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Sample Theories of Learning


Psychology believes that learning theory is the attempt to trace how people and animal learn respectively by simple and complex process. There are various theories of learning of how people adapted their pattern of thinking and cognitive behavior and it is interesting to know the variety and to be able to determine what really exist in your life. These theories are not limited to the recorded and non recorded variables in existence but to realize these theories let us cite an example and figure out how it has been considered as a part of our learning pattern and it is up to you to find out if it is realistic in your life or not, in order to do this you may consider any or all of the following;

The Sensory Stimulation – According to Dugan Laird (1985) People especially adults learn 75% through seeing 13% through hearing and 12% from touching, smelling, and tasting. In short the five basic senses are used in this learning theory and it is true. Our eyes can see and perceived physical things that stimulate the brain to understand its shape, size, color and other physical characteristics while all other senses recognizes things differently according to its functions.

The Reinforcement Theory – By B.F. Skinner (Laird 1985) He believes that learning behavior is a function of consequence. According to Skinner, positive reinforcement like verbal encouragement like; good, you’re doing fine. This can make a person to react in higher sense while negative reinforcement like your bad, I hate you is a form of discouragement that makes a person likely to react and retreat that’s why punishment makes a person eliminate a suppose to be a learned behavior. But burns and laird believe that this theory has a little or no relevance to education, according to them it may work for only a short period of time but not necessarily trademarks in learning.

The Cognitive-Gestalt Theory of Learning (R. Burns) – This theory emphasize the importance of learning through experience, problem, solving, trial and error or experimentation proves that exposure for any of these approaches equates to learning if a person is set to a series of situation this can be the start of the learning process. Mostly this theory is used in educational and industry.

The Facilitation Theory (Carl Rogers 1961) – Is often used in a classroom, the learning process is provided by the teacher and student can learn without much pressure. Everyone needs an education and people would prefer this kind of learning method because it is probably the most accepted theory all over the world, the facilitation theory is highly encouraged as a formal approach to basic education.

The Action Learning – (Reg Revans 1940) Is a reflective process that “there can be no learning without action and there is no action without learning”. He believed that this is ideal for those student or researcher who cannot find answer to their questions. He even theorize the following equation that Learning is equal to programmed knowledge plus question or L= P+Q.

The Experiential Learning – Is a stage development process of learning according to Kolb (1984) and it starts with a Concrete experience and putting it into practice, Observation that is reflective so as to analyze the outcome in an objective manner, Conceptualization for understanding in depth and Active Experimentation creating a conclusion and thereby solution that completes the cycle in learning. Educators believe that there are strengths and weaknesses in learning that is why we can develop our own style to improve the process. Honey and Mumford (1986) suggest the following as a substitute; Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist.

The Holistic Learning Theory- by Laird (1985) He believes that learning maybe dependent on the personality or individuality and it comprises many attributes particularly the emotional stability, intellectual capability, their desire and needs, intuition or wide imagination may all contribute to the learning process of an individual to be more effective and challenging.

Adult Learning – By Malcom Knowles (1990) He believed that adulthood can only be experienced if the person believes that they are already an adult only then they can be considered as an adult and that it is a special learning experience in various ways. Being an adult makes a person self organized, self directed and worthy in making decisions in learning, attitude and belief is worth to be considered. Therefore the author makes an emphasis that adult learning deal with maturity and a more human approach in education and in experiences.



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