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Learning Theories by Charlie Howard. Learning Theories Cognitivism is a learning theory which attempts to answer how and why people learn by attributing.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning Theories by Charlie Howard. Learning Theories Cognitivism is a learning theory which attempts to answer how and why people learn by attributing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning Theories by Charlie Howard

2 Learning Theories Cognitivism is a learning theory which attempts to answer how and why people learn by attributing the process to cognitive activity. In other words, Cognitivism is an attempt to explain what is occurring in the mind during learning. The word cognitive in a scientific term means “the process of thought”. Learning is an ongoing process performed by humans throughout the entire world and basically since the beginning of time. It is a process which requires much time and dedication. Learning enhances knowledge, skills, and values. In psychology, a Learning Theory is the attempt to understand and describe how people think and learn. Though there is much to study in psychology, we will be focusing our attention to the learning theories of Cognitivism and Behaviorism. Behaviorism is a learning theory that focuses on observable behaviors which does not include thoughts from the mind. Behaviorism is a theory of learning and it is believed that all behaviors are acquired as a result of conditioning. Conditioning occurs after a person interacts with his environment.

3 Cognitivism Leon Festinger was a researcher of Cognitivism. Born on May 8th He was born in Manhattan, New York, United States. He was a Psychologist and a college teacher.. Leon Festinger’s work was on Cognitive Dissonance. This theory explains how people are capable of believing one thing even though evidence is contrary. Fertinger’s argument is that people seek to maintain consistency in their personal views, their ideology, their personal beliefs and their attitudes. When evidence is presented, the individual/s personal views are disturbed. When doing so, a state of cognitive dissonance sets in. As per Festinger ( ), “Cognitive dissonance is a motivational state which contains a set of triggers which brings consistency to a person’s thinking”. The individual normally ignores facts and/or reality. Cognitive dissonance can be used to instruct individuals to promote or correct point of views, ideology, personal beliefs and attitudes when introduced into an educational environment.

4 Leon Festinger was a professor at Stanford University from 1955 to He later moved on to teach Social Research in New York city. Cognitive cont. Throughout his professional career, Festinger continued to develop and refine his theory of cognitive dissonance, publishing Conflict, Decision and Dissonance in His other major work was The Human Legacy, published in Leon Festinger died in 1989.

5 Behaviorism John B. Watson was born on January 9, He died September 25, Mr. Watson was a contributor to classical behaviorism. He was a professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University (1908–1920). John B. Watson’s work popularized the term behaviorism with the publication of his 1913 article “Psychology As The Behaviorist Views It”. Watson argued that psychology had failed to become a natural science due to the focus on consciousness and other unseen phenomena. Watson focused on the scientific study of observable behavior. Watson believed that laboratory studies was the most effective way to study learning. In 1920, Watson published a famous study called, “Little Albert”. Watson attempted to condition a severe emotional response from a nine-month old baby, Albert. Watson determined that cute little white fury objects (stuffed animal) did not cause the baby to produce a negative effect (fear), but by combining a loud scary sound to the little cute white stuffed animal, Albert produced fear.

6 Behaviorism Cont. John B. Watson was a psychologist at John Hopkins University in Watson lectured at Columbia University about behaviorism. The title of the lecture was Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It. Watson believed that psychology should be the science of observable behavior. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior.

7 Behaviorism and Cognitivism Cognitivists focus on inner mental activities while Behaviorists observe human behavior. The cognitivism paradigm states that the “clouded” areas of the mind should be opened and understood. Congnitivists focus on mental processes like thinking, memory, knowing and problem solving. Leon Festinger’s work focused on how people where willing to set their personal ideas or feeling’s aside just to fit into a group. I believe this theory can be used to help individuals choose a proper path to success. Individuals learn as they interact with others. Exchange of words, tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures are all types of interactions. The mediation of verbal and nonverbal interactions may transform the concealed implicit into explicit ideas. This may promote an individual/s confidence, which could enable learners to assume leadership roles.

8 Behaviorism and Cognitivism Cont. Behaviorism techniques have been used for a very long time. John B. Watson’s intension/purpose was to find methods on how to better control individuals. Contracts, consequence, reinforcement, extinction and behavior modification are all types of tools used to control behavior. John B. Watson used cute little white objects (stuffed animals) with a loud scary sound to promote fear in a baby. The theory of observable behavior was implemented to observe the reaction of the child. The object did not affect the child, but the loud scary sound combined with the object demonstrated a change in the child’s reaction. The child demonstrated fear through visual and emotional gestures.

9 Evaluation In an educational environment, a Behaviorists method is teacher centered. The teacher assigns the instruction and the students must follow. In an educational environment, a Cognitivists method is student centered. Students conduct learning strategies which includes, but not limited to case studies, research, discussions and presentations. The instructor must find which method works for the students.

10 Evaluation Cont. The cognitive approach motivates students to figure things out for themselves when working on a given task. This method enables students to be in control of their learning. This method also helps the students to become independent and increase their learning abilities to the next level. No two people are alike and not everyone is capable of learning on their own. For this reason, a different approach must be taken. Less able learners and children could benefit from the learning methods of a Behaviorists approach in the classroom.

11 Conclusion In conclusion, learning is an ongoing process that will always be practiced by humans until the end of time. Learning can be acquiring knowledge, skills and/or understanding. Psychologists use the Learning Theory to attempt and understand how people think and behave. Leon Festinger was a cognitive researcher. His work focused on Cognitive Dissonance which explains how people are capable of believing one thing even though evidence is contrary. John B. Watson proved that discipline correction can be encouraged through fear.

12 Conclusion Cont. The cognitivists approach focuses on inner mental activities while behaviorists observe human behavior. The cognitivists approach enables students to go out and discover solutions on a given task which promotes independence. The behaviorists approach demonstrates that some learners are less able to motivate or push themselves to learn whether because of the inability to understand instruction or because of discipline issues.

13 References: Funderstanding. (1998 – 2008). Learning Theories. All Psych online. (1999 – 2003). Book Rags. (1999). About.com: Psychology. (2010). About.com- a part of The New York Times Company.


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