Learning Theories

A great source of learning theories for all of those who are willing to enriche their research projects is found in Greg Kearley’s homepage. Take a look on www.home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/  or www.tip.psychology.org 

Hope this info is as helpful as it was for me. There are fifty learning theories to learn from.

Also, The Encyclopedia of Psychology at www.psychology.org is a great website to find other important learning theories like Skinner, Piaget etc…


2 responses to “Learning Theories

  1. Learning is a term used to describe an event in which a person is presented with novel information in any modality (e.g., auditory, visual, etc). Schunick, 2008 defines learning as “an enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which result from practice or other forms of experience.” There are five ways in which Schunick, 2008 says one can assess whether learning has occurred. They are; direct observation, written responses, oral responses, ratings by others and self-reports. There are two aspects that all five methods have in common and they are; endurance of knowledge and ability to apply knowledge. If one is able to retain learned information over a period of time and apply this information in a variety of situations, skills are considered learned. For example, if a teacher attends a professional development workshop relating to instructional strategies and then implements these strategies into his/her daily instruction methodology, one can say she learned something from the professional development workshop. Similarly, if a student learns a mathematical equation in class and is then able to apply this equation in a science lab 10 years down the road, the student has learned that equation.
    Learning Theories
    A learning theory is a structure that attempts to describe how people learn in both individual and group contexts. Theories provide us with the vocabulary and conceptual framework for interpreting learning, and aides us in looking for solutions to problems we may encounter when trying to teach others. Simply, learning theories provide a framework for making educational decisions.
    There are two major categories or philosophical frameworks under which learning theories fall: behavioral and cognitive. Behavioral theories focus only on the change in rate, frequency and occurrence of behavior (Schunk, 2008), whereas cognitive theories look beyond behavior and focus on the acquisition of knowledge and skills (Schunk, 2008).
    Implications for School Leaders
    “Theories and research findings help to advance the field, but their ultimate contribution is their impact on teaching that improves learning” (Schunk, 2008). Teaching is inseparable from learning, whether one is teaching children (pedagogy) or adults (andragogy). For example, the knowledge of learning theories is crucial to planning and implementing staff development sessions. In being familiar with learning theories, one would know how important it is that the learning methods used in professional development mirror as closely as possible the methods one would want the teachers to use with their students. For example, one would want to include opportunities to; see, hear, do various actions in relation to the content and take into account self-efficacy and motivation. It is also important that educators are able to learn alone and with others and, whenever possible, have choices among learning activities. Adults will commit to learning when the goals and objectives are considered realistic and important to them. Application in the ‘real world’ is important and relevant to the adult learner’s personal and professional needs.

  2. Thank you for your educational contribution to this post.

    I’m very pleased with your comment, knowing that there are many educators out there who are concerned with learning theories or how a person may acquire knowledge. Most relevant, also those who are fond of the importance that adults learn similarly as young people do.

    When learning becomes pertinent to ones ideas, thoughts, senses, feelings, or personal beliefs, including a person’s previous knowledge and the application of this knowledge then learning has been accomplished and educational goals fulfilled.

    Thank you once again for sharing for others who are also in need of research development based on learning theories.

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