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Educational Theories

active learning - C. Bonwell

classification of educational objectives - Benjamin Bloom
critical pedagogy - Paulo Freire
cognitive dissonance theory - Elliot Aronson
cognitive learning theory -Jerome Bruner
computer based learning Robert Gagn
conditions of learning - Robert Gagn
constructionism - Seymour Papert
constructivism - Jean Piaget
discovery learning - Jerome Bruner
discovery learning - Seymour Papert
discovery learning Jean Piaget
educational equity - Linda Darling-Hammond
educational progressivism - John Dewey
experiential learning theory - David Kolb
guided discovery - Ann Brown
how people learn - John D. Bransford
Learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Reading, Kinesthetic - Neil Flemming
learning styles - Anthony Gregorc
mastery-learning- Benjamin Bloom
measurement of intelligence - Alfred Binet
metacognition - Ann Brown
metacognition - John Flavell
multicultural education - Donna Golnick
multiple intelligences - Howard Gardner
pedagogical content knoweledge - LeeSchulman
pragmatism - John Dewey
multiethnic educaiton - James Banks
science/technology/society - Robert Yager
social cognitive theory and self-efficacy - Albert Bandura
social cognition - Lev S. Vygotsky
subsumption theory, advance organizers - David Ausubel


Learning Theories: Four Perspectives

Within each "perspective" listed below, there may be more than one
cluster of theories. Click on the name of the theorist to go to the page
with biographical information and a description of the key elements
of his/her theory.

1. Behaviorist Perspective
Classical Conditioning: Stimulus/Response
Ivan Pavlov 1849-1936 Classical Conditioning Theory
Behaviorism: Stimulus, Response, Reinforcement
John B. Watson 1878-1958 Behaviorism
Edward L. Thorndike 1874-1949 Connectivism
Edwin Guthrie 1886-1959 Contiguity Theory
B. F. Skinner 1904-1990 Operant Conditioning
William Kaye Estes 1919 - Stimulus Sampling Theory
Neo-behaviorism: Stimulus-Response; Intervening Internal Variables;
Purposive Behavior
Edward C. Tolman 1886-1959 Sign Theory & Latent Learning
Clark Hull 1884-1952 Drive Reduction Theory
Keneth W. Spence 1907-1967 Discrimination Learning
2. Cognitive Perspective: Learning as a Mental Process
Gestalt Learning Theory: Perception, Decision making, Attention, Memory,
& Problem Solving
Max Wertheimer 1880 -1943 Gestalt Learning Theory
Kurt Lewin 1890 - 1947 Field Theoretical Approach
Wolfgang Kohler 1887 - 1967 Insight Learning
Kurt Koffka 1887 - 1941 Gestalt Theory
Leon Festinger 1919 - 1989 Cognitive Dissonance
Information Processing and Computer Models
D.O. Hebb 1904 - 1985 Neurophysiologic Theory
George A Miller 1920 - Information Processing Theory
Allen Newell 1927 - 1992 General Problem Solver
Craik & Lockhart Levels of Processing
Allan Paivio 1941 - Dual Coding Theory
David E. Rumelhart 1942 - Interactive Activation with Competition

Constructivism: Knowledge is Constructed; the Learner is an Active Creator

David Ausubel 1918 - 2008 Subsumption Theory
Jerome Bruner 1915 - Constructivism
Jean Piaget 1896 - 1990 Genetic Epistemology
Jean Lave Situated Cognition
Chris Argyris 1923 - Double Loop Learning
Rand J. Spiro Cognitive Flexibility
David Kolb Learning Styles
John Flavell Metacognition
Roger Schank Script Theory
Psychoanalytic: The role of the Unconscious Mind in Learning
Sigmund Freud 1856-1939 Psychoanalytic Theory of Learning
3. Humanistic Perspective: Emotions and Affect Play a Role in Learning
Abraham Maslow 1908-1970 Humanistic Theory of Learning
Carl Rogers 1902-1987 Experiential Learning
Jack Mezirow Transformational Learning
4. Social Learning Perspective: Learning as a group process
Lev Vygotsky 1896 - 1935 Social Constructivism
Albert Bandura 1925 - Observational Learning
John Seely Brown Cognitive Apprenticeship
5. General Theories of Memory & Intelligence
J. R. Anderson ACT*
J.P. Guilford Structure of Intellect
Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligences
Robert Sternberg Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
6. Instructional Theories
John Bransford Anchored Instrution
Lee Joseph Cronbach 1916 - 2001 Aptitude Treatment Interaction
K.P. Cross CAL- Characteristics of Adult Learners
Robert Gagne 1916-2002 Conditions of Learning
Malcolm Knowles Andragogy
Lev Landa Algo-Heuristic
Mager Criterion-Referenced-Instruction
Merrill Component Display Theory
Reigeluth Elaboration Theory

