Learning has evolved over the ages. There are various versions of the definition of learning but the definitions share common elements. Learning can be defined as the consistent observable change in behavior as a result of practicing or any other form of experience (Peggy A. Ertmer, Timothy J. Newby, 2013). The change in behavior is in the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes which help a person fit and function in the society. The learning theories are the frameworks upon which knowledge, skills, and attitudes are absorbed by the learner, processed in the mental faculties, and retained for future use.
A learning theory is defined by several elements. This, therefore, it implies that the learning theories differ in the way the learning takes place, the factors that influence learning, the function of memory in learning, how knowledge is transferred, and the categories of learning that explains the learning theory (Peggy A. Ertmer, Timothy J. Newby, 2013). The choice of a learning theory depends on the content and nature of learners in an instructor’s classroom.
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My learning theory is the one in which the learners are actively involved in the construction of knowledge for themselves. This can be achieved by the instructor when learners build new concepts by basing them on the current knowledge and previous experiences. In this theory, the learners acquire knowledge by through mental construction as they interact with the teacher created environment (Machado, 2009). Later, the learners put the current knowledge and experiences into relationships. One of the main characteristics of this theory is that it utilizes the experience of the learner to come up with challenging tasks that will engage the learners as they learn.
The two main factors that influence learning is the learner and the environment in which the learning takes place. The role of the instructor is to plan an active environment and check out for the stimuli and responses from the learners which can trigger learning (Anon., n.d.). Therefore, the role of the instructor is to facilitate and guide the learners through the learning process to ensure that whatever knowledge the learners are constructing for themselves agrees with the conventional knowledge. This is made possible through the use of open-ended questions which encourage the students to be creative and find more opportunities for practical activities for the learners.
According to this learning theory, the role of memory is to help the learner be in a position to elaborate and interpret given information. It highly discourages rote memorization. Learning is successful if it happens activity based through practice, acquisition of knowledge in a given concept context (Peggy A. Ertmer, Timothy J. Newby, 2013). Knowledge is transferred by involving learners in authentic tasks which are done in the right context. The focus of this theory is a shift from teaching to learning and a move from the transfer of facts from the instructor’s notebook to the learner’s notebook but through learners’ active participation. This theory of learning is suitable for acquisition of advanced knowledge when there was a need to clarify prior misconceptions.
- Anon., n.d. Learning Theories and Transfer of Learning. [Online]
- Peggy A. Ertmer, Timothy J. Newby, 2013. Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features From and Instructional Design Perspective. International Society for Performance Improvement, 2(26), pp. 43-71.
- Machado, M. J (2009) Early Childhood Experiences in Language Arts: Early Cengage Learning, 9th ed