Discussions on Learning Theories

In reading through the blogs posted by Kerr, Downes, and Kapp, I found that Kapp provided a great statement about the nature of learning:

“The issue many forget is that ‘learning’ is not one thing…it is a multi-layered word that tends to get treated as if it were just one thing…and it’s not. It is multi-facetted and that is why developing new models for ‘learning’ is so difficult…there are too many levels for one school of thought or one model to do it all.” (http://karlkapp.blogspot.com/2007/01/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational.html)

I think that the emergence of various theories that attempt to describe the nature of human learning is evidence in and of itself of the complex nature of learning. Behaviorism has proven to have effective applicability in certain aspects of learning. Cognitivist perspectives open the door to accepting the fact that people learn in a variety of different ways. The underlying tenets of connectivism establish the connections between learning and the tools that have evolved to aid in human cognition. Each theory has strengths and areas of weakness. It is the combination of the strengths of each theory that provides us with a wide array of tools for promoting effective learning in the institutions that we have developed.

Kerr emphasized the importance of using the various theories as a way to “filter” and focus in on the characteristics of a particular learning situation (http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html). Although the various “-isms” may often be pitted against one another in the sense that individuals are often expected to choose between one theory or another, I truly believe that pulling the strengths from each theory will bring educators and instructional designers to a better perspective for creating quality learning experiences for students.


About Mike Dillon

High School Math/Physics Teacher Online Instructor for Axia College Ph.D. Candidate at Walden University.
This entry was posted in Walden 8845 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Discussions on Learning Theories

  1. Kat says:


    I agree with you about pulling together the best of the isms to create a great learning experience. The question I would pose is how do you know they are the best? That can be very subjective. I might think one supersedes another for a valid reason and how maybe it applies to my content area or my style of teaching. I think that you are right that we have to pull out the best of the best but I think it is individually based. Subject areas, teachers, teaching styles play a huge role in how content is delivered, therefore, by allowing teachers to pick their bests, we can achieve a great education. What do you think?

  2. mrsdurff says:

    Kerr does here appreciate the various learning theories for focusing in on different aspects of information. In another conversation, Bill objects to Connectivism as a learning theory. [ http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2006/12/challenge-to-connectivism.html ] Bill addressed the Connectivism course recorded here -> http://learningevolves.wikispaces.com/file/view/bill+kerr+on+connectivism.mp3

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