Relevant Theories And Principles Of Learning Education Essay

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There are many different learning theories within this document a few will be shown, learning theories will also be relevant to health and social care especially looking at child care. There are three main learning theories these are behaviourist, cognitive and humanist. Cognitive includes the work of Albert Bandura, behaviourist looks at theorist like skinner, Pavlov and then the humanistic approach using studies by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. There are many more theorists in each area and also sub groups off the main theory but these are basis of the theory. When looking at cognitive and behaviourist's theory some research does link in together as some researchers looked into behaviour but still while using thought processes from the mind. This linking is an adaption from the base theory for example behaviourism then neo- behaviourism was developed. The humanistic view looks into personality in terms of peoples conscious experiences and how this helps or hinders their ability to reach their full potential.

Also in this article learning in relation to communication effectively as a whole but some concentration within the health and social care sector. Everyone learns from infants to adults in every setting but it is only when people are ready that they do learn. How we learn or if we want to learn which changes, different types of learning can take place visually, from mistakes and by actions. 'The foundation of learning is the interaction between self and external environment, in other words experience' (Beard and Wilson, 2006).

Beard and Wilson (2006) say that for current and up to date learning to take place we need to break out of traditional classroom style learning. They state 'the redesign of learning space is gaining momentum and a new pedagogy of space is emerging'. To develop this idea into current classrooms learners need more involvement. Within the health and social care department learners need more activities they have more effective learning if they are engaged in the information instead of listening passively. This links into Kolb's theory of experiential learning.


Kolb (1985) came up with Experiential learning (Briggs and Sommefeldt, 2002) showing that learning is more hands on and for subjects in the workplace this type of learning is effective due to the use within the workplace. Effective due to using the information which has been learnt constantly throughout work or placement. Within health and social care experiential learning will take effect when students are on placement and bring those experiences into their classroom and paper work. As for a teacher having that knowledge from own placement work they can bring their experiences in to the classroom to then teach students. It is also useful for a teacher in this field to have first-hand knowledge so that when communication is happening between teacher and student about placement or work the teacher is able to support the students fully with their own experiences using up to date knowledge. This helps effective communication due to students and teacher being able to relate with each other. Beard and Wilson (2006) state that the more senses used while learning the more effective learning will be so by using more types of teaching will use more senses then lead to more effective learning possibly taking place.

Albert Bandura was an early psychologist who proposed an alternative learning theory which took into account the mental processes which are involved in taking in information. Bandura looked at this through a study using a bobo doll this got children to watch adults display aggressive behaviour towards the doll. Different versions were used for example some adults were rewarded and some were not by using more research versions it helped Bandura compare research and have a valid and reliable study. It was found that children did copy adult's behaviour due to observations. He also showed that by rewarding the person it reinforces the behaviour into someone's own learnt behaviour. Social learning theory (Eyesenck and Flanagan, 2000) bandura suggested that learning is not always through direct conditioning. People sometimes but depending on conditions they learn through watching others actions and behaviours. This can also be seen in behaviourist theory but it is seen as neo- behaviourism. This is due to it emphasising the role of learning as a way of explaining why people behave as they do but with involvement of cognitive and social factors. Social learning theory can be linked into health and social care but as it is more theory based it is best to link it to placement. This is where they can learn behaviours from those working within the school; social factors come into place as they may only learn from those who they relate to socially and are around while on the placement or at work. Communication is needed from teacher to student here as students are learning from their environment effective communication is needed so that teachers can help them and also keep up to date with what they are learning while at placement as it can be useful. They can also help if a student has learnt negative behaviour if the teacher is finding out what they have learnt through good communication the teacher can then help and advise them to correct their knowledge. It may not just be to correct negative behaviour but it can also be to improve on the information they have taken in but without good communication the teacher will not be able to use the experiences from students to then aid and improve their knowledge and learning.

Phil Race (1993) showed that effective learning is achieved with practice, time and concentration with feedback. He also states that for people to learn they have to want to learn. Relating this into the classroom is best, a student who is not paying attention to the lesson might not want to learn and because they are not listening or taking part they are not learning. If students have a goal in sight which could lead to an achievement in their learning they will have the motivation to learn and will be more likely to learn.

