Describing a Learning
Oscar A. Bernal
ITD-546 Learning Theories and Instructional
February 13, 2014
A new learning theory that attempts to explain how
adult learners learn by constructing knowledge for
A synthesis of multiple theories diffused into one
The assimilation of both behaviorialist and cognitive
“Learning is a process of constructing meaning; it is
how people make sense of their experience” (Merriam
How does learning occur?
Learning occur by creating meaning from
Learning does not transfer knowledge from the
external world into memory.
Learning is built through personal interpretations of
the world based on individual experiences and
Learning is a process in which the learner is able to
build on present and previous information.
Which factors influence learning?
Learning occurs when there is interaction between
the learner and the environment.
Content knowledge must be embedded in the
situation in which it is used.
Learning is based on the interpretation of a current
event as it relates to its history of previous
Learning is constantly changing as concepts
continually evolve with each new use.
Learning occur in realistic settings.
Learning tasks must be relevant to the student’s
What is the role of memory?
Learning particular facts is not important, what is
important is to elaborate on and interpret information.
Memory is always under construction as a
cumulative history of interactions.
Information is not stored in memory as a single
piece of knowledge.
Memory is used to understand a specific situation
based on prior knowledge from different sources
related with the problem at hand.
Learning must include activity, concept and culture
to be successful, meaningful, and lasting.
How does transfer occur?
By being involved in unique tasks hold in place by
The learning experience has to be authentic to be
meaningful to the learner’s ability to use ideas.
Learning always takes place in a context always
linked with the knowledge link in it.
Learning is decontextualized
Learning is measured on the effectiveness of
What types of learning are best
explained by this position?
There is no specific type of learning independent
from content and context of learning.
It is impossible to isolate units of information.
There is no hierarchical analysis of relationships
with regards to the division of knowledge domains.
Much of what needs to be learned involves advanced
knowledge in ill-structured domains.
Learning environments are most effective for the
stage of advanced knowledge acquition.
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J., (1993). Behaviorism,
cognitivism, constructivism: critical features from an
Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50- 72.
Wikibooks. (2006). Learning Theories.