Comparison Of Three Key Theories Of Learning

2398 Words10 Pages
This essay will compare and contrast three key theories of learning; Behaviourism, Cognitive Learning Theory and Constructivism. Learning itself, cannot be observed as it is a hypothetical concept, but behavioural changes can be observed which lead to the assessment and understanding of what learning has taken place. Therefore when Psychologists use the term learning, they are referring to the process of learning, i.e. that technique or strategy which has been used to facilitate the learning. Learning has been described by Howe (1980) as ‘cumulative’ i.e. whatever we learn at any time is influenced by previous learning. It is also clear that developmental processes and learning processes are closely interlinked. Whilst psychologists agree that learning is affected by past experience and is relatively permanent there are differing theories about exactly what changes when learning takes place and what mechanisms are involved. An important issue is whether the focus is on overt behavioural changes (that which can be seen) or covert, cognitive changes (the unseen change in thoughts). The concept of learning is broad and there are different psychological theories as to what is involved in that learning process. In the theory of behaviourism the learner is passive and reacts to external stimuli with a response which then creates a new behaviour. Behaviour is then shaped and conditioned by reinforcement. According to behaviourists the learner always starts off with a
Get Access