Learning is one of the most significant of all human endowments. This is because it enables us to respond to changes and lead an effective life.
However, learning is just not restricted to the skills you acquire or the knowledge you gain on a particular subject matter. Such type of learning just reflects one component of the concept of learning according to Psychology.
We humans also learn via our own experiences with the external world. For instance, we have the ability to distinguish between friendly and unfriendly people. This is because of our past experiences with them.
Thus, our life would be threatening and inefficient if we would not have been endowed with the ability to learn from our experiences.
However, this explanation might not be sufficient to convince you regarding the importance of behavioral learning in our life? Well, just ponder over those social interactions that put you in a dilemma?
What makes you change your behavior in order to deal with such a social dilemma? It is your ability to analyze the loss as well as the benefit of various outcomes. And these outcomes compel you to change your behavior.
So, this change in behavior to deal with a social dilemma happens because of the various principles of learning in psychology. Each of the learning principles plays its part.
Therefore, in this article, we are going to learn what is learning in psychology, types of learning in psychology, and various examples of learning in psychology.
What is Learning in Psychology?
Learning in psychology is defined as a relatively permanent change in your behavior, or behavioral potential, produced by experience. Now, this meaning of learning has various aspects to it. And these aspects are quite important for you to note.
First, the term learning according to psychology involves a permanent change in your behavior and not a temporary change. For instance, changes occurring in behavior due to fatigue, drugs, or illness are temporary changes. Hence, such changes in your behavior do not constitute learning according to psychology.
Second, these behavioral changes also do not refer to the changes resulting from maturation. For instance, you as a human change in various ways as you grow and develop.
Third, learning can also take place from direct as well as indirect experiences. Albert Bandura published a journal in 1986 titled “Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory”. In this journal, Bandura postulated that learning is a cognitive process.
Furthermore, this process can occur entirely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of direct reinforcement. In other words, there can be a permanent change in your behavior as a result of observing events and behavior in your external environment.
Finally, the changes in behavior as a result of learning are not always positive in nature. That is, we humans are as likely to acquire bad habits as good ones. Thus, this is what is the definition of learning in psychology.
Now, let us try to understand what does learning means in psychology with the help of various examples.
Examples of Learning in Psychology
As mentioned in the meaning of learning in psychology, learning is a critical process in human behavior. It plays an important role in almost every activity that you perform on a daily basis.
Thus, behaviorists proposed that the fundamental aspect of learning is the process of conditioning. But conditioning is just one type of learning according to the behaviorist school of psychology.
Learning through insight as well as observational learning are the other types of learning in psychology.
Accordingly, the following are various behavioral learning examples as well as other examples of learning in psychology.
Behavioral Learning Examples
- A child learns to ride a bicycle from his father. This is because he observes his father riding the bike every day.
- A woman experiences fear and anxiety while driving a car on a rainy day. This is because she met with a severe car accident a few years back during a thunderstorm.
- An employee achieves double the sales target in the current quarter. This is due to the bonus he received last time for meeting the sales target.
- An adolescent gets into the habit of consuming drugs and alcohol. This is because he observes his peers doing the same.
- Children study harder to earn a scholarship, trophy, or a medal at the end of the academic year.
- A man feels pukish the moment he observes a bottle of wine. This is because he had undergone a painful experience the last time he consumed wine.
- A kid learns to play the guitar by watching a professional playing the same on a Youtube video.
- A wife avoids discussing financial distress matters with the husband. This is due to the stress that he goes through every time they discuss such matters.
- An employee avoids taking the route to his cabin via the dispensary within the office compound. This is because he feels sick with the smell of the spirit.
Characteristics of Learning in Psychology
As mentioned above, Learning happens when there is a permanent change in your behavior. However, it requires continuous practice or training to generate such a behavioral change.
Remember that Learning not only brings about a change in your existing behavior. But it also enables you to acquire new behavior.
Furthermore, the changes brought about in your behavior via Learning would be stable and long-lasting. Also, such learning prepares you to adjust and adapt to your environment.
Thus, the importance of Learning in Psychology cannot be disregarded. This is because it plays an important role in molding your personality and behavior.
So, the following points showcase the characteristics of learning in Psychology. Learning is:
A Process and Not A Product
Learning in Psychology is an important and never-ending process. It is not a single event or an experience. Rather, it’s a continuous or unending experience that helps you to understand the real world.
However, you might make the mistake of considering learning to be getting a formal education. That is the one that takes place in schools during childhood or early adulthood.
But, it is important to note that Learning is an ongoing process that takes place throughout life.
Early thinking in human psychology focused on the importance of instincts in guiding human behavior. Psychologists like William James proposed that human beings possessed a greater range of instincts that guide their behavior.
However, in the 1920s, behaviorists like John B. Watson viewed “experience” as the major determinant of human actions. Thus, he moved away from the instinct-based theory of human behavior to the theory of behaviorism.
Accordingly, Watson proposed that behavioral psychology must be explained in terms of stimulus and response, habit formation, habit integration, and the like.
Thus, the meaning of learning in psychology refers to a constant process that brings a relatively permanent change in your behavior as a result of experience(s).
Learning is Goal-Directed
This means Learning involves setting a definitive goal to satisfy your needs in a purposeful way. That is you do not learn anything that comes your way in an unorganized manner. Though, some psychologists do believe that sometimes learning happens unintentionally.
So, setting a goal or an aim helps you to come up with various ways and means to accomplish your goals. Furthermore, it makes the process of achieving your goals interesting.
Also, such attempts align your capabilities towards achieving the goals. Therefore, setting a goal is one of the imperative characteristics of learning in psychology.
Involves Some Degree of Permanence
Learning involves a change in your behavior taking place through experience, exercise, and effort. Such a change in behavior is relatively permanent in nature.
Thus, any temporary change in your behavior does not tantamount to Learning. In other words, you demonstrate certain types of behavior due to one or more changes taking place in your conduct. However, such behavioral changes cannot be termed as Learning.
For instance, you immediately close your eyes when you go outdoors and the bright sunlight falls on your eyes. Such behavior is quite instantaneous and you do not feel that you are putting in some special effort.
Likewise, you immediately withdraw your hand the moment you touch a hot pot. Such behavior also does not fall under the Learning category. Instead, it is your reflex action.
Universal and Continuous
One of the essential characteristics of learning is that it is an unending process. This process starts right from your birth and continues till your death.
For instance, a child learns to touch hot vessels carefully. This is because her hand burnt when she touched the vessel for the very first time. Such an instance taught the child that her hand would get burnt if she would touch hot vessels.
Likewise, the child changes her behavior constantly as a result of having different experiences on a day-to-day basis.
Thus, learning plays a dominant role in modifying and shaping your behavior from the very beginning. Such a process of having experiences, drawing conclusions, and changing behavior continue till the end of your life.
Prepares For Adjustment
Learning plays a key role in shaping your personality and behavior. It is a process by which you as an individual constantly interact with your environment.
Furthermore, such an interaction enables you to respond to external stimuli and get feedback. As a result, such feedback helps you to grow. That is, it helps you to decide whether the changes in your behavior are desirable and whether you can retain such changes.
This means Learning helps you to adjust or adapt to a given environment. As you grow old, you acquire various habits, knowledge, attitudes, and skills as a result of Learning. Thus, these habits and skills help you to satisfy the requirements of a given situation or environment.
Learning in Psychology refers to a process that brings about permanent change in your behavior as a result of experience. Such a process is comprehensive as it covers all the domains of human behavior. These include Cognitive, Affective, Social, and Psychomotor.
Psychologists carried out various experiments on animals and children over a period of time. These experiments led them to conclusions that explain various modes of learning via which humans learn. These modes of learning are termed Theories of Learning. These theories cover a wide range of activities that cannot be explained within a restricted framework.
