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Learning Theories

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Lara Ervin

on 12 June 2014

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Transcript of Learning Theories

Learning Theories
And how teachers can use them to help students learn!
Learning Theories
the psychology of learning which emphasizes human cognition or intelligence as a special endowment enabling humans to form hypotheses and develop intellectually (and is also known as cognitive development).
Social Cognition (Bandura)
Constructivism is a theory of knowledge that argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and ideas.
Social Cultural Theory (Vygotsky)
Learning is formed by a student’s cultural context and social interactions.
Multiple Intelligences
According to Howard Gardner, humans possess
nine kinds
of intelligence reflecting how we interact with the world. Although we each have all nine,
no two people have them in the same exact combination
. This distinct combination is call our an
Intelligence Fingerprint
A theory of learning that behaviors can be measured, trained, and changed.
Behaviors are acquired through conditioning.
Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment and our responses to environmental stimuli shape our behaviors.
Applications to Learning
Students learn best through conditioning and rewards (stimuli).
Link to knowledge: values reproducing knowledge through desired behavior.
Ideal for skills that can be learned through practice
Ineffective for tasks that require complex thinking.

Zonal Proximal Development (ZPD)
: "students learn subjects best just beyond their range of existing experience with assistance from the teacher or another peer to bridge the distance from what they know or can do independently and what they can know or do with assistance" (Schunk, 1996)

Observational learning or vicarious learning, learning occurs in a social context
What is Constructivism?
Not a pedagogy, but explains how learning happens
student centered
relies on students taking initiative
considers HOW the students learn
learn how to construct knowledge rather than reproduce facts
emphasis on real world experiences and the students' natural curiosity for learning
Triad Reciprocal Determinism
Key Concepts
examining learning
problem solving skills

The main assumption of cognitive psychology is that there are cognitive processes that take place and influence the way things are learned.
How Theory Explains Learning
Piaget and Cognitive Constructivism
Humans cannot be given information and understand it immediately, instead they must construct knowledge through experience (hooks)
Vygotsky and Social Constructivism
All knowledge is socially constructed
Implications of Bandura's Research for Classroom Behavior
>>Bandura's "Bobo doll" experiment (1961)

How does the theory mesh with what the group knows about how the brain learns?
If a child learns something that hooks into their “schema” (multiple intelligence based) then they are more likely to scaffold and build upon their learning.
Related Theories
Cognitivism - Piaget & Vygotsky
Psychoanalyis - Sigmund Freud
Radical Behaviorism - B. F. Skinner
Watson Behaviorism
Cognitive theorists want to understand how problem solving changes throughout childhood, and how cultural differences affect the way we view our own academic achievements, language development, and more.

We know that students remember more information and really understand it when they are able to link it back to something they already know. This aligns perfectly with the cognitivist theory.

Role of the Teacher and Student
Vygotsky's zone of proximal development: the difference between what a learner can do without help and what they can do with help.
Desks in rows facing the front to increase attention on the teacher
Wall may display classroom rules
Constructivism Influenced....
Social Cultural Learning
Social Cognition
Multiple Intelligences
-Moveable chairs and desks
-Variety of tools for displaying models: projector, computers, smartboard, etc.
-Board with goals prominently displayed

Willhelm Wundt
Jean Piaget
Lev Vygotsky
What does the classroom look like?
One’s knowledge is determined by an individual’s social and cultural exposure

How the brain learns: Internalization
"the process whereby the individual, through participation in
interpersonal interaction
in which cultural ways of thinking are demonstrated in action, is able to appropriate them so they become transformed from being social phenomena to being part of his or her own
mental functioning"
What would a classroom look like?
Grouped desks, not rows
A lot of pictures and posters (stimuli)
A lot of engaging activities
What is the link to or conception of knowledge? Intelligence?
Gardner believes intelligence requires a set of problem-solving skills drawn from multiple areas of life. Measuring intelligence via a single metric, such as IQ, cannot reflect the evident display of intelligence in many other areas of human endeavors such as art, and athletics. Multiple intelligence theory honors the unique and different ways that people think and acquire new knowledge.
Teacher's Role
Source of authority and knowledge
Extremely structured lessons to teach the "proper" way
Uses rewards to enforce desired behaviors
Willhelm Wundt
started the first psychology laboratory in 1879 in Leipzig, Germany
believed "the development of introspection as a means for studying the mind.”
What (briefly) is the theory?

