Register Now


Lost Password

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email.


Register Now

Let's get you set up. It should only take a couple of minutes to create your account.

Facilitating Human Learning (LECTURE)

Understanding Learning and Knowledge Acquisition

Definition of learning- is the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values and wisdom. It is the goal of education, and the product of experience. It is therefore a relatively permanent change in behavior.

Other Definitions:

  1. A process inferred from relatively stable changes in behavior that result through practice of interaction with and adaptation to the environment (Goodwin and Klausmeier)
  2. The development of new associations as a result of experience ( Good and Grophy).
  3. The modification of an organism’s behavior as a result of maturation and environmental experience.

Theories of Learning

  1. Edward Thorndike’s Connectionis,/Associationism Theory:

Human activity is based on association between stimulus and response.

  1. Law of effect
  2. Law of exercise
  3. Law of readiness
  1. Classical conditioning (Ivan Pavlov):

It is based on ADHESIVE principle which means that a response is attached to a stimulus through the stimulus occurring just prior to he response so that the recurrence of the stimulus will evoke or cause the response. (ex. Dog’s salivation experiment)

  1. Operant Conditioning (BF Skinner)

Organism has to do something in order to get reward that is, it must operate on its environment.

  • Reinforcement: is any behavioral consequence that strengthens behavior. It increases the likelihood of the recurrent of a particular type of response.
  • Types of reinforcement:

-Positive Reinforcement: These reinforcers increase frequency.

-Negative Reinforcement: Strengthens behavior by their removal.

-Primary Reinforcement: food, water, sleep

-Secondary Reinforcement: money, grades, starts, tokens etc.

D. Social Learning Theory ( Albert Bandura) –plus emphasis on OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING.

E. Wolfgang Kohler’s Insight Theory- Gaining insight is a gradual processes of exploring analyzing and restructuring perceptions until a solution is arrived at.

F. Gestalt Theoru (Kohlerm Wertheimer and Koffka)- The primary focus of this theory is on PERCEPTION and how people assign meanings to visual stimuli,”The whole is more than the sum of all its parts”

G. Kurt Lewin’s Topological and Vector Theory (Field Theory)- the behavior of an individual at a given moment is the result of existing forces operating simultaneously in his life space. (Internal and External forces).

H. Jerome Bruner’s Theory- Also known as Instrumental Conceptualism. Learning involves 3 simultaneously processes: acquisition transformation and evaluation.

I. Information processing Theory- The theory describes the psychological events in terms of transformations of information form input to output. It stresses the value of perception, attention and memory in the learning process.

Type of Learning:

  1. Cognitive Learning- is concerned with the development of ideas and concepts.
  2. Affective Learning- Involves assimilation of values, emotional reactions and acquisition of attitudes
  3. Psychomotor  Learning- understanding the external world through the senses and muscles.

Cognitive and Meta-cognitive factors in Learning

Analogical Process and Transfer of Learning

The Theory of Transfer of Learning was introduced by Thorndike and Woodworth (1901). They explored how individuals would transfer learning in one context to another context that shared similar characteristics. Their theory implied that transfer of learning depends on the learning task and the transfer task being identical, also known as “identical elements. There is a close relationships between transfer of learning and problem solving a problem in a new situation.

NearOverlap between situations, original and transfer contexts as similar
FarLittle overlap between situations, original and transfer settings are dissimilar
PositiveWhat is learned in one context enhances learning in different setting
NegativeKnowledge if a previous topic essential to acquire new knowledge
VerticalKnowledge of previous topic is not essential to acquire new knowledge
HorizontalKnowledge of a previous topic is not essential but helpful to learn a new topic
LiteralIntact knowledge transfers to new task
FiguralUse some aspect of general knowledge to think or learn about a problem
Low  RoadTransfer of well-established skills in almost automatic fashion
High RoadTransfer involves abstraction  so conscious formulations of connections between contexts
High Road/ForwardAbstracting situations from learning context to a
ReachingPotential transfer context
High Road/BackwardAbstracting in the transfer context features of a
ReachingPrevious situation where new skills and knowledge were learned

Metacogntion- refers to thinking about cognition ( memory, perception, calculation, association, etc.) itself or to think/reason about one’s own thinking.

