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Online Instruction: Theories of Learning

What are some contemporary and emerging theories of learning that have evolved from traditional schools of learning (behaviorist, cognitivist, constructivist)? Also, what is a theory of learning that most closely aligns with the constructivist teaching philosophy and how would it influence the delivery of online instruction? How will this learning theory support the online student experience?

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(1) What are some contemporary and emerging theories of learning that have evolved from traditional schools of learning (behaviorist, cognitivist, and constructivist)?

Research describes the process of learning as a means by which skills, knowledge, and reactions are acquires. Others describe the process as being associated with memory, or mental associations (Sternberg, 2006). According to Omrod (1999), "Learning is a means through which we acquire not only skills and knowledge but values, attitudes, and emotional reactions...."In a more formal definition, learning is described as a "Relatively permanent change in behavior (both mental events and overt behaviors) that results from experience (Plotnik, 1988, p. 201). Thus, learning is a means through which we acquire not only skills and knowledge but values, attitudes, and other emotional reactions. Learning theories are designed to show how this learning takes place. Several learning theories have been presented in the literature including: (a) Cognitive theory of human development, (b) Behavior learning theory, or behaviorism, and (C) Social Constructivist theory.

(a) The Cognitive Theory of Human Development focuses on the thought processes involved in human learning. Cognition is concerned with a wide range of mental processes including thoughts, perceptions, performance, intellectual ability and (Sternberg, 2006). In the broadest sense, cognition is the study of how people perceive, learn, remember, think, and learn about information; and the manner in which they perceive and understand (p. 2). Cognitive theorists highlighted a distinction between learning and memory. Learning is viewed as the acquisition of new information. . As an example, Individuals may utilize intellectual capacities to learn a second language.

Contemporary cognitive theories have been transformed into education via approaches to teaching in subjects such as math and science, motivation, ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses online instruction in the context of learning theories from the perspectives of cognitive, behavioral and constructivist approaches.

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