11 December, 2008


E.M. Intl School & KAPTA District Teachers Conference - Digital Workshop Handout - By C. Radhakrishnan

Key Advocates:

“Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behaviour.” - Watson, 1913.

What is learned?
All behaviour is learnt and can be determined.
Environment shapes behaviour.
Four key principles according to James Hartley (1998):
• Activity is important
• Repetition, generalisation and discrimination are important notions
• Reinforcement is the cardinal motivator
• Learning is helped when objectives are clear
• Learning process takes place through the connection of stimuli and response (S - R)
• Importance of contiguity and reinforcement.

Goal of education:
• To produce behavioural change that will ensure survival of human species, societies and individuals. (Merriam & Cafarella, 1999: 252).

Main principles:
Behavioural objectives (which would demonstrate the students’ understanding).
• Competency-based education.
• Skill development and training.
• Importance of feedback.
• Active and experiential learning (learning by doing).
• ‘Deterministic’ problem solving.
• Student is not responsible for his/her learning; environment is.
• Computerised and programmed instruction.
• Teacher facilitates environment, stimuli and reinforcement.

Key advocates:

Humanism is a movement in psychology which emerged in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Humanism has its roots in counselling psychology and focuses its attention on how individuals acquire emotions, attitudes, values and interpersonal skills. Humanist perspectives tend to be grounded more in philosophy than in research. (Ormrod 1999)

What is learning?
Intrinsic motivation of learner influences what is learned
The learning which occurs is dependent on self actualizing tendency of the individual
“The motivation for learning and change springs from the self-actualizing tendency of life itself, the tendency for the organism to flow into all the differentiated channels of potential development, insofar as these are experienced as enhancing.” (Rogers 1967)

(Source: http://www.ais.msstate.edu/TALS/unit3/3moduleB.html)

Goal of education:
Aim of humanistic educational strategies is to lead out the potential of the student to assist them in their quest for self-actualisation. (Stapleton 2001)
The major characteristics of human nature according to Rogers (1951) adapted from Lefrancois (1997) p. 243
• Reality is phenomenological
• Behaviour is motivated by the need to self-actualise.
• Behaviour occurs within the context of personal realities.
• The self is constructed by the individual
• Our behaviours conform with our notions of self.

Main principles:

• Experiential learning
• Student centred approach
• Teachers as facilitators of student learning
• Focus on the process of learning rather than the
• Acquisition of facts.
• Problem solving
• Education system should fit the student (Stapleton, 2001)
• Holistic education


Key Advocates:

“Learning is something that takes place inside a person’s head – in the brain.” (Robert Gagne)

What is learning?
However, even while accepting such behaviourist concepts, cognitive theorist view learning as involving the acquisition or reorganisation of the cognitive structures through which humans process and store information.” (Good and Brophy 1990)

Goal of education:

• To bring about learning through thought process.

Main principles:

• Memory
• Perceptions
• Emotions
• Experience
• Language

Social Learning:
Key advocates:

“Bandura’s social learning theory is referred to as observational learning, which implies that new responses are learned through observing the behaviours of others. Rather than experiencing reinforcement for them, people can learn through vicarious reinforcement, which means that we internalize the consequences of other peoples’ actions, and thus adjust our behaviours as functions of those consequences.” (http://www.ubishops.ca/index.asp)

What is learning?
Learning is interaction with and observation of others in a social context / interaction between person and society/environment.
Theorists may view the learner as not being in control in this relationship (behaviourist) or as active (humanist).

Goals of education:
• The purpose of education is to model new roles and behaviour / to teach people how to act in a social context.

Main principles:
• Social roles
• Mentoring
• Group work and team work
• Collaborative learning
• Experiential learning
• Informal learning
• Lifelong learning
• Any theory of andragogy must take account of the relationship between the person and society
• Adult education is often seen as a vehicle for addressing social issues

Key Advocates:

‘Give a person a fish and you give him a meal; teach him how to fish and you feed him for life.’

What is learning?
Constructivist theory refers to the learner’s ability to construct knowledge through active engagement with their environment.
“…meaningful learning relies on active engagement in planning, problem-solving, communicating, and creating, rather than rote memorisation and repetition. Learning is a process by which people make sense of their environment and personal history. The acquisition of new knowledge is affected and shaped by prior knowledge, interaction with others, experience, and inherited predispositions. Our ability to learn is also influenced by logic, emotion, intuition, and motivation.” (Malone, 2003)

Goal of education:
• Focus is on the student – the approach is student centred. The student(s) interacts with environment with the aim of constructing new meanings, understanding, or experiences of the world.

Main principles:

• Co-operative problem solving
• Experiential Learning
• Peer tutoring
• Self-directed learning
• Group work
• Learning to learn
• Situated learning
• Social learning
• Learning is shared and negotiated
• Reflective practice
• Guided discovery

Print & Online References:
Corey, G. (2001). Theory and practices of counseling and psychotherapy (6th Ed.). California. Brooks/Cole.
Schultz, D. & Schultz, S.E. (1998). Theories of personality (6th Ed.). California. Brooks/Cole.
Rathus, S.A. (1995). Psychologie generale (3th Ed.). Laval, Quebec. Editions Etudes Vivantes.
Miller, H. (2001). Stanley Milgram, 1933-1984. Available at: www.fates.cns.muskingum.edu/~psych/psychweb/history/milgram.htm
Reyes, M. (2001). Class bio of Leon Festinger. Available at: www.utexas.edu/coc/journalism/SOURCES/j363/festinger/html
Zimbardo, P.G. (2002). Welcome to the homepage of professor Philip G. Zimbardo. Available at: www.zimbardo.com

Copyright: Horizons