Educational Psychology

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Identify and provide a brief description of the three learning theories.

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The three generally recognized theories or frameworks describing the learning process are behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

Behaviorism suggests that all the things people do, including thoughts, actions, and feelings, are all behaviors. Learning, according to behaviorism, involves changing behaviors by changing the stimuli that cause those behaviors. The classical conditioning of Ivan Pavlov and the operant conditioning of B. F. Skinner are examples of behaviorism as a method of learning.

Cognitivism argues that thought influences the way in which people act and feel, and "therefore cannot be a behavior in and of itself." Cognitivism examines the ways in which the brain assimilates and organizes information from experiences. Cognitive education is based on providing learners with opportunities to encounter and process new processes and ideas, integrating them into the body of knowledge.

Constructivism emphasizes the critical importance of active involvement of the learner in the process of learning, acquiring information in the process of engaging in activities that expand on previous knowledge. Piaget and Bruner advocate the constructionist theory, using experiential educational formats to allow learners to create knowledge for themselves.

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