Psychological Foundation of Education: Learning Theories (Part 1)

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Learning Theories (Part 1)

The main Learning theories are:

  • Behaviouristic Theory
  • Cognitive Theory
  • Constructivism

Behaviouristic Theory

  • According Behaviourism learning is an association between a stimulus and response.
  • The contribution of following psychologist had played a remarkable role in furthering the Behaviourism.
    • J . B . Watson
    • E . L. Thorndike
    • Pavlov
    • Skinner

Following are two important contribution of behaviourism:

  • Classical conditioning or respondent behaviour
  • Operant conditioning or operant behaviour

Classical Conditioning

  • It is also known as Pavlovian conditioning or stimulus – response conditioning
  • In this conditioning initially a neutral stimulus is paired with another stimulus that elicits a reflex response. After several Paired trials, the neutral stimulus alone starts eliciting the response that was initially associated with natural stimulus.
  • Classical conditioning responses are involuntary actions mediated by autonomic nervous systems of organism.

It can be represented as:

Before conditioning

UCS … UCR (natural response) UCS – unconditioned stimulus, UCR - unconditioned response

(meat powder) (salivation)

During conditioning

Neutral stimulus + UCS … UCR UCS – unconditioned stimulus, UCR – unconditioned

(Bell - sound) (meat powder) response

After conditioning

Neutral stimulus > CS … CR CS – conditioned stimulus , CR – conditioned response

(Bell – sound) (Bell)

Significance of Classical Conditioning

  • Classical conditioning is an example of simple form of learning that depends on the respondent behaviour of the organism.
  • Classical conditioning helps in learning of emotional reactions.
  • Classical conditioning helps in developing positive attitudes towards study among the students by the teacher.
  • Classical conditioning can be used to build positive association between teaching activities and learning.

Operant Conditioning

  • It is also known Instrumental conditioning.
  • Through operant conditioning it is possible to shape the behaviour into complex sequence and hierarchies of higher order conditioned responses can be created by reinforcing new stimuli with conditioned stimuli.
  • Thus, it is possible to create a sequence of learning (chaining) through operant conditioning.
  • In Operant conditioning the organism operates upon the environment in order to satisfy some of its needs.
  • It is voluntary action and is mediated by central nervous system.

Significance of Operant Conditioning

  • Our beliefs , customs , and many other learnt behaviours are examples of operant conditioning . They are shaped on the basis of accepted social norms created by a particular social system.
  • Principles of operant conditioning have been utilized in shaping desirable behaviours through programmed learning, personalized system of instruction and therapy for certain psychological disorders.
  • Operant conditioning helps in attitude formation and change among individuals.
  • Operant conditioning is used in business in which positive reinforcements in the form of praise acts as perks and employed by the business management in increasing their productivity and sale proceeds, etc.

MCQs

1) Which theory believe Learning as association between stimulus and response?

a] Constructivism

b] Behaviouristic theory

c] cognitive theory

d] Gestalt Field theory

Answer: (b) because according to Behaviourism learning is an association between a stimulus and response.

2) Pavlovian conditioning or stimulus – response conditioning is associated with which conditioning?

a] Operant conditioning

b] Simultaneous conditioning

c] Classical conditioning

d] Instrumental conditioning

Answer: (c) because classical conditioning is also known as Pavlovian conditioning.

3) Which conditioning helps in programmed learning?

a] simultaneous conditioning

b] classical conditioning

c] Pavlovian conditioning

d] Operant conditioning

Answer: (d) because principles of operant conditioning have been utilized in shaping desirable behaviours through programmed learning.

4) Operant conditioning is the term used for which conditioning?

a] Instrumental conditioning

b] classical conditioning

c] Pavlovian conditioning

d] respondent conditioning

Answer: (a) because operant conditioning is called as instrumental conditioning by Skinner as this conditioning occurs due to the consequence of an action produced by the animal.

Developed by: