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Introduction to Learning Perspectives

Emphasize on the association between the environment and the behavior.

The main purpose of the learning perspective is to emphasize on the association between the environment and the behavior. There are various types of learning perspectives like behavioral, cognitive, developmental as well as social cognitive and constructivist. The behavioral viewpoint of learning is the one in which the learning and behavior are defined and demonstrated in stimulus-response relationship (Gavetti, 2012). Then from the cognitive perspective, learning is mainly focused based on how individuals understands, remembers, believes, speaks and solve problems. The next perspective is Developmental perspective, which mainly emphasizes on the changes that prevails over the route of a long period. In the socio-cognitive perspective, learning is focused by observing others, which mean learners, can learn new behaviors and knowledge by observing others. Lastly, constructivism perspective of learning states that an individual establishes knowledge by utilizing cognitive processes to acquire knowledge from their experiences rather than just memorizing factors provided to them by others (Fosnot, 2013). The aim of this essay is to gain knowledge from the in-depth study of behavioral and constructivism theories of learning.


The behaviorist learning perspective was established in the early 1900s and was eminent in the early 20th century. Behaviorism however is mainly focused about the observable and measurable criteria of human behaviors. From this perspective, behavior is mainly controlled by the stimuli. Thus, a person picks up a response over the other due to previous experiences as well as emotional drives that exists at the back of his mind at the point of choosing the action (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). According to Thorndike, who is one of the leading behaviorist theorist, has stated that a response in relation to a stimuli is strengthen when accompanied by a positive rewarding action. Moreover, he has further stated that a response towards any stimulus can become more powerful by exercise and repetition. His view regarding learning is related to the drill-and practice programs (Wu et al., 2012). Another prestigious behaviorist is Skinner who has suggested his alternative of behaviorism known as operant conditioning. Skinner has stated that if the right parts of one’s complex behaviors are rewarded then that behavior is reinforced and its chances of recurrence increases. However, learning is perceived a successive estimation of the deliberate partial behaviors via the use of rewards as well as punishment. Skinner’s theory can be applied in the programmed instruction by which the appropriate sequence of the partial behavior that is to be learned is enumerated by elaborative task analysis (Olson, 2015). After presuming that the behaviors of human is learned, the behaviorists further stated that all behaviors can further be unlearned and can be substituted by a new behaviors which means when a behavior is intolerable then it is substituted by a new satisfactory behavior. However, an essential factor to this learning theory is reward response that means the most required response must be remunerated so that learning can occur. In teaching, support of behaviorism has competently embraced this methods of rewards as well as punishment in the classrooms by rewarding the wanted behavior and punishing the unwanted behavior.

Behavioral Theory of Learning


Rewards are important for the learners in some way or the other. For instance, in a teaching learning situation if a teacher wishes to teach the student how they can remain seated in the classrooms during the class periods therefore the teacher can allow the student to visit the library to finish his home tasks after finishing their classes. This will work as a reward and increase the desired behavior. However, for the teaching methods victory depends on every student’s stimulus as well as response along with the connections built by each learner. The benefits of this perspective of learning are that its results can be faithfully recreated experimentally like that found in the Skinner box or in similar apparatus. This theory of learning is fully based upon the observable behaviors and so quantifying and collecting data becomes easier. Therapeutic techniques like the thorough behavioral interventions, behavior investigation, token economies and distinct trail training are all included in behaviorism perspective (Gavetti, 2012). These outlooks are very much competent in modifying dysfunctional or unwanted behaviors in adults or children. On the other hand, there are few disadvantages for behaviorism theory of learning as many critics have argued it to be a one-dimensional perspective to comprehend individual behavior where behavioral theory do not count for independent will as well as internal impacts like moods, feelings and thoughts. Another major limitation regarding this theory is that it does not count for other kind of learning like those learning which develops without reinforcement and punishment. Moreover, this perspective of learning eliminates the possible role of biological aspects in the behavior of humans unlike the biological perspective that considers nature as well as other necessary factors.


