There are different factors which affect learning and could make a huge impact on learner achievement. It is important that these factors are addressed to enable a learner to maximise their chances of succeeding in their studies. Good and bad experiences can affect learning and could determine the learner’s failure or success. The theories of learning can be generally classed as humanist, cognitive, behaviourist, neo-behaviourist, andragogy and gestalt. Behaviourist, gestalt and cognitive theories of learning lays its emphasis on how children learn, however andragogy seems to be centred around how adults learn. Each of these learning theories aims to explain the reasons for learning in different situations. It is essential, as teachers in the life-long learning sector, that we understand the complex nature of teaching which is supported by different theories of learning. Main Body
Ivan Pavlov: Classical conditioning represents an extremely simple form of learning and it is why it is a good starting point for the investigation of the learning process. The model for classical conditioning is the Pavlovian dog experiment. Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who undertook experiments on conditioned reflexes. While studying the reflexes associated with digestion, Pavlov noticed that the flow of saliva in the mouth of a dog was influenced not only by the presence of food in the dog’s mouth but also by the sight of food. The experiment took the form of Pavlov making the conditioned stimulus, sounding the buzzer, and then after a few seconds offering the dog food. Neo-behaviourism suggests that we learn by watching others (social learning theory). Social learning of this sort is particuarly powerful. John Watson was a behaviourist like Pavlov and described the frequency principle and regency principle, two principles upon which conditioning may be dependant. www.simplypsychology.org/classical-conditioning.html 02/05/12 The greater the amount of reinforcement, the more rapid the rate of learning. This relationship was illustrated by experiments undertaken by Clayton (1964) on groups of rats. Social learning theorists such as Bandura accept that reinforcement is an important part of learning but they also emphasise the importance of observing and modelling the behaviours, attitudes and emotional reactions of others. Bandura (1977) states: "learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Behaviourism - link to theory in the classroom: Problems and distractions are a common problem at some point in almost every classroom although the degree of seriousness varies depending on the students. One of the simple ways I discourage students speaking out of turn and causing behaviour problems is to repeatedly praise the students who are doing a good job. In class it is important to make a clear correlation for students early in the year that good behaviour is rewarded at school. Skinner (1904 -1990) acknowledges that reinforcement in any form was the key to this approach but the type of reinforcement used must be effective depending upon the learners in the class, being able to observe the ‘baseline’ behaviour for each individual it is important in establishing if reinforcement is accurate. Teachers must try to allow the students ample opportunities to be acknowledged with positive reinforcement before resorting to punishment. “There is a continuum of strategies from least to most disruptive: prevention of misbehaviour; non-verbal cues such as eye contact, which can stop a minor misbehaviour. An application of consequences when students refuse to comply” (Slavin 2009). By giving positive and negative rewards to motivate and promote better behaviour in the classroom. Another useful method is home-based reinforcement strategies in which teachers and...