How does the theory explain learning?
Student's Role
Children work towards rewards
example: gold star for good behavior
Behavior is diverse based on their environment
Technology has enthused students to like learning
Jean Piaget
theorized that there are four stages of Cognitive Development
first is a sensorimotor stage
final three stages are operational stages
believed that the human mind is embedded with specific ways of doing things
Lev Vygotsky
(1896-1934) Russian Sicentist. Vygotsky grew up in wealthy educated household. Vygotsky studied law, philology, and literature at the University of Moscow and continued his education at a teacher's college in Gomel where he began to pursue academic psychology
Who influences Gardner?
-Carl Jung - major differences in way people perceive

Reaction against prevalence of IQ TEST
- Jon Binet

Uniform schools (Dr. Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.)
- single metric based reward system (A-F)

Briggs and Meyer
- definable personality test/types
- prodigies
Who is most frequently associated with the theory?
What would a classroom environment based on this theory look/sound like?
Who Vygotsky influenced
-Leonid Sakharov (Psychologist)
-Nikolai Bernstein (Neurophysicist)
-Aleksei Leontiev (Psychologist)
-Albert Bandura (Psychologist)
-Stephen Krashen (Linguist)
-Kurt Lewin (German American Psychologist)
-Sergei Eisenstein (Legendary Soviet film director; influenced many directors and artists all over the world)
What is the role of the teacher?
Classroom Ex 2
designs lessons by making connections to student's prior knowledge
facilitator who triggers the student's curiosity and guides them
provides feedback and support
provide information and engaging activities for the students to grasp onto
help students develop strategies to become independent learners
teachers should focus their assessment on the process instead of the end result
Clasoom Ex. 3
1. Many learning tools for one subject
2. Student motivated use of instructional devices tailored to their own learning style.
3. Multiple forms of assessment.
Lev Vygotsky
believed that learning was passed down from generation to generation
cognitive development could only be understood if you took cultural and social context into account
Zone of Proximal Development
, the difference between the developmental level of a child and the developmental level that a child could reach with the right amount of guidance.
Role of the teacher in this theory?
-Wear many hats
- Gear students towards learning style that fits his/her interests
-Appropriate class time to support all learning types
-Provides necessary resources inside the classroom (arrangement of classroom)
-Providing opportunities for feedback and self-evaluations/ helping them identify which intelligence they are using more frequently

What is the role of the student?
-Be aware of their own intelligences and strengths
-Understand the necessity, value, and importance of all intelligence types
-Use and develop all intelligences
Multiple intelligence theory is associated with Howard Gardner and some of his colleagues at Harvard, and appears to be a relatively recent development. A similar theory is referred to as “Learning Styles Theory” and originates in psychology.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner (B. F. Skinner) studied operant conditioning by conducting experiments using animals placed in a "Skinner box"
Side note: John B. Watson coined the term

Edward Bradford Titchener
◦ Leonard Bloomfield
◦ Ottmar Dittrich
◦ James McKeen Cattell
◦ G. Stanley Hall
◦ Walter Dill Scott
◦ Lightner Witmer
Classroom Environment
Vygotsky’s theories can be applied at any grade level, all students benefit from social interactions and learning from their peers.

-Constructivist: teachers and students collaborating
-Classroom helps with differentiation, MKO students working with less confident students
-Peer learning and collaboration
-Reciprocal learning, teacher and the student facilitate discussions
Students and teacher can collaborate outside of the classroom too!
-Online discussion boards
◦ Lev Vygotsky
◦ Lawrence Kohlberg

P. Zinchenko
◦ L. Bozhovich
◦ D. El’konin
◦ Michael Cole
◦ James Wertsch
-There will be many class discussions, as students learn from both their teachers and their classmates
-Visuals are an important cognitivist component
-Information from past lessons will be available and organized for student use
-Students can create visuals to be displayed on classroom walls to help them recall information
The Litte Albert Experiment
Teacher's Role
Traditionally, schools have used transmission.
Vygotsky advocates the students being actively involved in their own learning, or “reciprocal teaching.”
Teachers are More Knowledgeable Others (MKO)
They function as facilitators and collaborators, improving students' ability to learn.
The teacher's role in the process is reduced over time, such that students can eventually become independent in their learning.
-Create a setting that promote learning will present material in an organized, sequenced way
-Create equilibrium and act as a guide
- Assign tasks for wich students are prepared for
- Use cognitive material

Examples: starting a lesson with a hook, creating using cognitive games like flashcards, color codes or board games
Student's Role
-MKO provides "scaffolding" and "apprenticeship" for students in order to tap into their ZPD, structuring tasks so that students can complete the task successfully and, eventually, independently.

-Students collaborate with their teachers in order to facilitate meaningful construction on their own. Learning therefore becomes a reciprocal experience for the students and teacher.
- the student should explore and be active in the learning process
- students should master content from previous lessons, be able to access that content and then continue to gain knowledge and information
- they will practice learned information and elaborate by relating to other information. An example of this would be to use analogies
Role of the student
Not passive learning
Take responsibility for their own learning
Learning how to learn rather than just the content
develop their independent thinking ability and problem solving strategies
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