Does Not Include Reflexes and Instincts
Learning is a process that brings a permanent change in your behavior as a result of experience. It does not include behavioral changes that occur due to maturation. Further, it also does not include changes in behavior due to native response tendencies. That is tendencies or abilities that are blessed to you as a human being naturally.
For instance, an infant knows how to suck innately. Likewise, you automatically blink your eyes the moment the rays of bright light fall on your eyes. All such behaviors come under the category of instincts and reflexes and cannot be attributed to learning.
Change in Behavior That Can Be Favorable or Unfavorable
Learning brings about behavioral changes in you as a human. However such changes can be favorable or unfavorable. It is not mandatory that these changes would bring about an improvement or positive development in you as an individual.
This means that there are chances that Learning can even lead to negative behaviors. Negative Learning refers to experiences that lead to negative changes in your behavior. That is, such type of learning leads to faulty mental models and reasoning. Further, such type of learning demands significant resources to unlearn the biases.
Whereas, Positive learning refers to experiences that lead to positive changes in your behavior. Such behaviors are backed by sound knowledge, ethical norms, and moral values. Furthermore, such kind of learning leads to your growth, self-development, and a greater sense of well-being.
All learning involves some sort of experience. This experience and training right from birth helps you to bring about changes in your behavior.
Furthermore, such an experience not only leads you to acquire new behaviors. But, it also includes strengthening or weakening of old behaviors.
In other words, learning may also lead to discontinuance or abandonment of existing behavior. It is just not restricted to acquiring new behaviors or changes in existing behaviors.
Does Not Include Changes in Behavior Due To Maturation
Learning in Psychology does not include changes in your behavior that happen as a result of maturation. This is because Maturation is a developmental process. In such a process, you as an individual demonstrate various traits or characteristics in each phase of your life.
This is because the cells of your body already carry the model incorporating such traits right from the conception of your life.
Thus, maturation is a natural process and involves changes associated with normal growth. Furthermore, such changes do not occur as a result of activity, practice, or experience.
Hence, learning does not include changes in behavior due to maturation.
Types of Learning in Psychology
There is no doubt that Learning is an essential process in human behavior. It plays a significant role in almost every activity that you perform as an individual. Furthermore, the effects of learning are quite diverse.
However, many psychologists believe that there are certain basic forms of learning in psychology. In other words, there are primarily three types of learning. These include Classical Conditioning, Observational Learning, and Operant Conditioning.
These three types of learning in psychology are described by behavioral psychology, also referred to as Behaviorism.
Thus, Behavioral Psychology claimed that there are majorly 3 types of learning in psychology. These include Classical Conditioning, Observational Learning, and Operant Conditioning.
Observational Learning and Operant Conditioning are the two main types of behavioral learning as well as Learning by Association in Psychology. So, let’s understand each of them separately.
Forms of Learning in Psychology
Learning and Types of Learning in psychology can be categorized into the following sections:
Classical Learning in Psychology
Definition of Classical Conditioning in Psychology
Classical Conditioning is a type of learning in which learning happens when a neutral stimulus is associated with a stimulus that produces a specific behavior naturally.
In this type of learning, a neutral stimulus occurs repeatedly with the natural stimulus capable of giving a natural response.
Eventually, the neutral stimulus becomes capable of generating the natural response even in the absence of the natural stimulus. This happens due to the repeated occurrence of the neutral stimulus with the natural stimulus.
Conditioning in Psychology
Conditioning in Psychology is also referred to as Classical Learning Theory. It is one of the types of behavioral learning. In this, a physical event, known as the neutral stimulus, initially does not lead to a particular response. But slowly acquires the ability to generate that response.
This is due to the repeated pairing of this stimulus with a natural stimulus having the capacity to generate a natural response. Thus, it means one stimulus serves as a signal for the occurrence of the second stimulus in conditioned learning.
That is, the occurrence of only a previously neutral stimulus is sufficient enough to produce the behavior once the association is learned.
This means we humans take in information about the relationship between various stimuli during classical conditioning. That is, we associate various stimuli, and such associations are complex in nature.
Thus, Classical Conditioning Theory is fundamental learning by association process. It is one of the two main types of Behavioral Learning.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, a Russian psychologist identified the concept in the early part of the twentieth century.
Classical Conditioning Theory of Learning
Now, let me explain the above classical conditioning definition with the help of an example. Say, for instance, your baby sister starts crying whenever she encounters her Uncle who has a loud voice and a big mustache.
Now, the loud voice in this example is a natural stimulus (S1). This is because it is capable of eliciting a natural response (R1) – fear in this case.
Whereas, the big mustache acts as a neutral stimulus (S2). This is because it does not have the capability to generate fear (R1) in your baby sister when presented alone.
Suppose, that both these stimuli are presented together on a consistent basis. That is, your Uncle visits your place quite frequently. And whenever he comes, he has his big mustache intact. Plus, he speaks in a loud voice while talking to you.
Now, the natural response (R1) to the natural stimulus (S1) would occur in the presence of the neutral stimulus (S2) even if the natural stimulus (S1) is absent.
Thus, this means the neutral stimulus (Big Mustache) initially incapable of generating the natural response (Fear) becomes capable of producing such a response eventually. This is due to conditioned learning.
Remember, that classical learning theory is applicable for spontaneous and reflexive actions and not for voluntary responses.
Pavlov Classical Conditioning
In the early part of the twentieth century, Ivan Pavlov observed an unusual behavioral phenomenon while he was studying the process of digestion in dogs.
During such an investigation, he noticed that the dogs began to salivate the moment lab technicians who normally fed the dogs entered the lab. The dogs did not receive any food yet.
Therefore, Pavlov realized that the dogs were salivating because dogs understood that they would now be served with food as the lab technicians entered the lab.
This meant that the dogs had started associating the arrival of the lab technicians with the food. This was the food that was served to them the moment the lab technicians came inside the lab.
Therefore, Ivan Pavlov along with his colleagues started studying this process in detail.
Ivan Pavlov Dog Experiment
Pavlov was researching the gastric secretion of the dogs via a number of experiments. In one of the experiments, he placed meat powder in the mouths of the dogs and measured the resulting saliva.
Also, Pavlov rang a bell immediately before placing the meat powder inside the dog’s mouth to measure the saliva precisely. Further, he controlled the onset of the sound and the timing of the food delivery to measure the dog’s saliva precisely.
Thus Pavlov noticed that initially, the dogs salivated only when they smelled or saw the food. However, they didn’t behave this way after the food was paired with the sound of the bell innumerable times. When this happened, the dogs started salivating even before the meat powder was presented to them. That is, Pavlovian dogs started salivating as soon as they heard the sound of the bell.
Thus, Pavlov concluded that all these events were acting as stimuli, thereby becoming signals for the food itself for dogs. That is to say, the Pavlovian dogs had learned that the food would be served soon when such signals were presented.
Therefore, Pavlov identified a fundamental associative learning process called classical conditioning via this dog bell experiment. This process is also known as Pavlov Classical Conditioning Theory or Pavlov Conditioning Theory.
Interpretation of the Results of Pavlov’s Dog Bell Experiment
As a part of such trials, Pavlov presented a neutral stimulus to the dogs. In this case, the neural stimulus was the bell. Initially, such a neutral stimulus had no effect on the salivation of dogs.
Then soon after the ringing bell, the dogs were exposed to a second stimulus. This second stimulus was dried meat powder that Pavlov placed directly into the Dog’s mouth. Such a stimulus had the capacity to produce a strong impact on the dog’s salivation.
Pavlov called the meat powder as Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) in the Dog Salivation Experiment. This is because the meat powder had the capability to produce salivation automatically. That is, it did not depend on the dog’s learning of such a response.
