Shared Flashcard Set


HSED 643 Learning Theories
Learning Theories

Additional Education Flashcards





Adult Learning Theory

K.P. Cross


CAL Model - Characteristics of Adult Learners

Personal Characteristics:

- Aging

- Life phases

- Developmental stages

Situational Characteristics:

- Part-time vs full-time learning

- Voluntary vs compulsory learning


- Adult learning programs should capitalize on the experience of the participants

- Adult learnering programs should adapt to the aging limitations of the participants

- Adults should be challenged to move to increasingly advanced stages of personal development

- Adults should have as much choice as possible in the availability and organization of learning programs



Malcolm Knowles


Adult learning

Adults are self-directed



- Adults need to know why they need to learn something

- Adults need to learn experientially

- Adults approach learning as problem solving

- Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value


- Focus more on process, less on content

- Instructors are resource, less of a lecturer

- Explain why things are being taught

- Task-oriented instead of memorization

- Take into account different backgrounds

- Self-directed, discover on their own


- Need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of instruction

- Experience and mistakes provides the basis for learning

-Most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance (job, personal)

- Problem-centered rather than content-oriented


Experiential Learning

Carl Rogers


Two types of learning

Cognitive (meaningless):

- Ex. vocab, multiplication

Experiential (significant) = change & growth:

- Ex. learn about engines to repair a car

- Addresses needs and wants of learner

- Personal involvement

- Self-initiated

- Evaluated by learner

- Pervasive effects on learner


Teacher facilitated learning

- Setting a positive climate for learning

- Clarify the purpose of learner

- Organizing & making available learning resources

- Balancing intellectual & emotional components of learning

- sharing feelings & thoughts with learners but not dominating

Learning is facilitated when

- The student participates completely in the learning process and has control over its nature and direction

- It is primarily based on direct confrontation with practical, social, personal or research problems

- Self-evaluation is the principle method of assessing progress or success


- Most learning takes place when the subject is relevant to personal interests

- Learning which is threatening to the self (new attitudes, perspectives) are more easily assimilated when external threats are at a minimum

- Learning proceeds faster when the threat to the self is low

- Self-initiated learning is the most lasting and pervasive


Information Processing Theory

G. Miller



- The capacity for short-term memory

- 5-9 chunks of info at a time

- Basics of memory


- Test-operate-test-exit

- A goal is tested to see if it has been achieved and if not, an operation is performed to achieve the goal

- Repeat until achieved


- Short-term memory is limited to seven chunks of information

- Planning (TOTE) is a fundamental cognitive process

- Behavior is hierarchilly organized


Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardener



- There are a number of distinct forms of intelligence that each individual possesses in varying degrees.

-Learning/teaching should focus on the particular intelligences of each person (spatial, musical, etc.)

-Assessment should measure all forms of intelligence, not just linguistic and logic

-Focus on child development

Computer programming ex

- musical - program musical piece

- spatial - flowchart, spatial diagram


- Individuals should be encouraged to learn using their preferred intelligences

- Instructional activities should appeal to different forms of intelligence

- Assessment of learning should measure multiple form of intelligence


Script Theory

R. Schank



- Structure of knowledge especially language understanding

- Story-level understanding

- All memory is episodic - organized around personal experience rather than semantic

- Generalized episodes are called scripts

- Allow inferences to be made based on scripts

- Scripts, plans, relevant previous experiences


- Intended to explain language processing & higher thinking


- Conceptualization is defined as an act or doing something to an object in a direction

- Conceptualizations can be analyzed in terms of a small number of primitive acts (Cook ATRANS food to waiter, waiter PTRANS food to S, S INGEST food)

- Memory is episodic and organized in terms of scripts

- Scripts allow individuals to make inferences and hence understand verbal/written discourse

- Higher level expectations are created by goals and plans


Situated Learning

J. Lave



- Learning as it normall occurs is a function of the situation in which it occurs.


