Theories of Learning

Jennifer Kay
Module Two

Exploring Learning Theories (Level 4)

Part 1 – Examine a range of theoretical approaches to learning and how the learning theories apply to your own teaching practice in your subject specialist area and how they promote inclusive practice

Within this assignment I am going to demonstrate how three of the major theories of learning; Behaviourist, Cognitivist and Humanist, underpin and have an impact on my teaching practice and on my students’ learning experiences and outcomes.   In order to achieve the best outcomes within each of my individual learners I feel it is important to look at their needs alongside the needs of the class and to build into my approach inclusivity by utilising a range of aspects from the three main theories around how individuals learn.
There are lots of interpretations as to what the term ‘learning’ means. As a teacher it is my role to facilitate learning, in order to assess if learning has taken place depends on my learner’s concept of what learning means to them, and how I evaluate this. Some popular definitions of learning include
    The acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught (

Personally I have an affinity for Carl Rogers’ more humanist thoughts on what ‘learning’ is, as is defined in Rogers (1969) five defining elements of significant or experiential learning:

  1. It has a quality of personal involvement – Significant learning has a quality of personal involvement in which “the whole person in both his feeling and cognitive aspects [is] in the learning event” (p. 5).
  2. It is self-initiated – “Even when the impetus or stimulus comes from the outside, the sense of discovery, of reaching out, of grasping and comprehending, comes from within” (p. 5).
  3. It is pervasive – Significant learning “makes a difference in the behaviour, the attitudes, perhaps even the personality of the...