Likewise, Pavlov called the response of salivation to meat powder an Unconditioned Response (UCR). This was because such a response was also not dependent on any kind of previous learning.
However, Pavlov called the ringing bell a Conditioned Stimulus (CS). This is because the ability of the bell to produce salivation in dogs was not independent. Rather, it was dependent on pairing the bell with the meat powder.
Finally, he termed dogs salivation in response to the ringing bell as Conditioned Response (CR).
Pavlov encountered a fundamental question during the Dog Bell Experiment. The question was whether the ringing bell would slowly develop the capability to produce salivation in dogs? Provided it was repeatedly paired with the meat powder.
That is to say, would the ringing bell produce a conditioned response when it was presented alone? Clearly, the answer to this question was yes.
Pavlov observed that the dogs salivated the moment they heard the ringing bell, even though no meat powder followed the bell. This was because the ringing bell was paired repeatedly with meat powder.
So, we can say that there are four basic elements in Ivan Pavlov’s Theory of Classical Conditioning.
Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
The Unconditioned Stimulus is the natural stimulus generating a natural response. In Pavlov’s Dog Bell experiment, the meat powder was the UCS.
Unconditioned Response (UCR)
The Unconditioned Response is the natural response that gets generated as a consequence of exposure to the natural stimulus. In Ivan Pavlov’s experiment on dogs, the dog’s salivation was the UCR.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS)
The Conditioned Stimulus is the neutral stimulus that does not naturally generate the target response. However, such a stimulus generates a naturally occurring response. Provided it is associated with an Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) innumerable times. In the Pavlovian Dog experiment, the sound of the bell was the Conditioned Stimulus.
Conditioned Response (CR)
It is the target response that is similar to the Unconditioned Response. UCR is a response that occurred originally as a consequence of the Unconditioned Stimulus only. However, this type of response occurs even in the absence of the Unconditioned Stimulus. Provided conditioning occurs to the Conditioned Stimulus. Thus, the dog salivation occurring in response to the bell’s sound was the Conditioned Response in the Pavlovian experiment.
The Observational Learning in Psychology
Observational Learning Definition
The Observational Learning Theory refers to the one in which you learn through observing. That is, learning by observing the actions of other people or the outcomes they experience. It is one of the third most important forms of learning in psychology.
In the observational learning process, you obtain new information, types of behavior, or other complex concepts. And this happens as a result of observing an appropriate model’s actions or behaviors.
Now, an appropriate model refers to a person who is either a pro in what he does or is attractive. He can also be an individual who showcases relevant behaviors. That is behaviors that are appropriate to your needs and goals as an observer.
This means that you do not randomly choose people acting as models. So, you choose an appropriate model and learn by observing his actions. And this process is known as observational modeling.
Now, Observational Learning is also known as Social Learning Theory. And the concept of observational learning was given by Albert Bandura, a Canadian-American psychologist. Thus, Albert Bandura is famously referred to as the Founder of Observational Learning.
4 Key Processes of Observational Learning
The observational learning process usually consists of a model. Such a model acts as a demonstrator or an actor. Further, the model experiences an event or executes a behavior. Whereas, the observer witnesses the behavior or the consequences of the event experienced by the model. And, the observer witnesses the actions of the model voluntarily or involuntarily.
Thus, bandura’s model of observational learning was derived through one of his most significant experiments. This experiment was famously known as the Bobo Doll Experiment. Through this experiment, Bandura theorized that there are 4 processes of observational learning. These include attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation.
Attention in Observational Learning is one of the factors affecting observational learning. It refers to the extent to which you focus your attention on the behavior of an appropriate model in the process of observational learning.
Further, this observational learning modeling must be effective. That is, the model’s behavior must seem useful to you as an observer. Also, you must be able to relate to the model’s behavior personally.
This means you as an observer would not be attentive or get engaged if you do not get attracted to the model. Or you are not able to associate with the model.
Thus, Skinner and Belmont proposed that children’s perception of a model and his behavior influence their engagement.
Retention in Observational Learning is one of the other factors that affect observational learning. It refers to your capability to retain a representation of actions or behaviors of other people in your memory.
This means that you must be able to remember what other people do or say once you observe their actions. It is because you would be able to acquire new information only if you retain the actions of other people in your memory.
Therefore, Retention is one of the important observational learning steps. That is, the process of observational learning would be of little influence if you do not retain what you observe.
Also, observational learning depends upon imagery and verbal coding methods of recall. That is, you retain most of the observed events as images or later remember in verbal coding.
Furthermore, most processes of controlling behavior are verbal. However, some skills cannot be taught verbally.
Reinforcement or Reproduction Observational Learning
Reinforcement in Observational Learning is also one of the significant factors influencing observational learning. It refers to your capability to act on your memory representations. These memory representations are regarding acquired knowledge through observing other people. That is, you should be able to convert your memory representations into suitable actions.
This is one of the phases of observational learning that is also known as Reproduction Observational Learning. Now, this concept of observational learning depends upon the following two factors:
- Your physical capability to perform a behavior learned through observation. This is because having a clear memory for the learned behavior would be of no use if you are not physically fit to perform such behavior.
- The second factor pertains to your capability to monitor your performance and modify the same. Until your performance equates to the behavior you learned by observing the appropriate model.
Remember, it’s not easy to observe, retain, and then reproduce correctly without trial and error during the training session.
Motivation is the last in observational learning steps. This is one of the types of observational learning that plays an important role in determining whether such learning would be effective or not. That is, whether you would be able to acquire new information through observational learning and put it into practice.
There may be times when you may acquire new information through social observational learning. However, you may not be able to put such learned behaviors into practice.
This is because you may not be able to see the outcome of the modeled behavior as valuable and rewarding. Therefore, you must be motivated to imitate the behavior observed if you want observational learning modeling to be successful.
So, your motivation to continue to enhance reproduction observational learning, then you must have a direct incentive as a learner.
Observational Learning Studies
Albert Bandura is known for many studies. However, one of his most significant studies has been the Bobo Doll Experiment. This is because it is through this experiment Albert Bandura’s Observational Learning Theory came to the forefront. Bandura’s studies of observational learning demonstrate that children continually learn desirable and undesirable through observational learning.
Bobo Doll Experiment
In this experiment, the nursery school children were divided into two groups. The first group observed an adult engaging with a large inflated Bobo doll in an aggressive manner. That is, the adult was knocking the doll, abusing it verbally, sitting on it time and again, and punching the doll in the nose.
While the other group of children saw an adult, who was quite calm. And he was not behaving aggressively with the Bobo doll. After a while, both the groups of children were made to sit in a room full of toys including a Bobo doll.
After careful observation, it was revealed that children who saw the adult behaving aggressively with the bobo doll imitated his behavior. They too punched the doll, abused it verbally, knocked it down, and sat on it. Just like the aggressive adult.
Whereas, children who saw the adult calm and not behaving violently with the doll did not go aggressive with it. This might not seem extraordinary, but it plays a significant role in child development. Children acquire traits of aggression or violence while exposing themselves to violent video games and television programs.
The Operant Conditioning Definition
Operant Conditioning is one of the forms of learning in Psychology. Under this type of learning, you associate your behavior with the occurrence of a significant event. That is, it is one of the types of learning wherein changes in your behavior depend upon the consequences of a significant event.
The psychologist most closely associated with the study of operant conditioning was B.F. Skinner. Hence, he is also referred to as the Father of Operant Conditioning.
Furthermore, Operant Conditioning is also known as instrumental conditioning or instrumental conditioning theory.
According to operant conditioning theory, Skinner defined Operant Learning as the process that results in operant behavior. Now, as per Skinner’s Theory, there are two types of behaviors: respondent and operant behavior.
