Anda di halaman 1dari 6

LEARNING THEORIES

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.

Behaviorist

- New behaviors or changes in behaviors are acquired through associations between


stimuli and responses

Cognitive

- Information processing leads to understanding and retention

Constructivist

- We construct our own knowledge of the world based on individual experiences

Behaviorism

Behaviorism stems from the work of B.F. Skinner and the concept of operant
conditioning. Behaviorism theorists believe that knowledge exists independently and outside of
people. They view the learner as a blank slate who must be provided the
experience. Behaviorists believe that learning actually occurs when new behaviors or changes in
behaviors are acquired through associations between stimuli and responses. Thus, association
leads to a change in behavior.

Learning process

The learning process is based on objectively observable changes in behavior. Behavior theorists
define learning simply as the acquisition of a new behavior or change in behavior. The theory is
that learning begins when a cue or stimulus from the environment is presented and the learner
reacts to the stimulus with some type of response. Consequences that reinforce the desired
behavior are arranged to follow the desired behavior (e.g. study for a test and get a good
grade). The new behavioral pattern can be repeated so it becomes automatic. The change in
behavior of the learner signifies that learning has occurred. Teachers use Behaviorism when
they reward or punish student behaviors.
Examples and applications of behaviorist learning theory:

 Drill / Rote work


 Repetitive practice
 Bonus points (providing an incentive to do more)
 Participation points (providing an incentive to participate)
 Verbal Reinforcement (saying “good job”)
 Establishing Rules

Unfortunately, Behaviorism instruction does not prepare the learner for problem solving or
creative thinking. Learners do what they are told and do not take the initiative to change or
improve things. The learner is only prepared for recall of basic facts, automatic responses or
performing tasks.

Learning process

Cognitive learning theorists believe learning occurs through internal processing of


information. Unlike behaviorism, cognitive information processing is governed by an internal
process rather than by external circumstance. The cognitive approach to learning theory pays
more attention to what goes on inside the learner’s head and focuses on mental processes
rather than observable behavior. Changes in behavior are observed, and used as indicators as
to what is happening inside the learner’s mind.

Learning involves the reorganization of experiences, either by attaining new insights or changing
old ones. Thus, learning is a change in knowledge which is stored in memory, and not just a
change in behavior.

Examples and applications of cognitive learning theory:

 Classifying or chunking information


 Linking Concepts (associate new content with something known)
 Providing Structure (organizing your lecture in efficient and meaningful ways)
 Real world examples
 Discussions
 Problem solving
 Analogies
 Imagery / providing pictures
 Mnemonics

Constructivism

Constructivism is based on the premise that we all construct our own perspective of the world,
based on individual experiences and internal knowledge. Learning is based on how the individual
interprets and creates the meaning of his or her experiences. Knowledge is constructed by the
learner and since everyone has a different set of experiences and perceptions, learning is unique
and different for each person.
Learning Process

Constructivist theorists believe that learning is a process where individuals construct new ideas
or concepts based on prior knowledge and/or experience. Each of us generates our own mental
models, which we use to make sense of our experiences. We resolve conflicts between ideas
and reflect on theoretical explanations. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting
our mental models to accommodate our new experiences.

This theory is used to focus on preparing people to problem solve. Therefore, to be successful,
the learner needs a significant base of knowledge upon which to interpret and create
ideas. Additionally, with Constructivism, outcomes are not always predictable because learners
are constructing their own knowledge. Thus Constructivism does not work when the results
always need to be consistent.

Examples and applications constructivism:

 Case studies
 Research Projects
 Problem based learning
 Brainstorming
 Collaborative learning / group work
 Discovery learning
 Simulations

Summary All three theories are important to understand. When deciding which strategies to
use, it is important to consider:

 the level of knowledge of the learners


 the thought processing demands, and
 the desired outcome (generation of new ideas or a single answer

Types of Behavioral Learning


There are three types of behavioral learning:

1. Classical Conditioning
2. Operant Conditioning
3. Observational Learning

About the Three Types of Behavioral Learning

Both classical and operant conditioning are forms of associative learning; meaning associations
are made between events that occur together. Observational learning is learning by observing
others. Although rooted in behaviorism, the observational learning theory is considered to be a
bridge between behaviorism and cognitive learning theories.

Classical Conditioning – Learning through association

Operant Conditioning – Learning through consequences


Observational Learning – Learning through observation

Behaviorism

Behaviorism is the school of thought that seeks to measure only observable behaviors. Hence, it
only examines outward behavior when trying to understand if learning occurred.