Learning theories tend to fall into one of several perspectives or paradigms,
including behaviorism, cognitivism,
constructivism, and others. Here are some of the basic ones:
Founders and proponents: John B. Watson in the early 20th century. B.F.
Skinner, Ivan Pavlov, and others.
Basic idea: Stimulus-response. All behavior caused by external stimuli (operant
conditioning). All behaviour can be explained without the need to consider
internal mental states or consciousness.Learner viewed as: Passive, responding
to environmental stimuli. Behavior may result in reinforcement (increased
likelihood that behavior will occur in the future); or punishment.
Founders and proponents: Replaced behaviorism in 1960s as dominant
paradigm. Noam Chomsky.
Basic idea: Mental function can be understood .Learner viewed as: Information
processor.Cognitivism focuses on inner mental activities opening the black
box of the human mind. It is necessary to determine how processes such as
thinking, memory, knowing, and problem-solving occur. People are not
programmed animals that merely respond to environmental stimuli; people
are rational beings whose action are a consequence of thinking.
Metaphor of mind as computer: information comes in, is being processed, and
leads to certain outcomes.
Founders and proponents: John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Lev
Vygotsky, others.
Basic idea: Learning is an active, constructive process.
Learner viewed as: Information constructor.
People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of
objective reality. New
information is linked to to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are
Founders and proponents: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, others.
Basic idea: Learning is a personal act to fulfill ones potential.
Learner viewed as: One with affective and cognitive needs.

Emphasis on the freedom, dignity, and potential of humans. Learning is studentcentered and personal, facilitated by teachers, with the goal of developing
selfactualized people in a cooperative, supportive environment.
21st Century Skills
An education standards and reform movement based primarily in the United
States focused on improving what US public school students must learn in
school to be prepared for the workforce in the digital age.
Skills include: Life/career skills: adaptability & flexibility, initiative & selfdirection, leadership & responsibility, productivity & accountability, social &
cross-cultural skills Core subjects: English/language arts, mathematics, arts,
science, history, geography and others 21st century themes: civic literacy,
environmental literacy, financial literacy (including economic,
business, and entrepreneurial skills), global awareness, health literacy
Information/media/technology skills: media literacy, information literacy
Learning/innovation skills: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration,
communication, problem solving
Realism (philosophy)
Contemporary philosophical realism is the belief in a reality that is completely
ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices,
beliefs, etc. Philosophers who profess realism also typically believe that truth
consists in a belief's correspondence to reality. We may speak of realism with
respect to other minds, the past, the future, universals, mathematical entities
(such as natural numbers), moral categories, the material world, or even
thought. Realists tend to believe that whatever we believe now is only an
approximation of reality and that every new observation brings us closer to
understanding reality.[1] In its Kantian sense, realism is contrasted with
idealism. In a contemporary sense, realism is contrasted with antirealism,
primarily in the philosophy of science.

Six Major Schools of Thought in Psychology

Every academic discipline, from literature and history to sociology and

theology, has competing theories or schools of thought: perspectives from
which to study the subject. Psychology, the study of the mind, has hundreds of
theories and subtheories, but it is possible to identify six main schools of
thought every psychology student should know.


Functionalism : Functionalism has the most influence of any theory in

contemporary psychology. Psychological functionalism attempts to describe
thoughts and what they do without asking how they do it. For functionalists, the
mind resembles a computer, and to understand its processes, you need to look at
the software -- what it does -- without having to understand the hardware -- the
why and how underlying it.
Gestalt Psychology :LAccording to Gestalt psychologists, the human mind
works by interpreting data through various laws, rules or organizing principles,
turning partial information into a whole. For example, your mind might
interpret a series of lines as a square, even though it has no complete lines; your
mind fills in the gaps. Gestalt psychotherapists apply this logic to problemsolving to help patients.
Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalytic theory, which originated with Sigmund Freud,
explains human behavior by looking at the subconscious mind. Freud suggested
that the instinct to pursue pleasure, which he described as sexual in nature, lies
at the root of human development. To Freud, even the development of children
hinged on key stages in discovering this pleasure, through acts such as feeding
at the mother's breast and defecating, and he treated abnormal behavior in adults
by addressing these stages.
Behaviorism: In the 1950s, B.F. Skinner carried out experiments with animals,
such as rats and pigeons, demonstrating that they repeated certain behaviors if
they associated them with rewards in the form of food. Behaviorists believe that
observing behavior, rather than attempting to analyze the inner workings of the
mind itself, provides the key to psychology. This makes psychology open to
experimental methods with results that can be replicated in the same way as any
scientific experiment.
Humanistic Psychology: Humanist psychologists teach that to understand
psychology, we must look at individuals and their motivations. Abraham
Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" exemplifies this approach: a system of needs,
such as food, love and self-esteem, determines a person's behavior to various
extents. Meeting these needs leads to a sense of selfsatisfaction and solves
psychological problems.


Cognitivism :Cognitive psychology follows behaviorism by understanding the

mind through scientific experimentation, but it differs from it by accepting that
psychologists can study and understand the internal workings of the mind and
mental processes. It rejects psychoanalysis, as it regards psychoanalytic theories
about the subconscious mind as subjective and not open to scientific analysis.