February 27, 2013 Before writing this paper, I never thought about how I believe learning occurs. I am knowledgeable of the many theories, but have never taken it to the next step by analyzing and developing my own belief. The learning theories that I have learned about are behaviorism, constructivism, information processing and social cognitive theory.
Behaviorism is a theory that describes learning is due to an observable change in behavior. For behaviorism, learning is the acquisition of a new behavior through either of the two types of conditioning: classical, involuntary behaviors, and operational, voluntary behaviors. Constructivism is a model that characterized learning as a process of actively constructing knowledge. Individuals make sense of new information by selecting, organizing, and integrating information with other knowledge. Social cognitive theorists believe learning can occur by observing others. They believe learning may or may not include a change in behavior. For information processing, learning takes place when a change in knowledge is stored in long-term memory.
After doing research, I have found two memorable quotes that sum up my beliefs on how learning occurs in a few short sentences. Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn”. Involving a student in what is being learned, I believe, is much more effective then having to listen to the information. Aristotle had stated, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”. This quote could not be said more perfectly, we learn by doing. Both of these quotes have a common subject about learning: through action. In my opinion, learning occurs through social cognitive theory. Social cognitive theory occurs by observing others, it can include a behavioral change and personal characteristics are important. The main concept to social cognitive theory is observational learning. Observational learning includes important characteristics (model, imitator and environmental) that influence what information is learned. The study to support this theory was conducted by Albert Bandura in the 1960s. He tested boys and girls between ages