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Theories of Learning


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Theories of Learning

  1. 1. Theories of Learning . An introduction to some of the theoretical background to teaching and education Standards Q10 Q14
  2. 2. What is Learning? <ul><li>Need to adopt a definition e.g. learning is the gaining of new knowledge / skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching an attempt to facilitate learning </li></ul>
  3. 3. Learning is being taught -Transmission model <ul><li>Very popular view and underlies much of National Curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviourist view. </li></ul><ul><li>Sees learner as an empty vessel (or tabula rasa –clean slate). </li></ul>
  4. 4. Behaviourist theories of learning <ul><li>Pavlov, Watson, Skinner </li></ul><ul><li>observable behaviour not thinking and emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Stimulus ⇒ response ⇒ reinforcement ⇒ repetition. </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviour that is not reinforced is unlikely to be repeated </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  5. 5. Uses and Abuses of Behaviourism <ul><li>Programmed instruction </li></ul><ul><li>But – inflexible </li></ul><ul><li>Does not describe the whole learning experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Useful in lion taming! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Learning is about making sense. Constructivist <ul><li>The learner is not passive -constructs the sense and incorporates new knowledge into existing structure or adapts structure to accommodate new knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// =F00R3pOXzuk&feature=related </li></ul><ul><li>The learner is not passive -constructs the sense and incorporates new knowledge into existing structure or adapts structure to accommodate new knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// =F00R3pOXzuk&feature=related </li></ul>
  7. 7. Constructivist Theories <ul><li>Not “modern” e.g. Socrates 470-399 BC method of leading the learner on by questioning. And Plutarch AD 45 “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a vessel to be ignited.” </li></ul><ul><li>Active view. Active learning also implies active experience, use of materials and role of play. </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of play even for trainees </li></ul><ul><li>http:// =K7vna8raRdc&feature=related </li></ul>
  8. 8. Constructivist View <ul><li>Associated with ideas of conception and misconception. </li></ul><ul><li>Learners need to be able to stand back and reflect / review to be able to make sense of experience– role of meta cognition – thinking about thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>Learners need to take charge of their own learning. Teacher is more “the guide on the side” than the “sage on the stage” so the focus has to be on learning. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Jean Piaget <ul><li>Children do not think like adults. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// = fcjPkPIwsog&feature =related </li></ul><ul><li>Sensorimotor stage </li></ul><ul><li>Preoperational stage </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete operational stage </li></ul><ul><li>Formal operational stage </li></ul><ul><li>Now somewhat discredited- Development leads learning v Learning leads to development </li></ul>
  10. 10. Examples from Piaget <ul><li>http:// =B65EJ6gMmA4&feature=related </li></ul><ul><li>Conservation of volume – which holds more water? </li></ul>http:// =LpYQH_T2FWM&NR=1
  11. 11. Social constructivism Learning is socially mediated <ul><li>Learning is building knowledge as part of doing things with others </li></ul><ul><li>Think of a time when someone has supported your learning. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Lev Vygotsky <ul><li>1896 – 1934 but work published much later. </li></ul><ul><li>ZPD Zone of Proximal Development </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;What a child can do with assistance today she will be able to do by herself tomorrow&quot; (Vygotsky 1978:p87). </li></ul>
  13. 13. Jerome Bruner <ul><li>Spiral Curriculum-We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development. </li></ul><ul><li>Make the knowledge ready for the child rather than waiting for the child to be ready for the knowledge </li></ul>
  14. 14. Scaffolding <ul><li>How we support children's growing understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Enactive - knowing how </li></ul><ul><li>Iconic </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic learning </li></ul>
  15. 15. Knowing is a process not a product <ul><li>To instruct someone... is not a matter of getting him to commit results to mind. Rather, it is to teach him to participate in the process that makes possible the establishment of knowledge. We teach a subject not to produce little living libraries on that subject, but rather to get a student to think mathematically for himself, to consider matters as an historian does, to take part in the process of knowledge-getting. J.Bruner.. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Learning by doing <ul><li>I hear and I forget </li></ul><ul><li>I see and I remember </li></ul><ul><li>I do and I understand </li></ul><ul><li>Attributed to Confucius </li></ul><ul><li>http:// = BnbmLHgQWqQ&feature =related </li></ul><ul><li>What are the implications for lesson planning? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Evidence from Neuroscience -Cognitive Development <ul><li>Statistical learning (learning correlations e.g. baby can recognise own feet) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning by imitation (e.g. Baby sticking out tongue) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning through analogy </li></ul><ul><li>Causal learning (explanation based learning) </li></ul><ul><li>Are all present in rudimentary form from soon after birth </li></ul>
  18. 18. Implications <ul><li>cumulative learning is crucial </li></ul><ul><li>Need to encounter the learning in varied contexts </li></ul><ul><li>multi-sensory approaches </li></ul><ul><li>‘ novice’ system that is very responsive to learning from errors followed by an ‘expert’ system which is more entrenched in its learning </li></ul><ul><li>motivation to learn and engagement of an emotional response </li></ul>
  19. 19. Memory <ul><li>Declaritive Memory </li></ul><ul><li>memories that can be brought consciously and deliberately to mind (semantic and episodic memory) </li></ul><ul><li>Implicit Memory </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge that is usually indexed by changes in performance (for example riding a bicycle) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Do Teachers Help? <ul><li>Children (and adults) construct declarative memories, and therefore prior knowledge and personal interpretation affect what is remembered. </li></ul><ul><li>Adapting our dialogue with young children leads to more organised and detailed learning and memory. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Metacognition <ul><li>Learning in classrooms can be enhanced by developing self-reflection and self regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Recognising that you do not understand is prerequisite of asking for help </li></ul>
  22. 22. Implications From Goswami & Bryant <ul><li>Thinking, reasoning and understanding can be enhanced by imaginative or pretend play contexts. However, scaffolding by the teacher is required if these are to be effective. </li></ul><ul><li>Individual differences in the ability to benefit from instruction (the zone of proximal development) and individual differences between children are large in the primary years, hence any class of children must be treated as individuals. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Report to Cambridge Primary Review <ul><li>Research Survey 2/1a: Children's Cognitive Development and Learning (Usha Goswami and Peter Bryant) Download from </li></ul>