Learning Theories: Behaviourism, Constructivism, Cognitivism and Connectivism

Hey!! Here is a summary of the learning theories

The behaviourist theory was developed by B Fredric Skinner. Skinner believed teaching was a process of transmitting external knowledge to students through demonstration, reinforcement and controlled and sequenced practice (McInerney, 2005). The pour and store method clearly demonstrates this theory. Skinner also perceived the brain as a 'black box' that could not be adequately observed or studied in subjects (Nichols, 2007).

The Constructivist theory was developed by Jean Piaget; he opposed Skinner's theory as he believed individuals must construct their own knowledge and understandings based on what they know and believe. Piaget also recognised the importance of the brain's structure and function (Nichols, 2007). Brain research tells educators how the brain works and what is important when developing learning experiences.

(Related to the diagram above) Cognitivists believe the 'black box' should be opened to gain and understanding of its mental processes such as thinking, memory, problem solving etc.
Sensory memory is used to percieve incomming information which can be both visual and auditory; incomming information picked up is dependent on whether the information is important to the person recieving it.
Working memory organises information ready for long term memory. Its storage capacity is limited to less than nine elements at a time.
Long term memory permanently stores all knowledge and skills; its storage capacity is unlimited

Connectivism involves learning within a social network using various tools and technology. For example as what we managing e learners are achieving right now. We are part of a social network and we are learning through reading the topic and posting blogs and responding to our thoughts ancd comments. I found it intertesting in the video where they explained the student had access to blogs, wikis and podcasts from the worlds best proffessors. There is so much information to be learnt these days but this can be dependant on access to high performace technologies. As a future learning manager I think using technologies such as blogs are a great way to share thoughts and ideas with other learning managers. The learning emerges from finding and posting information onto the web then reading other blogs and recieving feedback I would implement them in my learning environment by allowing my students access to blogs, imformitive podcasts and videos etc because there is so much information to be found and the technology is there but we just need to know how to work it.


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