- Activity

- Context

- Culture

- Most classroom learning is abstract & out of context

- Social interaction - "community of practice"

- Become expert -> more engaged in culture

- Situated learning is unintentional

- "legitimate peripheral participation"

- Apprenticeship - social & cognitive

- Gradual learning from experts in everyday activities


- Knowledge needs to be presented in authentic context; settings and applications that would normally involve that knowledge

- Learning requires social interaction & collaboration


Social Learning Theory

Albert Bandura



- Observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others

- Ex. Commercials sell items that will make us popular. Component processes (like attention or motivation) will encourage us to model the behavior

Component processes

- Attention, including modeled events (distinctiveness, affective valence, functional value) and observer characteristics (sensory capacities, arousal level, past reinforcement)

- Retention, including symbolic coding, cognitive organization, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal

- Motor reproduction, including physical capabilities, self-observation of reproducation, accuracy of feedback

- Motivation including external, vicarious and self-reinforcement


- Observational learning is achieved by first organizing & rehearsing the modeled behavior symbollically & then enacting overtly.  Coding modeled behavior into words, labels or images = better retention than observing

- More likely to adopt a modeled behaivior if it results in outcomes they value

- More likely to adopt a modeled behavior if the model is similar to the observer and has admired status & the behavior has functional value


Attribution Theory

B. Weiner



- How individuals interpret events - relates to behavior

- Assumes that people try to determine why people do what they do - attribute causes to the behavior

3 Stage Process of attribution:

- The person must percieve or observe behavior

- The person must believe the behavior was intentional

- They must determine if they believe the other person was forced to perform the behavior (cause attributed to situation) or not (cause attributed to person)

Achievement attributed to

- Ability, effort, task difficulty, luck


Locus of control (the extent to which individuals believe they can control events affecting them):

- Internal vs external


- Whether causes change over time


- Controllable causes (skill, efficacy)

- Cannot control (attitude, mood)

(Ex. ability can be classified as a stable, internal cause, and effort classified as unstable and internal.)

High achievers -> effort -> success -> failure -> bad luck -> + self esteem

Low achievers -> doubt -> luck -> success/chance -> - self esteem


- Attribution is a three stage process

1. behavior is observed

2. behavior is determined to be deliberate

3. behavior is attributed to internal or external causes

- Achievement can be attributed to

1. effort

2. ability

3. level of task difficulty

4. luck

- Causal dimensions of behavior are

1. locus of control

2. stability

3. controllability


Cognitive Dissonance

Leon Festinger



- There is a tendancy for individuals to seek consistency among their beliefs

- Inconsistency - attitude or behavior must change to resolve it

- Strength of dissonance (lack of harmony)

- # of dissonant beliefs

- Importance attached to each belief

- 3 ways to eliminate dissonance

1. Reduce importance of dissonant beliefs

2. Add more consonant beliefs that outweigh the dissonant

3. Change the dissonant beliefs to they are no longer inconsistent


Buy a good car, uncomfortable on long drives

Dissonance - bought good car, good car should be comfortable

Car mainly used for short trips (reducing importance)

Focus on cars strengths, safety, handling (adding consonants)


- Dissonance results when one must choose between contradictory attitudes and behaviors

- Can be eliminated by reducing importance of the conflicting beliefs, acquiring new beliefs, removing conflicting attitude or behavior


Constructivist Theory

Jerome Bruner



- Learners construct new ideas or concepts based on their current/past knowledge

- Should build upon what they already know

Instruction should address

- Predisposition towards learning

- The ways knowledge can be structured so that it can be most readily grasped by the learner

- Most effective presentation sequences

- Nature & pacing of rewards & punishments


- Instruction must be concerned with experiences & contexts that make the student willing & able to learn (readiness)

- Instruction must be structured to that it can easily be grasped by student (spiral organization)

- Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and/or fill in the gaps (going beyond the information given)


Transformational Theory

Jack Mezirow



Two basic kinds of learning:

- Instrumental learning - task oriented problem solving & determination of cause and effect

- Communicative learning - how individuals communicate their feelings, needs and desires

Meaning perspectives - broad sets of predispositions, psychocultural assumptions determine expectation

- sociolinguistic (language relating tosocial factors) code

- psychological (mental and emotional) code

- epistemic (of or relating to knowledge) code

Meaning scheme

- concept, belief, judgement, feeling which shapes interpretation


- is the belief still useful

Four ways of learning

1. refining or 2. elaborating schemes

3. transforming meaning schemes

4. transforming meaning perspectives


- Adults exhibit two kinds of learning: instrumental (cause/effect) and communicative (feelings)

- Learning involves change to meaning structures (perspectives & schemes)

- Change to meaning structures occurrs through reflection about consent, process, or premises

- Learning can involve: refining/elaborating meaning schemes, learning new ones, transforming them, transforming perspectives

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