Learning theory (education)

From Academic Kids

In education and psychology, learning theories help us understand the process of learning.

There are basically two main perspectives in learning theories:

Constructivism views learning as a process in which the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts based upon current and past knowledge. In other words, "learning involves constructing one's own knowledge from one's own experiences" (Ormrod, J. E., Educational Psychology: Developing Learners, Fourth Edition. 2003, p. 227). Constructivist learning, therefore, is a very personal endeavor, whereby internalized concepts, rules, and general principles may consequently be applied in a practical real-world context. According to Jerome Bruner and other constructivists, the teacher acts as a facilitator who encourages students to discover principles for themselves and to construct knowledge by working to solve realistic problems, usually in collaboration with others. This collaboration is also known as knowledge construction as a social process. Some benefits of this social process are, 1.) Students can work to clarify and organize their ideas so they can voice them to others. 2.) It gives them opportunities to elaborate on what they learned. 3.) They are exposed to the views of others. And 4.) It enables them to discover flaws and inconsistencies (Ormrod, J. E., Educational Psychology: Developing Learners, Fourth Edition. 2003, p. 232). Cognitive theorists such as Jean Piaget and David Ausubel, and others, were concerned with the changes in a student's understanding that result from learning and with the fundamental importance of the environment. Constructivism itself has many variations, such as Generative Learning, Cognitive Apprenticeship, Problem-Based (Inquiry) Learning, Discovery Learning, situated learning. Regardless of the variety, constructivism promotes a student's free exploration within a given framework or structure.

Behaviorism in an educational theory grounded on the seminal works of B._F. Skinner and Ivan Pavlov, both scientists well known for their studies in animal behavior. Behaviorists believe that organisms need reinforcements to keep them interested and that the use of stimuli can be very effective in controlling behavior. For the behaviorist, environment directly shapes behavior, and complex learning requires a series of small, progressive steps. The behaviorist theory of education is probably by far the most commonly practiced, because the behaviors of the learners can be easily viewed and therefore measured, which is itself a basic premise of the scientific method.

About accelerating the learning process:

About the mechanisms of memory and learning:

See also:

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