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Learning theories develop hypotheses that describe how learning takes place.
The major theories of learning are the following:
The behaviorist perspectives of learning originated in the early 1900s. The main idea of behaviorism is that learning consists of a change in behavior because of obtaining, strengthening and applying associations between input from the world, and observations of the individual.
Cognitive psychology started in the late 1950s and contributed to the move away from behaviorism.
Constructivism started in the 1970s and 1980s.
The theory of Albert Bandura suggests that people learn within a social context and that learning is the result of imitation and observation, which are processes involving attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation.
In the late 20th century, socio-constructivism highlighted the role of context, in particular social interaction.
The criticism against the information-processing constructivist approach to learning is that the mind is not isolated from the world around it. Knowledge is not sufficient if it does not interact and connect with the context it finds itself in. Learning then became known as "participation" and "social negotiation."
It puts experience at the center of the learning process.
Carl Rogers is an influential proponent of these theories, suggesting that people have a natural inclination to learn, that they learn when they are fully involved in the learning process. He stated:
Howard Gardner's theory challenges the understanding of intelligence as a single general ability. He argues that every person's level of intelligence actually consists of many distinct bits of intelligence, namely:
Situated learning theory recognizes that there is no learning which is not situated. Learning occurs most effectively within communities - e.g., cooperation, problem-solving, building trust, understanding, and relations.
Thomas Sergiovanni argues that academic and social outcomes will improve only when classrooms become learning communities, and teaching becomes learner-centered.
21st-century learning or skills result from the concern that learning should meet the new demands of the 21st century, which is knowledge and technologically driven. It encourages the development of core subject knowledge as well as new media literacies, critical and systems thinking, interpersonal, and self-directional skills.
One learning method that supports the learning of such skills and knowledge is group learning or thematic projects.
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