Respondent Behavior refers to a response that is quite spontaneous. This happens when you are exposed to a stimulus occurring in the environment.
For example, your eyes shut automatically when you get exposed to too much sunlight. This is a reflexive behavior and it is evoked by the environment directly.
Whereas, many of your behaviors are not generated by the environment. Rather, they are generated by you. Thus, by showcasing such behaviors, you operate upon the environment. That’s why these behaviors are referred to as Operant Behaviors.
For example, eating, talking, dancing, singing, reading, writing, etc are all operant behaviors. That is, the environment does not force these behaviors upon you. Instead, you emit these behaviors.
Operant Conditioning Examples
The Operant Conditioning Theory is based on B.F. Skinner’s work. This theory states that learning in humans happens as a result of punishments and rewards.
We learn every single habit and attitude that makes us what we are from the response given by the surrounding environment.
Nothing is given to us humans just because we are born as humans. We have to traverse the path of learning at each and every stage of life.
This means Instrumental conditioning is at work all around us. Accordingly, the following are a few of the Operant Conditioning examples in daily life.
- You promise your child tickets to a live soccer match if he performs well in exams. This you do to make him work hard and perform well. Your promise of soccer match tickets would positively reinforce your child to work harder. Moreover, he or she would probably continue working hard in order to receive such rewards in the near future. Thus, this is an example of positive reinforcement in operant conditioning.
- Suppose you have severe pain in your back. So, you take pain-relieving tablets, in order to avoid that pain. These tablets provide you relief from the pain. Therefore, it is likely that you will consume these tablets in the future as well in case you suffer from backache again. Hence, the tablets act as negative reinforcers in this case. This is because these tablets help you in avoiding unpleasant conditions. Therefore, this is an example of negative reinforcement in operant conditioning
Operant Conditioning Theory
B.F. Skinner formulated the learning model known as operant conditioning. Operant conditioning theory of learning is a process that involves changes in human behavior depending upon the consequences following a specific behavior.
That is to say, the likelihood of changes occurring in your behavior depends upon the behavior following the outcome of an event.
Thus, there is an increased likelihood that you would repeat a behavior if the outcome of an event is positive. And such an outcome leads to a positive change in your behavior.
On the other hand, there is an increased likelihood that you would avoid repeating a behavior if the outcome of an event is negative. And such an outcome leads to a negative change in your behavior.
Principles of Operant Conditioning
B. F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning Theory is based on certain basic principles. Two of the basic principles of operant conditioning result in strengthening, enhancing, or increasing the rate of behavior. While the other two operant principles result in weakening or decreasing the rate of behavior.
Thus, the principles of operant conditioning that strengthen or increase the rate of behaviors come under Reinforcement. Whereas those that reduce the rate of behavior come under Punishment.
Accordingly, there are four types of operant conditioning. These include Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Punishment, and Negative Punishment.
As per Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory, reinforcement refers to the stimulus events that strengthen or increase the rate of behavior. Provided such behavior occurs before such stimulus events or reinforcers.
Accordingly, Operant Reinforcement can be of two types: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.
In Operant conditioning, positive reinforcement refers to the consequences or stimulus events that result in strengthening the behavior preceding such stimuli.
This means a consequence or a stimulus event acts as a positive reinforcer. Provided the consequence of a specific behavior leads to an increase in the occurrence of such behavior in the near future.
Accordingly, one of the Operant Conditioning Positive Reinforcement examples includes you getting reinforced to read more books. This is as a result of your teacher appreciating your effort in reading books.
According to Skinnerian operant conditioning theory, negative reinforcement refers to the negative reinforcers. These reinforcers are the stimulus events or unpleasant consequences resulting in increasing specific behaviors. That is behaviors that allow you to avoid or escape such stimulus events.
In operant conditioning, negative reinforcement means that the unpleasant consequences reinforce you not to exhibit certain behaviors. That is behaviors that resulted in unpleasant consequences.
One of the negative reinforcement examples include parents surrendering to their children’s demands. Especially, at public places or events.
Typically, the behavior of parents to buy their children gifts, chocolates, or fulfilling their other demands at a public place or event increases. This is because such behavior helps them to stop their children from shouting. And this, as a result, saves the parents from embarrassment.
In a nutshell, negative reinforcers are unpleasant events increasing the rate of behavior. Such behavior helps you to escape or avoid such stimulus events.
Primary reinforcement is also sometimes referred to as Unconditional Reinforcer or Unconditioned Stimulus. Such reinforcers are the ones that occur naturally as a response to the presented stimulus.
Primary reinforcers are associated with your basic needs and are biologically important for your survival. These reinforcers do not require any kind of learning in order to perform the work. For instance, food, air, water, and sleep are a few of the examples of primary reinforcers.
Thus, Primary Reinforcers help you to survive. Furthermore, an event acting as a Primary Reinforcer for you depends on your experience and genes.
For instance, you may find wheat pleasing to consume. However, your partner may not like consuming wheat at all.
Secondary Reinforcement is also referred to as Conditioned Reinforcement. It acquires its reinforcement value only when it is associated with a primary reinforcer.
Such reinforcement involves using a stimulus that becomes reinforcing after it is paired with a primary reinforcer.
For instance, money is not a primary reinforcer. Rather, it is a secondary reinforcer. This is because you can utilize it to meet basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing.
Under Operant Conditioning, Punishment refers to an event or condition that reduces the likelihood of the occurrence of a specific response or behavior. Provided the punishment is given on a consistent basis following such a specific response or behavior.
For instance, if you are unable to submit an assignment on time to your class teacher, your teacher scolds you or maybe refuses to accept your assignment. By giving such a punishment, your teacher expects that you would submit your assignments on time in the near future.
So just like Reinforcement, Punishment can also be Positive or Negative.
In Operant Conditioning, Positive Punishment refers to a situation where the occurrence of a specific behavior reduces. This is because an unpleasant event, condition, or thing is presented in consequence of exhibiting such a specific behavior.
Say, your child misbehaves. As a result, you scold him so that he doesn’t behave in such a way in the near future. This is what is called positive punishment.
In Operant Conditioning, Negative Punishment refers to a situation where the probability of specific behavior to occur reduces. This is because a pleasant event, condition, or a thing is withdrawn or removed in consequence of exhibiting such a specific behavior.
Say, your child misbehaves. As a result, you stop talking to him in your normal cheerful way so that he doesn’t misbehave in the near future. This is what is referred to as Negative Punishment.
Skinner Box Study
The principles of operant conditioning are best illustrated by the famous Skinner Rat Experiment. B.F. Skinner conducted an experiment involving a mini-laboratory for acquiring the operant behavior of white rats. This box was referred to as the Skinner Box.
The Skinner Box or Operant Conditioning Chamber is a simple box used to condition the operant learning in animals. This box usually consisted of:
- A lever, which when pushed, opened the swinging door of the food bin at one end of the Skinner Box. As a result, this released a mechanism to deliver a small pellet of food to the hungry white rat.
- A Cumulative Recorder generating a graphical record of the subject’s responses. These records acted as primary data that Skinner as well as his colleagues used. This data was used to determine the impact of various reinforcement schedules on response rates.
It was thus observed that rats quickly learned to press the bar or the lever when food resulted from doing such an act. Thus, the learning process was quite instantaneous in rats. The learning in rats happened faster relative to the gradual and irregular progress observed in the behavior of Thorndike’s cats.
Thus, via this operant conditioning experiment, Skinner signified that learning is determined by the consequences of the behavior. And not by the antecedents (stimulus events).
Insight Learning Theory
Insight Learning is defined as learning that happens very rapidly. This is one of the types of learning that takes place the moment when you arrive at a solution for the problem.