  • Metacognition involves two types of knowledge: 1) explicit, conscious, factual knowledge, and 2) implicit/unconsciousness knowledge.
  • The efforts of metacognition are aimed at developing learner autonomy, independence and self-regulated learners.

Motivational Factors in Learning

Reward and Reinforcement

A reward is that which follows an occurrence of a specific behavior with the intention of acknowledging the behavior in a positive way. A reward often has the intent of encouraging the behavior to happen again.

There are two kinds of rewards, extrinsic and intrinsic rewards are external to, or outside of, the individual; for example, praise or money. Intrinsic rewards are internal to or within, the individual; for example, satisfaction or accomplishment.

Some authors distinguish between two forms of intrinsic motivation: on based on enjoyment, the other on obligation. In this context, obligation refers to motivation bases on what an individual thinks ought to be done. For, instance, a feeling of responsibility for a mission may lead to helping others beyond what is easily observable, rewarded, or fun.

A reinforce is different from reward, in that reinforcement is intended to create a measured increase in the rate of a desirable behavior following the addition of something to the environment.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is evident when people engage in an activity for its own sake, without  some obvious external incentive present. A hobby is a typical example.

Intrinsic motivation has been intensely studied by educational psychologists since the 1970s, and numerous studies have found it to be associated with high educational achievement and enjoyment by the students.

There us currently no”grand unified theory” to explain the origin or elements of intrinsic motivation. Most explanations combine elements of Bernard Weiner’s attribution theory, Bandura’s work on self-efficacy and other studies relating to locus of control and goal orientation. Thus it is thought that students are more like to experience intrinsic motivation if they:

Attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (eg. The amount of effort they put in, not fixed ability).

Believe they can be effective agents in reaching desired goals (eg. The results are not determined by dumb luck).

Are motivated towards deep mastery of a topic, instead of just rote-learning performance to get good grades.

In knowledge-sharing communities and organizations, people often cite altruistic reasons for their participation, including contributing to a common good,  a moral obligation to the group, mentoship or giving back”. This model if intrinsic motivation has emerged from three decades of research by hundreds of educationalists and still evolving.

In work environments, money is typically viewed as an important goal ( having food, clothes etc) may well be more powerful than the direct motivation provided by an enjoyable worklace.

Learning styles vs. learning strategies.

Issues regarding learning style are somewhat related, i.e students that willing and able to think in more abstract terms and/or to critically examine what they do may show better performance.

A learning style refers to the relationship between individuals and their ways of learning whereas learning strategies refer to attitudes and behavior that is oriented towards goals . As an example, one could compare/oppose.

Learning styleLearning strategy
Field-dependentField- independent
Cognitive levelPlus meta-cognitive level
Learner preferenceLearner competence

Socio-cultural Dimensions of Learning

Theories of Situated Learning

Situated learning has antecedents in the work of Gibson (theory of affordances) and Vygotsky ( social learning). In addition, the theory of Schoenfield on mathematical problem solving embodies some of the critical elements of situated learning framework. Situated learning is a general theory of knowledge acquisition. It has been applied in the context of technology-based learning activities for schools that focus in problem-solving skills.

Principles of Situated Learning:

  1. Knowledge needs to be presented in an authentic context, i.e, setting and applications that would normally involve that knowledge
  2. Learning requires social interaction and collaboration.

Individual Differences in Learning

Multiple Intelligences

The theory of multiple intelligence was developed in 1983 by Dr, Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential inchildren and adults.

Learning Preferences




Auditory Verbal

Characterizing Students with Special Learning Needs

An exceptional child is one that is different in some way form the” normal” ot”average” child. The term “exceptional child” includes those with special problems related to physical disabilities, sensory impairments, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities and metal retardation. Most exceptional children require a lot of understanding and patience as well as special education and related services if they are to reach their full potential development.

About Eric John

Leave a reply