Learning Theories essay


Learning involves a series of activities aimed at ensuring thatstudents achieve the desired objectives in each lesson. During theactivities, various theories are in pay. They include the cognitive,humanistic, socio-cognitive and behavioral theory. Using them invaried activities enhances the grasping and retaining of the intendedinformation by the students. From the three classroom observations,one can identify activities conspicuously reflecting the fourtheories.

Observation #1

In this class, the teacher exploits the cognitive theory andunderstands that first-grade learners have limited concentration.Therefore, each lesson includes some minutes for a break to releasethe learners from concentration before re-engaging them. During thebreak, the young learners engage in songs that they sing heartily.

The lesson plan also reflects sensitivity to learning throughbehavior. According to Olson, (2015), the behavioral learninginvolves responding to a given stimulus. In this class, lessons last30 to 40 minutes. In every lesson, the teacher engages children in afive-minute activity in which they sing. The songs motivate them tocontinue learning. The activity that was edging towards boredombecomes interesting again. Also, when punishing the errant learners,the teacher separates the distracting students to study on their ownor sends them to another class. Since it is an undesirableexperience, most of the students strive to be as non-distractive aspossible.

In the class, the teacher divides the students into various groupsthat have monitors. In the groups, the teachers take care of theneeds of the individuals students. According to Entwistle (2013), theactivity depicts the characteristics of the humanistic theory thatinvolves responding to the needs of the different students. However,modeling lacks in the class. The teacher does not have a model fromwhich the students can emulate. The socio-cognitive theory assertsthat students can learn by observing others. The teacher seems tooverlook this important learning activity.

Observation #2

Mr. Pierce’s lessons are consistent with the humanistic theory. Heteaches physical education across the grades. However, he meets theneeds of all the learners by modifying his lessons to suit the needsof all the learners. The physical needs of the eighth grade differwith those of the first grade due to their different physical andemotional developments. Also, his lesson modification is consistentwith the cognitive theory. According to Pritchard (2013), studentsacross the grades do not understand the concepts at the same rate. Hecannot, therefore, use a rigid plan. It explains why he engages eachclass in the lesson using different approaches. He also increases thecapacity of the learners to understand by introducing them to theobjectives at the beginning of each lesson. While going through thedifferent activities, the learners are aware of the expectedoutcomes.

Mr. Pierce’s lessons are also consistent with the behavioraltheory. Learners associate various actions with expected outcomes.While attracting the attention of non-listening learners, the teacherpauses deliberately, and they have no option but to concentrate.Although he does not utter a word, his look is clear that he demandsthe attention of the students. Additionally, when students areworking in groups, he always demonstrates a task to them or asks oneof the students to exemplify. The classroom activity is consistentwith the socio-cognitive theory that indicates that students canassimilate information better by observing others (Pritchard, 2013).

Observation #3

In this class, there are thirteen students with special educationneeds. The teacher’s instruction is congruous with the cognitivetheory. She increases the students understanding by using teachingmaterials. Also, since the students’ information processing andretrieval depend on what they have done in the past, the teacherreviews the concepts learned in previous lessons before introducing anew abstraction. Besides, the 13 learners who require specialattention have their needs catered by the teachers. The teacher talksto individual learners and groups and identifies their weak areas ineach lesson.

The behavioral theory asserts that children can change their behaviorto provide the expected outcomes (Pritchard, 2013). The classactivities are consistent with this theory. The teacher engagesstudents in productive tasks aimed at improving their performance.According to the teacher, students’ performance significantlyimproves after engaging them in such talks. Students change tierstudy behaviors to avoid letting their teacher down. However, thelesson does not involve any models to assist the students inlearning. The socio-cognitive model assumes that children can performvarious activities effective when they relate them to another actualperformance by another individual (Pritchard, 2013). The teacher doesnot have such an activity in the lesson.


In conclusion, the three lessons exploit the three theories asreflected in the instructions. The teachers engage the students indifferent activities using different approaches. The objective is toincrease the learners’ understanding, processing and retrieval ofinformation. In all the grades, the application of the theories iscritical. The activities that accompany them can be modified to suitthe learning needs of the students in the different grades.


Entwistle, N. J.(2013). Styles of learning and teaching: An integrated outline ofeducational psychology for students, teachers and lecturers. NewYork N.Y: Routledge.

Olson, M. H. (2015).An introduction to theories of learning. Abingdon: PsychologyPress.

Pritchard, A.(2013). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles inthe classroom. New York N.Y: Routledge.