Free Essay Example: The Application of Learning Theory

Published: 2023-12-04
Free Essay Example: The Application of Learning Theory
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Learning Education Knowledge Behavior
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1587 words
14 min read


Behaviorism is a learning theory that asserts all behaviors are acquired through the process of conditioning as one interacts with the environment. This implies that one’s behavior is just a response to stimuli in the environment. The concept of behaviorism focuses on stimulus-response for the behaviors that are observable since they can be analyzed in an observable and systematic manner. Cognitivism refers to the learning theory, where the focus is on the learning process and not the observed behavior. Unlike behaviorists, cognitivism does not need an outward exhibition in learning; instead, it concentrates on the internal process during learning. Constructivism, on the other hand, can be described as a learning approach that assets that people create or construct their knowledge and that it is the experiences that the learner gets which determine the reality.

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According to Arends (199), constructivism is based on the belief that the learner uses experience to construct meaning, influenced by the new events and previous knowledge the learner has come across. The central idea in constructivism is that all learning is constructed and that new knowledge is usually built on the foundation of learning already acquired. Humanism is a learning theory where the learner is usually the source of authority. It focuses on certain human beings' capabilities, such as personal growth, creativity, and choice (Masethe et al., 2017). Two main ways depict the application of humanism theory. One is that learners have the freedom to find their objectives and goals, and they should also have some options in what they get from school. The other way is that students are expected to set certain standards and also evaluate their work. The student is, therefore, responsible for determining the learning material and methods most suitable.

Example from Behaviorism

One of the examples of behaviorism is associative learning. Associative learning in behaviorism refers to the ability to perceive occurrences in the environment and their relationships. It plays a key role in adaptive behavior because it helps an organism anticipate an upcoming event based on a previous event's outcome. Another example is classical conditioning, where a conditioned stimulus is associated with a different stimulus that is unrelated and unconditioned. The behavioral response produced is referred to as conditioned response (CR), which is, in actual sense, the learned response from the neutral stimulus that occurred earlier. Operant conditioning is another learning method in behaviorism that is advanced through punishments and rewards (Lobo, 2019). Through this concept, an individual relates behavior with the likely consequences. Extinction also plays in behaviorism where the learned behavior stops such that the subject does not respond to a given stimulus. Finally, an interval schedule is based on time such that the desired behavior is developed after a specific number of times. The performance of the desired outcome is tracked so that after a certain number of times, reinforcement is done.

Example from Cognitivism

The schema theory of cognitivism is one example that deals with the way the brain structures and organizes knowledge. Schemas are usually dynamic in nature in that they change depending on the most recent information and experiences. They are quite influential as they determine the way a student interprets information. Schemas act as the store for both procedural and declarative information. Declarative knowledge refers to a situation where an individual has facts about something, whereas procedural knowledge explains the process of doing something. Declarative schemas are believed to contain values and slots (Masethe et al., 2017). For instance, the description of a house can be done in the form of its material, say wood, and the number of rooms.

Example from Constructivism

One of the examples that can be used to explain the constructivism theory of learning is cognitive constructivism. This is a wide phrase that covers physiological and epistemological theories concerning the nature of knowledge and how it develops in the mental process. Similar to the implication portrayed by the metaphor of construction, cognitive constructivism assumes that it is the mind that makes knowledge thus not acquired. Since knowledge is mostly created, learning is portrayed as a continuous process of discovery. The role of the teacher, in this case, is to provide the learners with the resources they need and to guide them as they try to assimilate new knowledge to the old knowledge and also to modify the old in order to accommodate the new one (Lobo,2019). This requires teachers to consider the knowledge that the learner already has before concluding on the way they ought to construct the curriculum, present the new material, structure, and sequence it.

Example from Humanism

Waldorf education is a humanistic pedagogy approach based on Rudolf Steiner, an Australian philosopher. Rudolf's educational philosophy aims to develop morally responsible, free, and integrated people who have a high degree of competence in social matters. Teachers usually use qualitative instead of quantitative assessment methods, especially during the early stages of adolescence (Masethe et al., 2017). The schools are usually equipped with a high degree of autonomy to decide the most effective way to construct their curricula. Waldorf education is notably the largest independent movement of non-sectarian schools in the world. His approach of integrating artistic work, practical, and academics educates children all around, ranging from the heart to the mind.

Strategies to Increase the Success of Learning

For learning to be successful, there is a need to ensure that all students are comfortable with a mind that is ready and willing to learn. It is important to note that students are different in many ways, and so some need extra support or a unique learning approach. Some of the strategies to help improve learning include; ensuring the class commences with a mindful minute, incorporating movement, and organizing sensory breaks. Other strategies include building foundational cognitive skills and creating a growth mindset among the students. Beginning the class with a mindful minute is whereby the instructor takes a few seconds to ensure students are attentive and their nervous system is calm hence making the brain ready to learn. This can be achieved by dimming the lights and using a calm, soothing voice to take the students through some procedures such as sitting upright, resting hands on legs, closing their eyes, and placing their feet flat on the floor. The students can then be guided through breathing exercises in a slow exhaling and inhaling pace. Incorporating movement strategy involves using bouncy bans, wiggle seat cushions, and yoga balls to help students move silently. Movements have been proven to be among the most effective strategies for strengthening learning, enhancing the learner's morale and motivation, and improving memory retrieval. Movements help to increase blood flow, stimulate neural networks, and enable students to think better. Taking sensory breaks helps students to improve their focus and relieve stress. These breaks can be scheduled as the need arises, or they can be fixed along with the lessons' regular schedule. During these breaks, various sensory tools should be used to make it effective. Some of these tools include kinetic sand, water beads, calming coloring books, white noise sound machine, among others. Sensory breaks are known to have a great impact on the ability of the students to persevere. Students learn to take quick breaks to refresh and return to the lesson or activity given instead of becoming frustrated and abandoning everything altogether.

To become successful learners, students need to be attentive as this is one of the foundational cognitive skills. Most students who cannot maintain attention and focus on one thing fail to process information efficiently. The inability to process information, in turn, impedes learning, reading, and listening. To help such students, there are online programs invented that prepare the brains of those students for learning and reading (Masethe et al., 2017). This is achieved by improving their cognitive skills such as processing speed, memory, and attention. The final technique employed is creating a growth mindset in the classroom. Psychologists believe that people who think qualities such as talent and intelligence are fixed have minimal chances of flourishing compared to those who have a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset are those who appreciate the idea that it is possible to develop abilities through hard work and dedication. By creating a growth mindset in the classroom, teachers make learners more independent and take more responsibility for their learning. The idea is to emphasize the need to apply effort rather than relying on intellectual ability. Teachers can achieve this by working with students to set goals for both the short term and the long term. They then make a follow-up on the progress using classroom data walls to make learning more tangible.


Different learning theories are used to enhance the outcome of a learner. Some of them include behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and humanism. These learning theories are similar in many ways, but they also have some differences. However, regardless of the theory used, the intended outcome is to see improvement among all the learners. It is upon the teachers to determine the most effective method depending on the kind of students the teacher is handling. This can be enhanced by ensuring the class commences with a mindful minute, incorporating movement, and organizing sensory breaks.


Lobo, L. (2019). Current alternatives on perceptual learning: introduction to the special issue on post-cognitivist approaches to perceptual learning. Adaptive Behavior, 27(6), 355-362.

Masethe, M. A., Masethe, H. D., & Odunaike, S. A. (2017). Scoping Review of Learning Theories in the 21st Century. In Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science, San Francisco, CA, EUA.

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