Recapping Learning Theories

What did you find surprising or striking as you furthered your knowledge about how people learn?
Learning is far more than being able to perform (or not perform) a new trait when conditioned to a response. Pavlov’s behaviorist theory of having dogs salivate during a ringing of a bell is not the only theory that relates to how students learn. Students do not always watch a lecture and become instant experts on a topic; also, motivation needs to be maintained by properly engaging students. There might not be a scientific way to measure what and how much students learn other than observing a change in a response, but a student’s change in perception is still learning. There are many learning theories that apply to the learning processes of students and those theories explain learning in parts that, possibly one day, will be unified into a single theory that provides a holistic approach to learning. “There is no one theory that explains how adults learn, just as there is no one theory that explains all human learning. Existing theories provide frameworks or models” (Cercone, 2008, p. 142). “We must seek the viewpoints of others to create a unified whole” (Seimens, 2006, p. 94).
We need to take pieces from each school of thought and apply it effectively because…Cognitivism doesn’t explain 100% how humans process information and neither does Constructivism or Behaviorism. What we need to is take the best from each philosophy and use it wisely to create solid educational experiences for our learners. (Kapp, 2007)

How has this course deepened your understanding of your personal learning process?
At the start of the Learning Theories and Instruction course offered by Walden University, I found my learning style to be in a mix of behaviorism (skill-oriented), cognitivism (concept-oriented), and social-constructivism (concepts get built on through personal experiences). As a science teacher, I was mostly relying on students demonstrating their skill, which falls under the behaviorism learning style. Learning of vocabulary and concepts that did not reflect on assessable skills fell under cognitivism and constructivism. After learning about the multiple intelligence theory, adult learning theory, connectivism, and social learning theory, I find that many learning theories apply to my learning. There are also many factors that will keep students motivated in learning. I tend to complete assignments as a result of not wanting to appear as a failure in the sight of my peers on top of wanting to learn a material to make me a well-rounded individual.

What have you learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation?
In consideration of teaching students through an online course, I understand that there needs to multiple ways of assessing students and multiple ways of approaching learning with students. Traditional classrooms filled with only lectures do not guarantee learning for all students. Technology should be incorporated to ease the learning process and interactivity should be incorporated to help further the learning experience. Connectivism states that learning is distributed within a network that is socially and technologically enhanced (Siemens, 2006). The connectivism theory needs to be taken into consideration as to how resources are used in the instruction. Also, there are many intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence motivation. Overall, the motivation of students needs to be looked at to ensure that the students’ educational goal is met.

How will your learning in this course help you as you further your career in the field of instructional design?
Our field is one that changes often, especially with technology and its various applications towards education and learning. As an instructional designer, I find that learning about learning theories will keep me focused on keeping students motivated and what best tools to use to engage students in their learning process. I will also continue assessing my motivation to provide a well-rounded lesson.

Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design. AACE Journal, 16(2), 137–159. Retrieved from
Kapp, K. (2007). Out and About: Discussion on Educational Schools of Thought. Kapp Notes. Retrieved on May 16, 2010 from
Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from


2 thoughts on “Recapping Learning Theories

  1. Hi Sanjay,
    I must be going nuts because I swear I connected with your blog last week and now I see that I didn’t. Let’s hope I’m following you now (lol). I love your blog site by the way. I am looking forward to some entertaining and informative discussions and blog posts with you.


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