The Constructivism theory determines that there is no understanding, which is individualistic of the knower (Ültanir, 2012). However, this means that people keenly constructs or create their own individual representation of objective realism. The main theme of the constructivist theory is that learning is a procedure in which the learner is capable to construct on present as well as previous information. Thus, for instance in a teaching-learning situation the students are able to take the information, build ideas and formulate choices by employing their own thought process (Hall, Griffiths & McKenna, 2013). However, John Dewey who is known as the philosophical founder of this approach is said to have suggested the method called “directed living”, according to which individuals should engross in real-world, practical workshops in which they can reveal their knowledge via creativity as well as collaboration. Thus, he has further stated that in a teaching learning situation students should be bestowed with opportunities so that they can think from themselves and express their thoughts. On the other hand, Piaget eliminated the idea that learning was the unassertive assimilation of a given knowledge. Rather he presented that learning is an active process consisting consecutive stages of adjustment to reality through which the learners actively build knowledge by generating and evaluating their own theories of the world. Moreover, Piaget and Inhelder has further stated that invention is among the most dominant and fundamental support of learning (Ültanir, 2012). However, Vygotsky believes that Piaget has mainly given too much emphasis on the internal processes of the individuals. He further considers cognitive development mainly as a function associated with external factors like cultural, historical as well as social interactions than of the individual construction.

Constructivism Theory of Learning

Vygotsky added further that individual overcome their behaviors via psychological tools, and he further presented language among the most essential psychological tool. Bruner was highly persuaded by Vygotsky and so he further highlighted the role of the teacher, the language as well as the instructions (Jonassen& Land, 2012). According to Bruner’s point of view, learners can use various processes while solving problems, which actually vary from one person to another, and social interactions are placed at the source of good learning. However, this theory too has certain benefits and limitations (Treffers, 2012). As per the benefits are concerned it has been found that constructivist theories gives more importance on the sensory inputs that is something which has been missed by maximum traditional educators. Moreover, constructivism theory is also used as a teaching method in special education settings and seems to be quite impactful for the students who have distinctive needs just like sensory processing disorder or who are from Autistic spectrum. Therefore, it can be said that constructivists mainly focuses on the learning that occurs through activity than those learning which occurs through textbooks. On the other hand, constructivism theory of learning has certain limitations and the first and foremost is that is lacks the structure. Some students actually need a structured environment to learn as well as excel. In constructivism, the teachers actually reject standardized curriculums in favor or in a more customized course of study, which is solely based on what is already known to the students. Moreover, another limitation of constructivism theory is that it can guide the students to get confused as well as thwarted because they might not have the capability to build connections and synopsis among the understandings that they already have and those knowledge that they are have learned for themselves. Thus, constructivism has a position in the learning process, which still has certain flaws (Fosnot, 2013). However, though students can benefit with few constructivism principles that are united into the classroom environment but on the other hand, there are also few students who need more structured environment as well as evaluations to excel.


Thus, to conclude the essay it can be said that according to the main perspective of learning it the maximum emphasis has been given to the connection between the environment and the behavior. However, there are different learning perspectives that are listed as behavioral, cognitive, developmental, and social cognitive and constructivist. Among these, the two chosen learning perspectives are mainly behaviorism and constructivism theories. Behaviorism mainly focuses on those criteria, which are observable as well as measurable criteria of individual behaviors. This learning perspective is mainly directed towards the stimuli. On the other hand, the constructivism perspective suggests that learning is a process, which the learner is able to construct on the current as well as previous information.

References

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43-71.

Fosnot, C. T. (2013). Constructivism: Theory, perspectives, and practice.Teachers College Press.

Gavetti, G. (2012). PERSPECTIVE—Toward a behavioral theory of strategy. Organization Science, 23(1), 267-285.

Hall, H., Griffiths, D., & McKenna, L. (2013). From Darwin to constructivism: the evolution of grounded theory. Nurse researcher, 20(3), 17-21.

Jonassen, D., & Land, S. (Eds.). (2012). Theoretical foundations of learning environments.Routledge.

Olson, M. H. (2015). An introduction to theories of learning.Psychology Press.

Treffers, A. (2012). Three dimensions: A model of goal and theory description in mathematics instruction—The Wiskobas Project (Vol. 3).Springer Science & Business Media.

Ültanir, E. (2012). An Epistemologic Glance at the Constructivist Approach: Constructivist Learning in Dewey, Piaget, and Montessori.

Wu, W. H., Chiou, W. B., Kao, H. Y., Hu, C. H. A., & Huang, S. H. (2012). Re-exploring game-assisted learning research: The perspective of learning theoretical bases. Computers & Education, 59(4), 1153-1161.

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