Learning Theories : A Comparison Of Behavioral And Cognitive Views

1163 Words5 Pages
Learning Theories: A Comparison of Behavioral and Cognitive Views
Cognitive and behavioral learning theories tend to dominate modern discussions of learning theories. Employed in both educational and clinical settings, both have important contributions to understanding how and why individuals learn. Is one approach statistically better than the other, or do they each have their own place where one approach may be more effective under specific circumstances? Each theory has supporters who claim the efficacy of their theory is superior. Comparison of the theories is necessary to determine if one is significantly better than the other, or even if one theory may be slightly more effective than the other. Determining if one competing theory
…show more content…
Although Watson was not the first to suggest an empirical and objective approach to psychological research he was the first to offer a coherent and organized program, and is often viewed as the catalyst for behaviorism, especially among American psychologists (Bewsbury, 2013). Perhaps the most famous behaviorist is B.F. Skinner (b.1904-d.1990). Skinner’s approach almost completely disregarded anything outside of observable behaviors, and his strict approach to looking at anything other than observable behaviors resulted in the development of the term radical behaviorism (Feist et al., 2013).
There is no single theorist or group that the cognitive theory of learning was built upon, it is a multifaceted approach built upon information presented by numerous contributions of many theorists (Yilmaz, 2011). However, it is generally accepted that cognitive learning theory was pioneered by Jean Piaget and further expounded upon by Lev Vygotsky in the 1920’s (Ormrod, 2012; Yilmaz, 2011). Cognitivism was birthed as a result of behaviorists failing to explain how and why individuals process information and make sense of the information that has been processed (Yilmaz, 2011).

Behaviorism is rooted in the belief that behavior should be studied scientifically, and
Get Access