their emotional or cognitive responses. By eliminating these brain functions and their assumptions toward an individual’s behaviour, a more credible data source is believed to be achieved (Cooper 2013).
The behaviourist theory includes stimulus – response components for learning by linking a new behaviour to a stimulus and providing reinforcement after the correct behaviour is provided (Cooper 2013).
The first learning theory we will explore is
Now we will explore a learning theory that puts emphasis on the use of memory
The following learning theory is similar, however the interaction with others plays an important role
In contrast, from a constructivist perspective knowledge is first held by
the learner and from that previous knowledge the learner is able build and assimilate new knowledge.
John B Watson, n.d)
Jean Piaget, n.d
John B Watson, n.d