As per APA, insight learning is a type of cognitive learning. It is one of the basic forms of learning. Thus, Insight Learning involves the mental restructuring of elements in a problem. This is to achieve a sudden understanding of the problem and arriving at a solution.
In other words, you rapidly perceive the relationships among elements in a perceptual field. And this rapid perception or understanding allows you to come up with a solution to the problem. That is, Insight Learning involves a rapid restructuring or reorganization of the perceptual world.
Now, the insightful theory of learning is given by German Psychologist Wolgang Kohler. He was one of the founders of Gestalt Psychology.
During the first half of the twentieth century, Gestalt Psychologists came up with the concept of Insight. These psychologists included Duncker, Koffka, Kohler, and Wertheimer.
As per Gestalt psychologists, insight involved applying a special type of knowledge. Such knowledge was different from the one used in trial-and-error problem-solving strategies.
Kohler Theory of Learning
Wolfgang Kohler conducted research on Anthropoids (Chimpanzees). Through this research, Kohler wanted to answer the question that Gestalt Psychologists were trying to investigate. And that was whether animals do not behave with intelligence and insight under conditions that require such behavior.
So, Kohler designed a series of experiments. And all these experiments had one thing in common. It was that the animal had to overcome an obstacle to achieve a goal or attain an object. The object was typically a piece of fruit that was in the subject’s vicinity or view. However, the fruit was beyond the reach of the subject.
Thus, Kohler started with his experiments. First, he determined the level of difficulty of such experiments. This was important as Kohler wanted testing chimpanzees to give useful results.
So, Kohler designed a problem wherein a fruit basket was tied to one end of the rope. This end of the rope was tied to a ring that was about two feet above the ground. Whereas, the other end of the rope was tied to a tree branch.
Therefore, Kohler chose one of the Chimpanzees named ‘Sultan’ to perform the task. So, Sultan was able to solve the problem. He pulled the rope in such a way that the fruit basket hit the ring. As a result, the fruit fell to the ground.
However, Sultan never got close to the best solution to the problem. And that was to remove the knot from the branch and allow the fruit basket to fall to the ground.
Thus, Kohler concluded that the conditions of this experiment were quite challenging for the Chimpanzee. Hence, it was difficult to determine the causes that led Chimpanzee to behave in such way. So, he decided to study simpler situations.
Insight Learning Chimpanzee Problem Solving
In these relatively simpler situations, the chimpanzee had to complete the following variations in tasks in order to solve the problem.
- The chimpanzee had to use some sort of tools like boxes, ladders, or sticks to reach its objective. That is, to grab the fruit suspended from the ceiling. Or the fruit that lay on the other side of the fence where the Chimpanzee could not go. Thus, these tools would help the Chimpanzee to bridge the gap between itself and the piece of fruit.
- A Simian had to achieve an intermediate goal in order to reach its objective. For instance, it had to use a short stick in order to reach a longer one. And then had to use the long stick to reach the fruit.
- The other set of tasks required the Chimpanzee to master complex shapes. For instance, the fruit was placed inside one of the boxes having a hole in it. The shape of the hole was of a right angle. Thus, the animal had to use a board of the right size to open the box.
It is important to note that the above list of variations that Kohler used in different tasks is not an exhaustive one.
Gestalt Theory of Learning by Insight
Kohler observed two types of solutions that the animal came up with within each situation. So, he considered one set of solutions as ‘genuine’ or ‘intelligent’ and the other as ‘random’ or ‘mechanical’.
Accordingly, the following are the observations that Kohler made while coming up with the theory of learning by insight.
- There exists a difference of form between Genuine Achievement and Random Achievement. A Genuine Achievement consists of a single continuous movement right to the objective. That is the piece of fruit. However, a Random Achievement consists of a series of movements. These movements start, finish, and then start again. Further, each of these movements is independent of one another in direction and speed.
Learning Styles in Psychology
Learning Style refers to a group of characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors that define your way of learning. That is the specific manner in which your mind receives and processes information.
In other words, Learning Style distinguishes the various ways in which you learn how to approach information. Thus, recognizing and understanding your Learning Style is very important.
This is because it would help you to:
- Use various learning techniques in a better way
- Increase the speed and quality of learning
- Be more productive and creative
- Enhance problem-solving
- Increase achievement
- Make better decisions
- Learn more effectively
Remember, no individual uses a single learning style. Each individual uses a variety of modalities in Learning.
So, it is important for you as an individual to expand your abilities to use as many learning styles as possible. This is because it will help you to succeed in all the situations of learning.
Therefore, the following are the Learning Styles in Psychology.
Herrmann Brain Dominance Model
The Herrmann Brain Dominance Model is also referred to as the Whole Brain Model. This model is based on the left brain and right brain theory. That is, the Whole Brain Model differentiates human thinking by the right and the left brain hemispheres. Furthermore, it also separates human thinking by cerebral and limbic sections of your brain.
This model divides the brain into four main quadrants. These include the upper right Quadrant A, the lower right Quadrant B, the lower-left Quadrant C, and the upper left Quadrant D.
As per this model, the upper quadrants of your brain relate to cognitive and intellectual operations. Whereas, the lower quadrants of your brain relate to instincts and emotional operations.
Accordingly, you make predominant use of either one or a few of these Quadrants A, B, C, and D or the whole brain while learning. that the brain part that is dominant causes the differences in learning styles. Further, each of these quadrants performs different thinking activities.
For instance, people who make predominant use of the Left Cerebral (Quadrant A) are the ones who like problem-solving. Such people are analytical, have a knack for details and facts, do critical thinking, and like reading textbooks.
Likewise, people who prefer their Left Limbic (Quadrant B) sides of the brain are the ones who are conservative, administrative, and organizational in their approach.
Grasha and Riechmann Learning Style
Grasha and Riechman consider learning styles as social interactions. They define learning styles as different social roles that an individual may have while interacting.
Both Grasha and Riechman believed that learning styles can be identified through social and emotional factors. This Learning Style does not consider assessing the overall personality of an individual or his cognitive characteristics. It is because it assumes that an individual’s personality remains constant. Whereas, the learning style may differ from person to person.
Therefore, the Grasha and Riechmann Learning Style lays emphasis on the importance of an individual’s attitude or response to real-life situations.
Thus, this theory classifies learning styles into six types. These include:
Schmeck, Ribich, and Ramanaiah Learning Styles
The researchers Schmeck, Ribich, and Ramanaiah came up with the Inventory of Learning Processes (ILP) in the year 1977. They came up with this inventory in order to observe the cognitive activities that students use while learning or studying. read more cognitive psychology
That is, this inventory was used to examine the behavioral and conceptual processes that students use when they try learning something new.
Initially, the inventory consisted of 62 true or false statements. However, in 1991, Schmeck and Geisler Bernstein further added 118 additional statements to the inventory.
Besides this, even the response options were converted into a 6-point Likert Scale. Now, this Learning Style collected students’ responses based on four dimensions. These included:
- Academic Self-Concept – the way a student approaches learning from an emotional point of view.
- Reflective Processing – the way a student expresses and asserts himself through learning.
- Agentic Processing – the manner in which a student focuses personally on the given learning task.
- Methodical Study – the type of methods a student makes use of to process information.
Further, each of the dimensions was based on certain subscales. For instance, the dimension of the Academic Self-Concept is based upon four subscales. These subscales are used to determine a student’s:
- Intrinsic motivation for learning,
- Self-Efficacy in the learning process,
- Ability to learn through non-reiterative processing
So the responses of students to each of these subscales were considered to determine whether their self-concept as a learner is healthy.
Dunn and Dunn Learning Style
Rita and Kenneth Dunn proposed one of the oldest and most widely used approaches to Learning Styles. They observed the differences in the manner in which each student responded to the instructional material given to them.
