You are on page 1of 2

Although there are many different approaches to learning, there are three basic types of learning

theory: behaviorist, cognitive constructivist, and social constructivist. This section provides a brief
introduction to each type of learning theory. The theories are treated in four parts: a short historical
introduction, a discussion of the view of knowledge presupposed by the theory, an account of how
the theory treats learning and student motivation, and finally, an overview of some of the
instructional methods promoted by the theory is presented.

Behaviorism Social Constructivism
View of Knowledge is a repertoire Knowledge systems of Knowledge is constructed
knowledge of behavioral responses to cognitive structures are within social contexts
environmental stimuli. actively constructed by through interactions with
learners based on pre- a knowledge community.
existing cognitive
View of Passive absorption of a Active assimilation and Integration of students
learning predefined body of accommodation of new into a knowledge
knowledge by the learner. information to existing community. Collaborative
Promoted by repetition cognitive structures. assimilation and
and positive Discovery by learners. accommodation of new
reinforcement. information.
View of Extrinsic, involving Intrinsic; learners set their Intrinsic and extrinsic.
motivation positive and negative own goals and motivate Learning goals and
reinforcement. themselves to learn. motives are determined
both by learners and
extrinsic rewards provided
by the knowledge
Implications Correct behavioral The teacher facilitates Collaborative learning is
for Teaching responses are transmitted learning by providing an facilitated and guided by
by the teacher and environment that the teacher. Group work.
absorbed by the students. promotes discovery and


Skinner, B. F. (1976). About Behaviorism. New York: Vintage Books.

Perry, William G. (1999). Forms of Ethical and Intellectual Development in the College Years. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Piaget, Jean (1968). Six Psychological Studies. Anita Tenzer (Trans.), New York: Vintage Books.
Vygotsky, Lev (1978). Mind in Society. London: Harvard University Press.
Brooks, J 1995 Training and Development Competence: a practical guide Kogan Page, London.
Burns, R. 1995 The adult learner at work Business and Professional Publishing, Sydney.
Burns, S. 1995 'Rapid changes require enhancement of adult learning' HRMonthly June, pp 16-17.
Knowles, M.S. 1978 The Adult Learner: a Neglected Species 2nd edition, Houston: Gulf Publishing
Company, Book Division.
Knowles, M.S. 1990 The Adult Learner: a Neglected Species 4th edition, Houston: Gulf Publishing
Company, Book Division
Laird, D. 1985 Approaches to training and development Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass.
McGill, I & Beaty, L 1995 Action Learning, second edition: a guide for professional, management
and educational development Kogan Page, London.
Pogson, P. & Tennant, M. 1995 'Understanding Adults' in Foley, G. ed. Understanding adult
education and training, St Leonards, Allen & Unwin, pp.20-30.