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Learning Theories

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Behaviorism as a learning theory states that learning is achieved when a person is exposed to repeated desired actions. The process is filled with rewards and punishments that are used to encourage the person to learn what is being repeated. Rewards are given for good behavior while punishments are given for bad behavior.

Constructivism, on the other hand, states that a person learns when he or she links experiences and ideas to decipher the meaning of an event or action. The theory was greatly enhanced by Jean Piaget. The theory has been used over the years to help people learn by applying the action, or scenario, to an experience or idea.

Humanism is the third learning theory that has to be discussed in this presentation. Humanism as a learning theory states that human beings have a drive towards learning and due to the presence of this drive, the learner should be the one to initiate the learning process and also to lead the learning process. One common way of doing this is through learner led discussions and presentations.

Last, but not least, is Cognitivism. This learning theory states that learning is based on the mental process. These mental processes include how memory is stored and retrieved, how the person involved thinks, and also how he or she solves problems.

There are seven principles of learning that are important when teaching others. These seven principles are: memory, participation, supervision, multiple intelligence, emotional intelligence, self evaluation and teacher evaluation. Memory is an important area of content because, as Petrina (2007) explains, different people retrieve memory differently. Ramnerö and Törneke (2008) add that information is not lost in the brain but the retrieval process can be faulty. Due to this, the level of understanding, and also the ease of retrieval of information from the mind, has to be considered when teaching. Participation is also relevant as some students learn through active participation. Active participation also helps build confidence in the learners. Supervision, on the other hand, is having a facilitator supervise the work of the learner, suggest ways in which the learner can enhance his or her knowledge, and also ensure that the individual is indeed learning.

Multiple Intelligence theory states that for an individual to be considered intelligent, he or she must excel in many things. Therefore, for a learner to be intelligent, he or she has to be good in academics, extra-curricular activities and also socialization and so forth. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, refers to the maturity level of a person. Veugelers (2011) explains that emotional intelligence has been linked to overall intelligence in that people with higher emotional intelligence are clever. Self evaluation is important as it gives the learner the opportunity to appreciate him/herself and the work that he/she has done. The last principle that has been mentioned is teacher evaluation. This is also important as it allows the teacher to know the strengths and the weaknesses of the learner.

In order to ensure success in the learning process, seven strategies will be employed. These strategies will be based on the motivational rewards system of Humanism theory. The first strategy is to create a rewarding and a punishing system. After this, the system should be explained to the learners so that they know what they can get for performing well. The third strategy will be to award different achievements differently. For example, active participation can be awarded differently from scoring higher grades. Another possible strategy is to give different punishments for different undesired actions. For example, in the work place, if a typist has the same grammatical errors, they can be punished by being made to do studies on the grammatical errors that they make. However, an accountant who makes the same cost errors has to be punished differently. In the same breadth, the facilitator should also enhance and encourage competition. The competitors can then be rewarded accordingly. The seventh strategy is to supervise the works and duties of the learners who are not performing as expected.

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Petrina, S. (2007). Advanced Teaching Methods for the Technology Classroom. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc (IGI)

Ramnerö, J. & Törneke, N. (2008). The ABCs of Human Behavior: Behavioral Principles for the Practicing Clinician. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications

Veugelers, W. (2011). Education and Humanism: Linking Autonomy and Humanity. Netherlands: Springer Shop

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