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Learning Theories

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Learning Theories

  1. 1. Farnoosh Karami
  2. 2. The school of adult learning theory that adopted these principles has become known as the school of behaviorism, which saw learning as a straightforward process of response to stimuli. The provision of a reward or reinforcement is believed to strengthen the response and therefore result in changes in behavior – the test, according to this school of thought, is as to whether learning had occurred. These forces comprise genetic factors as well as the environment either through association or reinforcement. This theory has latterly been criticized as overly simplistic. Nevertheless, its influence can be seen in educators’ insistence that feedback is critical to learning.
  3. 3. The theory emphasizes changes in behaviors due to the influence and control of the external environment, rather than the internal thought process of the subject. Simply put, people will learn desired behaviors due to stimuli from their external environment that recognize and reinforce the behavior in a positive manner. The hypothesis behind behavioralist learning theories is that all learning occurs when behavior is influenced and changed by external factors. Behavioralism disregards any notion that there may be an internal component to man’s learning.
  4. 4. Behavioral leading and learning is based on organizational and cultural conditioning. This can be observed in the tough- handed, "hatchet wielding" approach of Jack Welch and in the benevolent "lend-a-hand" approach of Herb Kelleher. Behavioral theories within leadership have had "modest success in identifying consistent relationships between patterns of leadership behavior and group performance.
  5. 5. Simplistic or fundamental? Some might view this theory as being a very elementary learning process. It suggests, by and large, that any learning is result oriented, and, therefore, learned by repetitive actions based on punishments or rewards. Behaviorist theory presents learning in short manageable blocks that build on previously learned behaviors. The goal of this learning method is to transform the learner’s behavior to a «desired» behavior.
  6. 6. The learner is rewarded often for exhibiting the desired behavior when they accomplish a learning block. This method is heavily used in the federal government to quickly train employees on the latest policies and procedures. In addition, this method is ideal for short lessons which can be accomplished over the internet from the employee's desktop computer. The environment of an individual reinforces behaviors either positively or negatively and all of learning takes place through environmental influences. Adult learning can be seen strictly through this focus, but a more centrist approach is neobehaviorism. Neobehaviorism suggests that not only does the environment reinforce behavior, but there is an interaction between the individual and the environment.
  7. 7. Constructivism is a synthesis of multiple theories diffused into one form. The «constructivist stance maintains that learning is a process of constructing meaning; it is how people make sense of their experience». This coincides especially well with current adult learning theory. This concept is easily translated into a self-directed learning style, where the individual has the ability to take in all the information and the environment of a problem and learn.
  8. 8. View points Although varying constructivist theories exist, there is agreement between the theories «that learning is a process of constructing meaning; it is how people make sense of their experience». They include the individual constructivist view and the social constructivist view. The social constructivist view, however, premises that learning is constructed through social interaction and discourse and is considered, according to Drivers and others, to be a process in which meaning is made dialogically.
  9. 9. Constructivist theory and independent learning When applying this theory to independent learning, it is essential to understand that we need to consider the cultural environment in which this learning takes place. Isolated learning is an oxymoron. Constructivists believe learner-centric instructional classroom methods will strengthen the commitment and involvement of self- motivated learners because of their high level of interaction. Today, there is a trend for incorporating technology into the classrooms to support instructional learning methods. The trainer should encourage the student to develop the skills to find out principles on their own. There should be on-going dialog between the student and the trainer.
  10. 10. Postmodernism by the nature of the movement itself, is not easy to define. To understand postmodernism in the context of adult learning, it may be beneficial to first understand that the postmodern movement is much larger than adult learning. Because of the contextual nature of knowledge, individuals can hold two completely incongruent views of one subject at the same time. Post-modernism relates to post-industrialism. The industrial era came about as a result of Newtonian thinking – an era wherein thought and processes were considered in mechanistic terms of efficiency and effectiveness and understood scientifically through the processes of reductionism.
  11. 11. Defining causality (What causes shifts) Ultimately, shifts occur through modes of communication. The largest shift in the past century is the development of a global community through the use of internet. Past shifts in society have also connected to modes of communication. This empowerment of information started a shift in society that affected the world. Cultural shifts (How it occurs) Cultural shifts happen in waves. Over time the concepts and idea's that are on the fringe of society will affect conversations, artistic pieces, and eventually become pervasive on a large enough scale to affect the whole of a society.
  12. 12. The current debate (The basic definitions of PoMo) In postmodernism everything is relative and is deconstructive. The division of the term postmodernism breaks down into two major parts, post and modernism. What postmodernism is not is modernism. It is an after effect of the modernistic era that capitalized on individuality, built on absolutes, and the scientific method as it's structure. All that may be understood at this stage is what the society on the fringes is saying we are not, which is modernism. Deconstruction is a powerful postmodern tool for questioning prevailing representations of learners and learning.
  13. 13. Postmodernism calls into question many of the assumptions once accepted by modernists. "From the postmodern point-of-view, modernism is defined by its belief in objective knowledge". One can see that even once firm historical events, verified through empirical verification, are no longer viewed as an objective truth, but became the object of one’s understanding of the historical perspective out of their interpretation and story.

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