So basically, both Rita and Kenneth considered certain developmental characteristics of students while determining Learning Styles. These were the biological and the individual developmental characteristics of the individuals.
They found that some students learn through listening, some through experience, and some others through watching. What is important is that the instructor must come up with various ways in which a student learns the process.
For instance, some students prefer to learn alone. While others prefer to learn in groups. In addition to this, there are some students who prefer learning through mentors, instructors, or teachers.
So, the Dunn and Dunn Learning Style is based on the theory that every person has his own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning. As a result, this model is based on five different stimuli. These include:
- Environmental – elements like sound, light, temperature, and design.
- Emotional – variables like motivation, persistence, responsibility, and structure.
- Sociological – variables like self, pair, peers, team, adult, and varied.
- Physiological – factors like perception, intake, time, and mobility
- Psychological – components like global-analytic processors, hemispheric, and impulsive-reflective.
NASSP Model of Learning Styles
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) came up with a task force. This task force was formed in the 1980s to study various learning styles. The Learning Style Model defines Learning Styles into three broad categories. These include Cognitive, Affective, and Physiological.
Besides this, there are 31 other variables including perceptual strengths and preferences. These variables are taken from the VAK model of Barbe and colleagues.
In addition to these, there are various other variables including types of motivation, time of day preferences, need for structure, etc.
Accordingly, Learning Style is a composition of cognitive, affective, and physiological factors. These factors showcase how individual approaches learning.
Thus, this model defines learning style as a combination of internal and external operations based on neurobiology, personality, and human development. As a result, the combination of these factors gets reflected in the learner’s behavior.
This means we can recognize the learning style of an individual through observing his behavior. Accordingly, learning happens only when there is a stable change in the learner’s behavior.
Honey and Mumford Learning Style
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford recognized four different learning styles. These included Activist, Theorist, Pragmatist, and Reflector.
As per this model, people naturally prefer these Learning Styles. Further, each learner needs to do the following in order to maximize his own personal learning. These include:
- Understanding or recognizing their own learning style
- Seeking opportunities to learn using such a learning style
Thus, the following are the characteristics of various Learning Styles under Honey and Mumford’s Learning Style Theory.
As the name suggests, reflectors reflect upon experiences from various perspectives. They prefer collecting data and ponder over it thoroughly to come to a conclusion. Thus, characteristics of reflectors include:
- Thorough and thoughtful
- Good listener
- Slow decision-makers
- Do not jump to conclusions
- Participate less
Theorists are perfectionists. They undertake analysis and synthesis before coming to conclusions. Furthermore, they need basic assumptions, models, theories, and principles to learn in a better manner.
Thus, the following are the characteristics of Theorists:
- Low tolerance of uncertainty or ambiguity
- Not tolerant of subjective or intuitive ideas
- Parental in approach
Activists are open-minded individuals. They immerse themselves in new experiences without any bias. That’s why they are so keen and enthusiastic about new experiences.
They believe in the ideology that “I’ll try anything once.” This means that Activists act first and then think. As a result, Activists are busy throughout the day.
So, the following are the characteristics of Activists:
- Positive about changes
- Takes unnecessary risks
- Rushes into action without preparation
Pragmatists are individuals who are keen on trying new ideas, theories, and techniques. They explore new ideas to see whether these work in practice. In other words, Pragmatists are the first ones to experiment with applications.
They like to try on new ideas and act quickly and confidently on such ideas. Further, pragmatists are practical and down-to-earth people. They like making practical decisions and solving problems.
The following are the characteristics of Pragmatists:
- Practical and down-to-earth
- Gets to the point
- Likes experimenting with things practically
- Does not like the theory
- Rejects ideas without a clear application
- Task and technique-oriented
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
The term intelligence refers to your ability to solve problems or develop products valued in one or more cultural settings. Howard Gardner developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
As per this theory, Gardner propounds that you as an individual possess eight or more relatively autonomous bits of intelligence. Furthermore, as an individual, you rely on these bits of intelligence both individually and collectively.
Also, you make use of these bits of intelligence to create products and solve problems pertaining to the societies in which you live. As per Gardner, the following are the eight bits of intelligence:
- Linguistic Intelligence
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
- Spatial Intelligence
- Musical Intelligence
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
- Naturalistic Intelligence
- Interpersonal Intelligence
- Intrapersonal Intelligence
Kolb Learning Styles
As per Kolb, learning means when you acquire abstract concepts that you can apply flexibly in different situations. Furthermore, in his theory, Kolb states that new experiences motivate you as an individual to develop new concepts.
Thus, learning is a process by which knowledge is created through the transformation of experiences. Accordingly, Kolb classified individuals into one of the four learning styles. These learning styles are based on mathematical computation.
Further, this mathematical computation is derived from an individual’s score on a self-report instrument. This instrument measures an individual’s preferences for perception and processing. Therefore, Kolb describes this style of learning in terms of individual behaviors.
Now, Perception and Processing form two approaches via which you as an individual learn. The Processing Approach is the one in which you learn by doing or watching. Whereas, the Perception Approach is the one in which you learn by thinking or feeling.
Therefore, the combination of Perceiving and Processing approaches determines one of the four learning styles of how you learn. Kolb believes that unlike personality traits, learning styles are not fixed. However, they are relatively stable patterns of behavior and are based on your experiences and background.
Gregorc Learning Style
Gregorc introduced his Energetic Model of Styles. This model is an introduction to Gregorc’s work in learning styles which began in 1969. Eventually, this work emerged into the Mind Styles Model in 1984.
Accordingly, this model uses perceptual and thinking or processing modes to determine the four preferred learning styles. Thus, this model is a modified version of Kolb’s Learning dimensions. Furthermore, Gregorc’s Learning Style focuses on the random and sequential processing of information.
Also, the Mind Styles Learning Types are based on the concept that you as an individual learn through:
- Taking in concrete experiences or abstract constructs and then
- Ordering them in a linear, sequential way or in a random, leaping way
Concrete Learners take in information through direct experience. That is, by doing, acting, feeling, and sensing. So, you deal with the obvious and prefer details of a thing if you are a concrete learner. Furthermore, you think inductively and do not look for hidden meanings.
On the other hand, Abstract Learners take in information through analysis, observation, and thinking about what is abstract in nature. That is, you understand or believe what you cannot actually see if you are an abstract learner.
Therefore, this quality allows you to visualize, conceive ideas, understand or believe things that you actually cannot see. Furthermore, you make use of logic, intuition, and look in-depth to the more subtle implications. Also, you prefer theories and think inductively if you are an abstract learner.
Ordering refers to the manner in which your mind grasps and arranges information. That is, whether linearly in a step-by-step way, sequentially or non-linear leaping or randomly.
McCarthy Learning Styles
As per McCarthy, some individuals understand reality primarily by sensing, feeling, or intuition. Whereas, others depend on thinking through a situation or a rationale.
Remember, that each of the ways of learning is independent of one another. Furthermore, no one way is superior to the other.
However, one of the ways of learning should complement the other if you want the ways of learning to work in tandem.
Now, as per McCarthy Learning Style, the other component of learning is the processing of information. Processing involves the functionalities of watching and doing. That is, some individuals learn first by watching. Whereas others are doers who dive right in.
However, both are equal and complementary. This means doers need to reflect upon their actions. Whereas, the watchers need to act upon their reflections.
Thus, the very foundation of McCarthy Learning Styles is built on the manner in which you as an individual perceive and process reality.
Felder-Silverman Learning Style
Felder developed a theory comparable to the diagnostic instrument Index of Learning Styles (ILS). He developed this theory in cooperation with B. Solomon in 1991. This was the first version of this learning style. Furthermore, this first version consisted of five dimensions. These include: active/reflexive, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, sequential/global, and inductive/deductive.