Behaviorism stems from the work of John Watson, B.F. Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov. These
Behaviorism theorists believe that knowledge exists independently and outside of people. They
view the learner as a blank slate who must be provided the experience. Behaviorists believe that
learning actually occurs when new behaviors or changes in behaviors are acquired through
associations between stimuli and responses. Thus, association leads to a change in behavior.

There are two core theories that stem from Behaviorism;

Classical Conditioning – Ivan Pavlov

Operant Conditioning – B.F. Skinner

As indicted above, observational learning is a bridge between behaviorism and cognitive


learning.

The Three Types of Behavioral Learning

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is a learning process in which an association is made between two stimuli.
With classical conditioning, two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response.
One stimulus is a neutral and the other evokes a natural response. After learning the association,
the neutral stimulus elicits the conditioned response.

The theory of classical conditioning was introduced by Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov
conducted his classic experiment involving dogs. In his experiment, he conditioned the dogs to
associate the sound of a bell with the presence of food. He paired the smell of food which was
the naturally occurring stimulus with the neutral stimulus of a ringing bell. Once an association
had been made between the two, the sound of the bell alone could elicit a response. The dogs
responded to the sound of the bell by salivating.

In his experiment, the bell was neutral stimulus since the bell itself did not produce the dogs’
salivation. However, by pairing the bell with the stimulus of the smell of the food, which did
produce the salivation response, eventually, the bell by itself was able to trigger the salivation
response. Thus, the “conditioning” was achieved when the sound of the bell on its own was able
to make the dogs salivate in anticipation for the food.

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is a learning process in which responses are controlled by consequences.


The likelihood of a certain response occurring is either increased or decreased due to either a
reinforcement or a punishment consequence. A reinforcement helps to increase a behavior,
while a punishment helps to decrease a behavior. The term operant conditioning was coined by
a behaviorist B.F. Skinner. Skinner conducted experiments with rats using a device called the
Skinner box. The box was a cage set up so the rats could automatically get a food reward if they
stepped on a lever. The lever caused food to be released. From these experiments, Skinner
observed how reinforcement could lead to increases in behaviors where punishment would
result in decreases in behaviors.

Reinforcement

Reinforcement is a consequence that increases the likelihood a response will occur. If you are
using reinforcement, you are trying to increase a behavior.

There are two types of reinforcement.

 Positive reinforcement
 Negative reinforcement

Positive means adding a stimulus, while negative means removing a stimulus. Thus, positive
reinforcement is the addition of a good stimulus after a response in order to encourage the
response to continue. An example of this would be giving someone praise after a desired
behavior is displayed.

In contrast, negative reinforcement is the removal of an undesirable stimulus after a response so


that the response will occur more often. An example of this would be fastening your seatbelt in a
car so the beeping sound will stop. Since the undesirable stimulus is removed when you fasten
your seatbelt, you are encourage to fasten your seatbelt.

Negative reinforcement is often confused with punishment because of its name. However,
negative reinforcement involves removing a negative consequence to increase a behavior, while
punishment seeks to decrease a behavior.

Punishment

Punishment is a consequence that decreases the likelihood a response will occur. If you are using
punishment, you are trying to decrease a behavior.

There are two types of punishment:

 Positive punishment
 Negative punishment
Positive punishment is the addition of an undesirable stimulus after a response so that the
response will occur less or stop. An example would be to give someone extra work for
misbehaving.

Negative punishment is the removal of a pleasing stimulus after a response so that the response
will occur less or stop. An example would be taking away television or video games from a child
for misbehaving so he or she will stop misbehaving.

Observational Learning

Observational learning or modeling is a process in which learning occurs through observing the
behaviors of others and then imitating those behaviors. Observational learning allows for
learning without any direct change to behavior. This is why it is not considered strict
behaviorism. It is more of a link between behaviorism and cognitive learning.

Observational learning is associated with the work of Albert Bandura and his social learning
theory. The social learning theory suggests that learning occurs through observation and
interaction with other people.

Bandura first demonstrated observational learning in his famous “Bobo-doll” experiment. In this
experiment, children imitated the actions of adults. After seeing adults hit a doll, children would
assault the Bobo-doll. The experiment showed that children learned the aggressive behavior by
observing it.

Source: http://thepeakperformancecenter.com/educational-learning/learning/theories/types-
behavioral-learning/