Learning Theories

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Learning defined as 'the act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.' (American Heritage, 2000). On a psychological perspective, 'learning is often defined as a change in behavior (Birkenholz, 1999), which is demonstrated by people implementing knowledge, skills, or practices derived from education.'


Behaviorists like Ivan Pavlov (1936) and Skinner (1990) states that behavior is explained by environmental causes, rather than by internal forces. It also emphasizes that the environment influences human behavior. Whereas, the Social Learning theory, states that people learn through the observation of other people. According to Bandura, (1977, p22) 'Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasion s this coded information serves as a guide for action.' (1977, p22). On the other hand, Cognitive Learning theorist 'were concerned with cognition - the act or process of knowing.' (Smith, 1999). Researchers like Jean Piaget, while recognizing the contribution of environment, explored changes in internal cognitive structure. It explained that every human being is bound to these stages. This also tells us that learning depends on the level or stage that we are in. Lastly, Humanistic approach to learning have explained that human beings as self-actualizing. The theory explains that people are bound to growth.
In humanism, 'learning is student centered and personalized, and the educator's role is that of a facilitator. ...
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