However, the Felder-Silverman Learning Style was developed by Felder and L. Silverman – an educational psychologist at the University of Denver. This learning Style is represented by four dimensions.
Origin of Fedler’s Learning Style
Kolb’s Learning Style
The first two dimensions of Felder’s theory are directly influenced by Kolb’s Theory. That is, the dimension active/reflexive in Kolb’s Theory is analogous to the dimension active/reflexive in Felder’s Theory.
Furthermore, the dimension of sensing/thinking in Kolb’s Theory is represented by the dimension of sensing/intuition in Felder’s Theory.
Accordingly, Fedler propounds that these four dimensions consist of two poles. Each of the poles represents bipolar modalities of the learning process. Further, every learner inclines towards one single pole.
However, we cannot conclude that only a particular category is typical for a learner. This is because a person’s learning style is developed by a combination of certain dimension preferences in the learning process.
Myer and Briggs Model
Besides this, Felder’s active/reflexive dimension was also influenced by Myer and Brigg Model’s Extraversion/Introversion dimension. According to the model, an extrovert is a person who is active in various fields, sociable, and has a lot of friends. Furthermore, such a person prefers a great number of activities and working in a group.
However, an introvert is the one who uses thinking in the process of learning. Such a person reflects on his ideas or images and prefers working alone.
Then, the MBTI Model also influences the second dimension of Felder’s Model, that is, sensing/intuitive. Thus, learners who prefer sensing acquire information using their five senses. That is sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. This means such individuals are keen on what is actual, real, current, and common. Furthermore, they also tend to remember the significant details.
On the other hand, the intuitive person prefers learning when they can think about a problem overusing concrete experiences. Such a person thinks about the future rather than reflecting on the past. This means an intuitive person prefers abstract information.
Stacy Mantle – The Seven Learning Styles
You must define your learning style if you want to maximize learning advantages. That is, the awareness about your learning style would help you to cater the lesson to that particular learning style.
For instance, as a parent, you could incorporate several novels into your curriculum if your child is predominantly a linguistic learner. Likewise, you can use more charts, tables, and diagrams if your child is a logical learner.
Remember, that you can have more than one style of learning, specifically in the interpersonal and intrapersonal categories.
So, the following are the seven learning styles via which you can learn a subject and that best describes your learning style.
You love to learn via reading, writing, and telling stories if you are a linguistic learner. This means, as a linguistic learner, you tend to memorize places, dates, names, and trivia very easily. So, you learn best by saying, hearing, and seeing words.
You are mathematically inclined if you are a logical learner. This means you enjoy solving math problems, are a very logical, and straight-forward type of learner. Furthermore, you are always curious to know how things work, how they relate to one another, and why things are here. So, you learn best by categorizing, classifying, and working with abstract patterns or relationships.
Spatial Learners are visualizers. They spend most of the daydreaming, watching movies, and staying as far from reality as possible. That is, you tend to learn things by observing pictures or images if you are a spatial or a visual learner.
Besides this, you also tend to respond well to colors and mind maps. As result, you are quite artistic but have a challenge in expressing your ideas.
You are a musical learner if you are always humming a tune or need music to study by. Thus, as a musical learner, you are quite good at noticing details, pitches, and rhythms that do not come into notice of a normal listener.
Besides this, you are best at keeping tunes and are quite proficient at turning the abstract into concrete objects. Furthermore, as a musical learner, you learn best through rhythm, melody, and music.
You are always on the move if you are a bodily learner. Thus, as a Bodily Learner, you constantly walk around and have to touch everything. Furthermore, you use your body language to communicate your feelings to others.
Thus, as a bodily learner, you don’t love reading a book. Rather, you love playing sports or doing a craft than sit and read. Also, you can do more than one thing as a Bodily Learner.
Many times, bodily learners are misdiagnosed to be having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But, you need to allow such learners to use all of the extra energy to learn. Furthermore, you need to incorporate sense development and interaction with space during your lessons.
Thus, parents or teachers can keep the duration of each lesson down to a minimum and change subjects frequently. This would help bodily learners to learn in a better way.
You are usually called a “social butterfly” if you have interpersonal skills. Accordingly, you can easily adapt to any type of social situation and have a lot of friends. Furthermore, you can turn out to be an excellent leader as you are patient, understanding, and very empathetic. Also, these qualities make you everyone’s favorite.
Now, you tend to be a good leader also because you have the capability to mediate conflicts. As a result, you are usually referred to as the “Peacemaker”. Also, you bring home a number of friends as you love being with different types of people.
However, this trait can backfire at times. How? Well, you need to support and accept all such people. But remember, you perform things in the best way when you work in a group. This is because you compare, share, relate, and interview other people.
You work best when alone. Provided you are the one having strong intrapersonal skills. Besides this, you have a deep understanding of yourself and pursue things that are of your interest.
Thus, you are independent, original, and stand out of the crowd without even trying. Besides this, you are strong and silent. Therefore, people like you work best in self-paced instruction, individualized projects, and working alone.
Accordingly, a person with strong intrapersonal skills needs to be encouraged regularly for socialization skills. For instance, your mentor can create situations for you that kinda encourage you to socialize. However, your mentor needs to allow you to work all by yourself.
Fleming’s VARK Learning Style
Neil Fleming developed a model known as the VARK Learning Style in the year 1987. This model classifies learners based on their preferred mode of interaction with others. And such an interaction rests on input stimulus and output performance.
Furthermore, Fleming’s VARK Learning Style facilitates Multimodal-Learning Styles for those learners who have more than one preference. That is, a person may prefer multiple learning styles as well.
Remember that no one particular learning style is better than the others. And, a preference for a particular learning style does not mean that you cannot learn in other ways. It is simply what may work best for you to process, learn, and retain information.
So, the very idea of Fleming’s VARK Learning Style is that you must know your learning style and use respective strategies. This is because all of this would help you to become a better learner.
Thus, VARK Model divides Learning Styles into four main categories. These include:
You need to observe your mentor’s body language and facial expression in order to fully understand a concept. Provided you are a visual learner. Accordingly, you prefer sitting at the front when learning in a group.
Furthermore, you may learn best using visual displays like graphs, diagrams, videos, interactive whiteboards, or handouts. Besides this, you prefer making detailed notes in order to absorb the information.
Thus, your key learning strategies include highlighting important points or words, mental imagery, creating mind maps, etc.
You tend to learn best through verbal lessons, discussions, talking things through, and listening to others. Provided you have an aural or auditory learning style.
This means that you interpret the underlying meaning of the speech by listening to the voice tone, pitch, and speed.
As a result, you tend to learn better either via reading the text and notes loudly. Or through listening to recorded notes and information from texts.
Besides this, you prefer working in groups and learning via discussions, listening, and talking. Also, you tend to recite information that is important to remember.
You tend to learn better by putting the concept or the topic at hand into words. As a result, you focus on the text-based input and output. That is all forms of reading and writing. Besides this, you prefer using PowerPoint, lists, the internet, dictionaries, thesaurus, and words.
So you learn best by reading notes every day, rewriting ideas or principles into words, creating lists, turning charts and diagrams into words, etc.
Kinesthetic Learning Style
You learn best through a hands-on approach if you have Kinesthetic Learning Style. Thus, it is quite challenging for you to sit still for long periods. As a result, your need for movement and activity may distract you.
So, you tend to skim through the reading material first in order to learn about the theme or the main idea. Besides this, you move around as you read aloud or study.
Also, you record notes and tend to take frequent study breaks. Besides this, you may prefer listening to music while studying. Furthermore, you take notes, write key points, and draw charts.
Theories of Learning
Theories of Learning provide a theoretical framework to understand how we humans learn. That is, we want to know how we acquire new knowledge, develop skills, and modify attitudes and values. Furthermore, we also want to learn new behaviors.
