Behavioral & Social Cognitive Views of Learning

Powerful Essays
Topics: Reinforcement
Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education

Term / Year Course Code Course Title

: : :

2012 Autumn CECE 7103 Understanding How Children Learn Dr. Sam Cheung (Tel: 3411-4342; Email: Ms. Paulina Yuen (Tel: 3411-1952; Email:

Lecturer In-charge : Lecturer :

Lecture 2: Behavioral & Social Cognitive Views of Learning Lecture Highlights:      Definitions of Behavioral Learning Theory Classical Conditioning – Pavlov Operant Conditioning - Skinner Trial-and-error Learning / The Law of Effect - Thorndike Social Learning Theory - Bandura


Behavioral Learning Theories: Explanations of learning that focus on external events as the cause of changes in observable behaviors… the behavioral view generally assumes that the outcome of learning is the change in behavior.
(Woolfolk, 2010, p.198)

Behavioral learning theories focus on the ways in which pleasurable or unpleasant consequences of behavior change individuals’ behavior over time.
(Slavin, 2009, p.128)

Behaviorism is the view that behavior should be explained by observable experiences, not by mental processes. For the behaviorist, behavior is everything that we do, both verbal and nonverbal, that can be directly seen or heard.
(Santrock, 2009, p.231)

Behavioral views of learning are based upon the theories from theorists such as Pavlov, Thorndike and Skinner. The two best-known aspects of behavioral learning theory are

classical conditioning and operant conditioning.



II. Classical Conditioning a) Activity: Close your eyes and focus on these images:  The smell of French fries cooking  The sound of a dentist’s drill  The sight of a long sharp needle What have you noticed as you formed the above images?


What is Classical Conditioning?

Classical conditioning was discovered by Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), a Russian physiologist, in the 1920s. It is a learning process in which a

References: DeHart, G. B., Sroufe, L. A., & Cooper, R. G. (2004). Child development: Its nature and course (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. O’Donnell, A. M., Reeve, J., & Smith, J. K. (2007). Educational psychology: Reflection for action (2nd ed.). Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Santrock, J. W. (2009). Companies, Inc. Educational psychology (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Slavin, R. E. (2009). Educational psychology: Theory and practice (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational psychology (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. CECE7103/L2/2012Au 11

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