Learning Theories Behaviourism, cognitivism, social constructivism.
2 Relevance of Learning Theories Exploring these topics has relevance for: A) You your personal learning style and study B) Your work problem solving and design solutions
3 Learning Psychologists refer to learning as: a relatively permanent change in behaviour as a result of experience Learning - not just for the classroom Fundamental process in all animals the higher up the evolutionary scale, the more important is the ability to learn Animals adapt their behaviour to fit in with their environment and to changing circumstances Why? In order to survive!
4 Theories on how people learn: Behaviorism Cognitivism Social Constructivism Piagets Developmental Theory Neuroscience Brain-Based Learning Learning Styles Multiple Intelligences Right Brain/Left Brain Thinking Communities of Practice Control Theory Observational Learning http://www.funderstanding.com/content/about-learning
5 We are concerned with: Behaviourism actions based on stimuli Cognitivism learner processes & strategies Social Constructivism knowledge is constructed through social interaction
Behaviourism Carrot & stick
7 Behaviourism Overview Behaviourism a school of thought that assumes a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli. The learner starts off as a clean slate (i.e. tabula rasa) Much of our behaviour consists of learned responses to simple signals behaviour is the sum of many simple stimulus-response connections Basis of the theory Reinforcement shapes behaviour Positive - increases the probability the behavior will happen again Negative - decreases the likelihood the behavior will happen again Positive - indicates the application of a stimulus Negative - indicates the withholding of a stimulus http://www.learning-theories.com/behaviorism.html
8 Focus - scientific & objective Behaviourists try to explain the causes of behaviour by studying only those behaviours that can be observed and measured Prior to behaviourism unscientific techniques such as introspection, dealing with unmeasurable aspects of behaviour such as the role of the unconscious mind Behaviourists focus their efforts on two types of learning processes: 1. Classical conditioning 2. Operant conditioning
9 Behaviourists Psychologists who focus on stimulus-response connections Notable behaviourists: Ivan Pavlov (18491936) a Russian physiologist, psychologist, and physician John Broadus Watson (18781958) an American psychologist, established the psychological school of behaviorism, after doing research on animal behavior B. F. Skinner (19041990) an American psychologist, author, inventor, advocate for social reform, and poet
10 Classical Conditioning (Pavlov) Learning by association. Salivation in dogs as part of research programme dogs had started to salivate when they saw the people that usually fed them (also responded to the sound of the dishes being used for their meals) Pavlov set up an experiment to find out if the dogs could be trained to salivate at other stimuli, e.g. a bell or a light At feeding times, Pavlov would ring a bell and the amount of saliva produced by the dog was measured. After several 'trials' Pavlov rang the bell without presenting the food and found that the dogs salivated in the same way as if food was being presented. Note: conditional response is the same as unconditioned response difference = response was evoked by a different stimulus
11 Pavlovs Dog
12 Operant Conditioning (Skinner) Operant conditioning reinforces the response to a stimulus making the response more probable in the future. Positive reinforcement is when a particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of experiencing a positive condition. For example: A hungry rat presses a bar in its cage and receives food. The food is a positive condition for the hungry rat. The rat presses the bar again, and again receives food. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is strengthened by the consequence of receiving food. Negative reinforcement is when a particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of stopping or avoiding a negative condition. For example: A rat is placed in a cage and immediately receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the rat. The rat presses a bar and the shock stops. The rat receives another shock, presses the bar again, and again the shock stops. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is strengthened by the consequence of stopping the shock. Punishment a particular behavior is weakened by the consequence of experiencing a negative condition. A rat presses a bar in its cage and receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the rat. The rat presses the bar again and again receives a shock. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is weakened by the consequence of receiving a shock. Extinction a particular behavior is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing a positive condition or stopping a negative condition. For example: A rat presses a bar in its cage and nothing happens. Neither a positive or a negative condition exists for the rat. The rat presses the bar again and again nothing happens. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing anything positive or stopping anything negative.
14 Behaviorism & Learning Learning for behaviourism is defined as a permanent change in behavior in the learner. This theory is relatively simple to understand because it relies only on observable behavior and describes several universal laws of behavior. Behaviorism often is used by teachers, who reward or punish student behaviours. Not all students respond to this type of motivation...
15 Criticisms of Behaviorism Too simplistic: Even simple responses to stimuli require the processing of a vast amount of information Gaps in science Does not explain some learning for for which there is no reinforcement mechanism, e.g. recognition of new language patterns by young children Moral implications If behavior can be explained without the need to consider internal mental states or consciousness, what about responsibility?
17 Cognitivism The cognitivist paradigm essentially argues that the black box of the mind should be opened and understood. The learner is viewed as an information processor (like a computer). Originators and important contributors: Merrill -Component Display Theory (CDT), Reigeluth (Elaboration Theory), Gagne, Briggs, Wager, Bruner (moving toward cognitive constructivism), Schank (scripts), Scandura (structural learning) http://www.learning-theories.com/cognitivism.html
18 Cognitivism - Origins 1960s - cognitivist revolution replaced behaviorism in as the dominant paradigm. Mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problem- solving need to be explored (Snelbecker, 1983). Knowledge can be seen as schema or symbolic mental constructions. Learning is defined as change in a learners schemata. http://www.learning-theories.com/cognitivism.html A response to behaviorism, people are not programmed animals that merely respond to environmental stimuli; people are rational beings that require active participation in order to learn, and whose actions are a consequence of thinking. Changes in behavior are observed, but only as an indication of what is occurring in the learners head. Cognitivism uses the metaphor of the mind as computer: information comes in, is being processed, and leads to certain outcomes.
19 Focus - inner mental activities Ulric Neisser coined the term 'cognitive psychology' in his book, Cognitive Psychology, published in 1967 The term cognition refers to all processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used. It is concerned with these processes even when they operate in the absence of relevant stimulation, as in images and hallucinations... The main issues that interest cognitive psychologists are the inner mechanisms of human thought and the processes of knowing. Cognitive psychologists have attempted to throw light on the alleged mental structures that stand in a causal relationship to our physical actions. Cognitivism investigates the internal mental processes of thought, such as: Visual processing Memory Problem solving Language Opening the black box of the human mind is valuable and necessary for understanding how people learn.
20 How does learning occur? Learning is equated with discrete changes between states of knowledge, rather than with changes in the probability of response Cognitive theories stress the acquisition of knowledge and mental structures Focus on students conceptualization of learning processes Address the issues of how information is received, organized stored and is retrieved by the mind Concerned not so much with what learners do, but with what they know and how they come to acquire it Knowledge acquisition is described