Theories and Principles of Learning

Identify and discuss the significance of relevant theories and principles of learning and communication

There are different factors which affect learning and could make a huge impact on learner achievement. It is important that these factors are addressed to enable a learner maximise their chances of succeeding in their studies. Good and bad experiences can affect learning and could determine the outcomes of a learner. The theories of learning can be generally classed as humanist, cognitive, behaviourist, neo behaviourist, andragogy and gestalt. behaviourist, gestalt and cognitive theories of learning lays its emphasis on how children learn, however andragogy seem to be centred around how adults learn . Each of these theories of learning, aims to explain the reasons for learning in different learning situations.   As teachers in the life long learning sector it is essential that we understand the complex nature of teaching which is supported by different theories of learning.

Behaviourist theory of learning is supported by, Ivan Pavlov and John B Watson.
The theory was first developed by Ian Pavlov when he carried out a research on dogs. This theory was later Called classical conditioning. He realised that ringing a bell before the dogs had their meals, they gradually began to associate the bell with food, therefore when the bell rang even when no food was being given to the dogs, they still salivated. ‘according to behaviourist theories which form the basis for all learning theories, all behaviour is learned, thus eliminating any biological influences’ (Armitage, A., Byant, R., Dunnil, R., Flanagan, K., Hayes, D., Hudson, A., Kent, J., Lawes, S., Renwick, M p72) B.F Skinner later followed on the work of Pavlov and developed the idea of the neo-behaviourist theory called operant conditioning, its emphasis was on the use of reinforcement or   punishment which will determine if a behaviour will be repeated or not.
In teaching today, the use of positive or...