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Edward Tolman's study of learning and motivation

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How can Edward Tolman's study of learning and motivation be applied to schools and vocational training?

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Let's take a closer look at this interesting question, and some of the information I mustered up. I also included a short excerpt at the end of this response.

RESPONSE:

1. How can Edward Tolman's study of learning and motivation be applied to schools and vocational training?

In 1922, Tolman proclaimed his purposive behaviorism view to learning and developed his unique approach throughout his long lengthy career. By 1932, Tolman proposed five types of learning: (1) approach learning, (2) escape learning, (3) avoidance learning, (4) choice-point learning, and (5) latent learning. According to Tolman, all forms of learning depend upon means-end readiness, i.e., goal-oriented behavior, mediated by expectations, perceptions, representations, and other internal or environmental variables. (http://tip.psychology.org/tolman.html)

Tolman approach was indeed different from behaviorism as it emphasized the relationships between stimuli (stimulus-stimulus) as opposed to the behaviorism stimulus-response (Tolman, 1922). According to Tolman's theory, a new stimulus (i.e. sign) becomes associated with already meaningful stimuli (the significate) through a series of pairings, based on the principles discussed below. Unlike behaviorism, however, there was no need for reinforcement in order to establish learning. This associate Tolman's theory more closely to the connectionist framework of Thorndike (but still has some differences) than the drive reduction theory of Hull or other behaviorists. (http://tip.psychology.org/tolman.html)

Tolman intended his theory to apply to human learning, even though most of his research was done with rats and mazes. For example, "much of Tolman's research was done in the context of place learning. In the most famous experiments, one group of rats was placed at random starting locations in a maze but the food was always in the same location. Another group of rats had the food placed in different locations which always required exactly the same pattern of turns from their starting location. The group that had the food in the same location performed much better than the other group, supposedly demonstrating that they had learned the location rather than a specific sequence of turns" (http://tip.psychology.org/tolman.html).

Tolman's Learning Principles:

1. Learning is always purposive and goal-directed.
2. Learning often involves the use of environmental ...

Solution Summary

Assists in researching Edward Tolman's study of learning and motivation. References are provided.

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