Vygotsky brought cultural, social and cognitive processes together. He showed children talking privately about the information they had been learning that it helped them learn the information. It suggests that language and thought integrated the learning process. He also stated that language allows reflection and restructuring of the thought processes. Vygotsky also came up with the zone of proximal development, this looks at three stages or areas. First part contains activities a child can do on their own, second part contains activities a child can do but with some help. Then the last or third part contains activities which a child can not do even with help from another. This shows that within the stages social interaction with others and mixed ability helps development and learning to advance onto the next stage. Advanced ability children can help lower ability to complete the activity this helping cognitive development by supporting learning. Not only will it help the child who needs help but it will also help reinforce the knowledge for that child who is helping. This theory can be related to post compulsory learning due to it being adult/students instead of children. The other helper could be either peer help or even teacher help to complete the activity by supporting their learning.

A humanistic view is Maslow (Adair, 2006), his hierarchy of needs, it explains the desires to know and understand. Its goes on to state that learners want to learn unknown information and have desire to do so.

Edward Thorndike (1900- 1940's) he is an American educational psychologist he used animals in behaviour studies. He found that repetition increases the rate of problem solving ability. He then went on to talk about this in terms of the mind he stated that if we think of the mind as a blank sheet where learning and exposure to environmental interaction, could acquire intellectual skills and competences.

Behaviourists regard learning as a matter of stimulus-response (S-R) learning. This looks at Pavlov's work (Cardwell et al, 2000) which looks at classical conditioning. The skinner (Cardwell et al, 2000) looking at operant conditioning which is seen as behaviour being effective by consequences. The earlier work used animals this is where the model was criticised due not taking into account the abilities of learning which animals can not do for example talk and communicate to the researcher. This theory does not take into account the mind it does not take into account that language has a role in the learning process, which contradicts neo- behaviourism and the social learning theory. The neo- behaviourists look at both behaviour and mind which this is where cognitive and behaviour theories link together. By linking mind with behaviour we can see that different mental processes do play apart in learning so for example language does have a part to play in learning and if we link this with the behaviourists view that repetition aids learning. It means that be using language to repeat the information being taught it has a more effective style of learning. This is also linking communication with learning as if we are communicating more even if it is repeating the information this is suggesting that it will be more effective. There are many ways of communicating so it does not need to be always from teacher to learner. It can be using peer communication from learners to learner. Communicating also can have different outcomes it can be reinforcing information or simply sharing information to learn off others.


As shown there are many learning theories and also many variations on the same type with new theorist adding to already existing theorists. Within health and social care more than one theory can be related. Then when looking especially at the child care area this is where the different theories can be shown. Due to child care having placement and classroom based learning, placement takes into account experiential learning and learning by watching others. It also takes into account repetition as if students are continually repeating the information within the workplace they will learn it. For example when looking at confidentiality classroom learning has taught them the knowledge but it is in the placement where that knowledge is used and then repeated in the form of repetition. Then when understanding the concept in the workplace processes that information and then students can develop on from that knowledge. So both behaviour and cognitive theories are used within this department due to cognitive taking in information but by having placement and also watching a teacher's behaviour the information is learnt through the behaviourist's theory.

Communication plays a large part in learning not just about teaching the information but also for interpreting and then helping students repeat the information which can lead to more effective learning. Feedback in the form of communication also helps students learn this can be done in many forms, written, spoken to individually or as a whole class. Feedback supports learning and helps students look at their knowledge from another angle. As reflection also was seen to help the learning process as feedback is a form as reflection due to letting students look back on their learning. Even if this means giving points for students to reflect on and then help them improve on which then takes into account Vygotsky zone of proximal development as teachers are the helping students to complete tasks and this can be in between two stages in that theory depending on difficulty. Feedback also can give reward, as shown in Bandura's theory rewarding behaviour seen can then reinforce that behaviour this has also been linked into learning information. As if behaviour of learning is rewarded then it is more likely the student may want to learn again as a need to be rewarded or just due to positive reward has the motivation to learn more.

To have effective communication strategy clear information is needed, using different types of communication and also using different forms. Knowing that feedback is helpful and that repetition is also effective when giving feedback in written form a good strategy would be to read it in short format for them then ask them to read through the feedback being given this uses different forms of communication and also repetition of feedback so then it can be a form of effective learning.