Thus, Learning is a dynamic and lifelong process that is unique to each individual. For instance, a great way to organize your thought process is Theory-Based teaching. Furthermore, it also helps you understand what you want to deliver to your customers.
Therefore, as per the definition, learning refers to a relatively permanent change in your behavior, attitude, and skills. Accordingly, there are four categories into which your theories of learning fall. These include Behavioral, Cognitive, Social, and Constructivism.
Behaviorism Theory of Learning focuses on tangible or observable behaviors. For instance, learning to give an injection, bathing an infant, changing dietary regimen, etc are all examples of Behaviorism as a learning approach.
Furthermore, Behaviorism emphasizes the observable change in your behavior as a learner. This means Behaviorism is not concerned with your internal thought process.
As per the Behaviorists, the elements in the environment shape your behavior. Such elements would either come before the behavior in the form of stimuli or the consequences in the form of responses that follow it.
Furthermore, the stimuli can precipitate your behavior. And the events that follow can have positive or negative consequences on your behavior. Remember, that the time gap between the occurrence of the stimulus and response should not be much. This is because it is necessary to form an association between such events. Thus, the formation of an association between a stimulus and response is the principle of contiguity.
Thus, there are a number of individual theories that are a part of Behavioral Theories today. Furthermore, we apply such theories to understand how humans learn?
Therefore, some of these theories include the stimulus-response theories of Pavlov, Thorndike, and Guthrie, as well as Skinner’s operant conditioning.
Constructivism is a theory of learning base on observation and scientific study of human learning. This theory states that you construct your own understanding and knowledge of the world. And this you do by first experiencing things and then reflecting on those experiences.
Furthermore, you have to conceive new experiences with the aid of your previous ideas and experiences. And this may mean either changing your current beliefs or discarding the new information as irrelevant.
This means that in any case, you are the creator of your own knowledge. Further, to create such knowledge, you have to ask questions, explore, and assess what you know.
Accordingly, the Constructivism theory of learning states that you do not receive knowledge passively. Rather, you build knowledge actively. Furthermore, the function of Cognition is adaptive.
Thus, constructivists believe that you as a learner construct your own meaning. And this you do through active engagement and by constructing your own representation of things you know.
Constructivist Learning Theory
Giambattista was the one to propose the first explicit formulation of the Constructivist Theory of Knowledge. As per his theory, Giambattista stated that to know something, you must know its components and the manner in which they are put together.
However, in Modern Psychology, James Mark Baldwin and Jean Piaget were amongst the first ones to posit the motion of cognitive constructivism.
As per the constructivists, meanings are conceptual structures. Furthermore, such structures influence the construction and organization of your own experiential reality.
Now, Jean Piaget and John Dewey developed theories of childhood development and education. These theories in return led to the evolution of Constructivism.
According to Piaget, we humans learn through the construction of one logical structure after another. Furthermore, he asserted that the logic of children and their modes of thinking are initially different from those of adults.
However, Dewey emphasized that real experience must determine education. He stated that if you as an individual have doubts about how learning happens, then you must engage in sustained inquiry. That is, study, ponder, consider alternatives, and arrive at your belief based on evidence.
Vygotsky Social Constructivism
Vygotsky added new perspectives to Constructivist Learning Theory. He introduced the social aspect of learning into constructivism. In this, he emphasized the ‘Zone of Proximal Learning”.
The Zone of Proximal Learning means that students can solve problems beyond their actual developmental level. Provided the adults guide them or they learn in collaboration with more capable peers.
Accordingly, Vygotsky’s Social Constructivism Theory incorporated the following three principles:
- Making Meaning. This means that the community and its people play a significant role in shaping the way a student sees the world.
- Tools For Cognitive Development. The Type and Quality of tools like culture, language, etc, determine the pattern and the rate of development in a student.
- The Zone of Proximal Development. This means we can place the Problem Solving Skills of tasks into categories.
Bruner Theory of Constructivism
Bruner proposed that learning is an active social process. In such a process, students construct new ideas or concepts based on their current knowledge.
That is, the students select information, construct a hypothesis, and hence make decisions. And, the very aim of such learning is to integrate new experiences into existing mental constructs.
This means it is the cognitive structure that provides meaning and organization to experiences. Further, it allows the students to surpass the boundaries of the given information.
Thus, for Bruner, effective education is all about learner independence. This means we need to encourage students to discover new principles of their own accord.
Furthermore, Bruner asserted that we must organize the curriculum in a spiral manner. This would help the students to build upon what they have already learned.
Thus, the following are the principles of Bruner’s Theory:
- Instruction should be corresponding to a student’s experiences. This in turn will make the student willing and able to learn. (Readiness)
- Secondly, the Instruction must have a structure. This would help the student to understand such an instruction easily. (Spiral Organization)
- Finally, the instruction’s design should facilitate extrapolation. (Going beyond information)
Cognitivism is one of the important theories to study human learning today. The Cognitivism Theory of Learning focuses on the cognitive processes that you as a human make use of while learning.
In other words, this theory emphasizes the manner in which people perceive, interpret, remember, and think about environmental events.
Thus, Cognitivism incorporates internal mental processes unique to each individual. These include perception, insight, and meaning.
So, the assumptions of the Cognitive Theory Of Learning include:
- Learning is a mental activity and may not lead to overt Behavioral changes.
- Some human learning is unique and differs from the way animals learn.
- You have some control over learning and hence actively participate in learning.
- There exists a structure to your knowledge. Further, it connects to your beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.
- Finally, your observable behavior can give a fair understanding of your unobservable mental processes.
So, there are various perspectives and theories that incorporate cognitive views. Some of these theories are Gestalt Psychology and Information Processing Theory.
Social Interaction Theories and Humanistic Theories
Albert Bandura introduced the Social Cognitive view of learning. This theory of learning emanated from the Behavioral Theories of Learning. However, Bandura believed that these Behavioral Theories did not explain learning as a concept completely.
As per Bandura, inner forces do not drive you as an individual. Also, the external forces do not shape you automatically. Rather, your active participation and creativity shape your life. In other words, people are proactive rather than reactive. Furthermore, they have some control over how they live their lives.
Thus, the following are the general principles supporting the social cognitive theory of learning.
- You learn via modeling and observing others’ behavior.
- Also, you learn from others’ successes and failures.
- Learning may or may not result in an observable change in behavior.
- Cognition is important in learning such as awareness, attention, expectations, and retention.
- You can actively control your actions and environments.
Accordingly, there are four processes or phases in Bandura’s theory of observational learning. These include attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation.
The first phase ‘Attention’ occurs when you actively pay attention to the behavior of the model. Furthermore, you pay attention to models only if they are:
- Similar to you (the observer) in terms of age and gender
- Respected, competent, powerful, and attractive
Retention is the second phase of Badura’s Theory of Observational Learning. In this phase, you must have an opportunity to practice imitating the behavior of the model. This means you need to remember whatever you learn so that you can use it in the future. This way observational learning would be useful.
As per Bandura, you store learning either in words or in the form of mental images of modeled behaviors. Thus, you retrieve, rehearse, and use learning long after it is observed.
Reproduction is the third phase in Badura’s Observational Learning Theory. In this phase, you as an observer try to match the behavior of the model. Now, this would depend on your ability to actually perform what has been learned. However, some individuals may not be able to perform or retain the information. This is because of age-related immaturity, illness, or injury.
The fourth phase of Bandura’s Theory of Observational Learning is Motivation. In this phase, you as an observer find out satisfying reasons to imitate the behavior of the model. Now, as per this theory, Motivation has two aspects. These include:
- The expectation that acting like the model in certain scenarios would result in reinforcement similar to the one received by the model and
- Such an expectation would motivate you as the observer to use whatever you have learned.