FORMAL EDUCATIONFormal education is based on the premise that thelearning process can be directed and facilitated. Suchdirection and facilitation of learning, however, is not asimple task. Unless a teacher has a clear knowledge andunderstanding of this process, he will find it difficult toset the conditions that will facilitate learning success onthe part of the learners. Thus, to place teaching upon afirmer foundation, the teacher should understand thenature of the learning process and the facts relating tothe conditions under which learning takes place. Ateacher needs to understand also the psychologicalprinciples, theories, and laws relating to learning.
Learning theories are conceptual frameworks thatdescribe how information is absorbed, processed, andretained during learning. Learning brings togethercognitive, emotional, and environmental influences andexperiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changesin ones knowledge, skills, values, and world views.There are three main categories of learning theory:behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.Behaviorism focuses only on the objectively observableaspects of learning. Cognitive theories look beyondbehavior to explain brain-based learning. Andconstructivism views learning as a process in which thelearner actively constructs or builds new ideas orconcepts.
Merriam and Caffarella (1991) highlight four approaches or orientations to learning: Behaviourist, Cognitivist, Humanist, and Social/Situational. These approaches involve contrasting ideas as to the purpose and process of learning and education - and the role that educators may take.
BehaviorismJohn Watson (1878–1959) coined the term"behaviorism." Critical of Wundts emphasis oninternal states, Watson insisted thatpsychology must focus on overt measureablebehaviors. Watson believed that theorizingthoughts, intentions or other subjectiveexperiences was unscientific. Behaviorism as atheory was primarily developed by B. F.Skinner. It loosely encompasses the work ofpeople like Edward Thorndike, Tolman,Guthrie, and Hull.
What characterizes these investigators are theirunderlying assumptions about the process oflearning. In essence, three basic assumptions areheld to be true. First, learning is manifested by achange in behavior. Second, the environmentshapes behavior. And third, the principles ofcontiguity (how close in time two events must befor a bond to be formed) and reinforcement (anymeans of increasing the likelihood that an eventwill be repeated) are central to explaining thelearning process. For behaviorism, learning is theacquisition of new behavior through conditioning.
There are two types of possibleconditioning:1) Classical conditioning, where the behavior becomes a reflex response to stimulus as in the case of Pavlovs Dogs. Pavlov was interested in studying reflexes, when he saw that the dogs drooled without the proper stimulus.
CLASSICAL CONDITIONING Pavlovs work laid the foundation for many of psychologist John B. Watsons ideas. Watson and Pavlov shared both a disdain for "mentalistic" concepts (such as consciousness) and a belief that the basic laws of learning were the same for all animals whether dogs or humans.
2) Operant conditioning wherethere is reinforcement of thebehavior by a reward or apunishment. The theory ofoperant conditioning wasdeveloped by B.F. Skinner and isknown as Radical Behaviorism.
OPERANT CONDITIONINGThe word ‘operant’ refers to the way in whichbehavior ‘operates on the environment’. Briefly, abehavior may result either in reinforcement, whichincreases the likelihood of the behavior recurring,or punishment, which decreases the likelihood ofthe behavior recurring. It is important to note that,a punishment is not considered to be applicable ifit does not result in the reduction of the behavior,and so the terms punishment and reinforcementare determined as a result of the actions.
CognitivismCognitive theories grew out of Gestalt psychology.Developed in Germany in the early 1900s, it wastransplanted to America in the 1920s. Gestalt is roughlytranslated as "configuration," or "pattern," and emphasizes"the whole" of human experience. Over the years, theGestalt psychologist provided compelling demonstrationsand described principles by which we organize oursensations into perceptions. The earliest challenge to thebehaviorists came in a publication in 1929 by Bode, agestalt psychologist. He criticized behaviorists for being toodependent on overt behavior to explain learning. Gestaltpsychologists proposed looking at the patterns rather thanisolated events.
Gestalt views of learning have been incorporated into whathave come to be labeled cognitive theories. Two keyassumptions underlie this cognitive approach: (1) that thememory system is an active organized processor ofinformation and (2) that prior knowledge plays an importantrole in learning. Cognitive theories look beyond behavior toexplain brain-based learning. Cognitivists consider howhuman memory works to promote learning. For example, thephysiological processes of sorting and encoding informationand events into short term memory and long term memoryare important to educators working under the cognitivetheory. The major difference between gestaltists andbehaviorists is the focus of control over the learningactivity: the individual learner is more key to gestaltiststhan the environment that behaviorists emphasize.
ConstructivismConstructivism is a theory of learning and an approach toeducation that lays emphasis on the ways that peoplecreate meaning of the world through a series ofindividual constructs.
Informal or post-modern theoryIn Marzano’s restructuring knowledge, the informalcurriculum promotes the use of prior knowledge to helpstudents gain big ideas and concept understanding. Thistheory states that new knowledge cannot be told tostudents, but rather the students current knowledgemust be challenged. Same with constructivism thatemphasizes the top-down processing in teaching,meaning begin with complex problems and teach basicskills while solving these problems, this theory alsosupports the idea that teaching concepts and thelanguage of a subject should be split into multiple steps.
Transformative Learning TheoryTLT is an adult education based theory that suggestsways in which adults make meaning of their lives. itlooks at “deep learning” not just content or processlearning, as critical as those many kinds of learning,and examines what it takes for adults to move from alimited knowledge of knowing what they know withoutquestioningTransformative learning theory [explains the] process ofconstructing and appropriating new and revisedinterpretations of the meaning of an experience in theworld.
BY: MR. AMELIL T. LUMENDA &MS. FATIMA JEAN T. FERRAREN