Applying Learning Theories

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Introduction to Learning Theories

EDU622-0603A-01: Applying Learning Theories
Unit 1 IP

Dr. Trude Fawson
American Intercontinental University

June 17, 2006

How do we come to know what we know? What is knowledge? These questions are important not only for epistemologists or philosophers who study knowledge, but, as well for those interested in the sciences and education. Whether knowledge is seen as absolute, separate from the knower and corresponding to a knowable, external reality or as seen as part of the knower and relative to the individual's experiences with his environment have far-reaching implications.
In ancient times, people believed that only God could provide glimpses of the ‘real' world. During the
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Skinner believed that radical behaviorism should not be considered a theory but as an experimental analysis of behavior studying functional relationships between environmental variables and behavior (Driscoll, 2005).

Kimble, (2000) defined behaviorism as any psychology that views its necessity as the understanding of behavior and accepts stimuli (situations and responses). That if behaviorism wants to be a science it must take on some form of that approach aiming at comprehending observable events in the world, and the only such events available to psychology are responses and the situations in which the occur. Webster's defines cognition as "the act or process of knowing in the broadest sense; specifically, an intellectual process by which knowledge is gained from perception or ideas."
Learning is defined as a change of knowledge state. Whereas knowledge acquisition can be described as a mental activity that entails internal coding and structuring by the learner.
Bruner believes that theories of development and instruction should be considered together. He has stated that a well-developed intelligent mind creates from experience and that the goal of education is to make the learner an independent self-motivated thinker (Driscoll, 2005).

Ernest (1995) as cited by Murphy (1997) derived a set of theoretical underpinngs common to the different schools of constructivism:

1. Knowledge as a whole is problematized, not just the
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