Dear student nice to meet you once again. We hope you are enjoying your lessons. We now welcome you to Unit 3. You are to read the learning outcome and indicators below

Learning Outcome(s):

By the end of the course the student would be able to:

CLO 1: Analyze the three categories of learning.

(NTS 2a, 2b, 2c, 2e. 2f, p. 13; 3e-3o, p.14)

CLO 2: Analyze the three major theories of learning.

(NTS 2a, 2b, 2c, 2e. 2f, p. 13; 3e-3o, p.14)


The student will be able to:

  • Differentiate among the three categories of learning (cognitive learning, effective learning and psychomotor learning)
  • Describe the pedagogical implications each of the three categories of learning.
  • Differentiate among the three major theories of learning
  • Describe the pedagogical implications each of the three major theories of learning.
·         Activity 1: you are answer the following questions:

1.      Who is a good Learner?

2.      Mention and explain any five qualities of a good learner.

The information below will assist you

3.1 Who is a good Learner?

Is someone who understands that the reason for studying is not to fulfill an obligation or to pass a test. You study for yourself. For this reason, a good learner will always keep on learning because he will always want to know more. Not only that. But a good learner will want to use what he/she has learned.

Some Qualities of a good learner:

These include: Discipline, Building Relationships, Asking Relevant Questions, Sense of Respect, Taking Responsibility, Participating in Extra Curricular Activities, Searching Knowledge, Working Hard, Punctuality, Attentive to Lesson, Self Confidence, Positive Attitude, Setting up Aim, A Good Listener, Having Smartness, Good Manners, Having Seriousness, Excellent Organizer, Simplicity of Mind, Keeping Updating, Having Commitment, Ambitious, and Academic Competencies


·         Activity 2: What is learning?

3.2 What is Learning?

  • Learning is acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught.
  • Learning is a process that leads to change, which occurs as a result of experience and increases the potential for improved performance and future learning.

The change in the learner may happen at the level of knowledge, attitude or behavior. As a result of learning, learners come to see concepts, ideas, and/or the world differently.

  • Learning is a change in human disposition or capacity that persists over a period of time.
  • Learning is a change in an individual that results from experienc
  • ·   Activity 3: Mention and discuss any principles of Learning Science

3.3 Principles of learning:

To teach effectively, the teacher must understand the basic principles of learning. Based on the different concepts of the learning process and the laws that govern them. The following general principles of learning are presented for guidance in teaching:

Learning is considered as the acquisition of knowledge, habits, skills, abilities, and attitudes through the interaction of the whole individual and his total environment. Responses are considered an integral part of the unified self in meeting life’s demands.

Learning is meaningful if it is organized in such a way as to emphasize and call for understanding, insight, initiative, and cooperation. When the learner is capable of gaining insight or understanding into the learning situation, then and only then will learning take place. Understanding is an organiz­ing, synthesizing process that integrates experiences into larger meaningful units.

Learning is facilitated by motives or drives. Needs, interests, and goals are fundamental to the learning process. If the individual has to learn, he must have some goal to be accomplished. Learning is best when the learner knows and understands his motive in learning.

Learning is facilitated by the law of readiness or mind­set. Learning does not occur unless the learner is ready to act or to learn. When a person is ready to learn, he learns more effectively and with greater satisfaction than when unprepared. When a person feels ready to act and is prevented from doing so, he feels annoyed. Mental set is conductive to effective learning.

  1. Learning is facilitated by the law of exercise. Practice and exercise are so common that they are universally accepted as an active means of learning. Lack of practice or exercise causes memory of learned materials weaken; and in general, the longer the period of disuse, the greater the loss. We learn and retain by exercise and forget through disuse.
  2. Learning is facilitated by the law of effect. The law of effect pertains to the influence of satisfying or unsatisfying feeling tones that accompany a response and either strengthen or weaken that response. When the learner finds the correct answer to a question, he feels pleased about his achievement and the connection is consequently strengthened. A feeling of satisfaction fixes a response, whereas a feeling of annoyance tends to destroy it.
  3. Learning is facilitate by the law of belongingness. When the learner perceives the relationship of facts presented, the speed of learning is greatly increased. In other that learning, in the classroom will be more meaningful to the learner, it must be related in some way to his previous knowledge. It must belong to the context of learning the learner has already achieved.
  4. Learning is facilitated when the teacher provides the learner with the proper stimuli and guides, and uses the principle of conditioning or associating those learning functions that need to be made automatic for most effective learning. Automatic responses are of prime importance in the formation of new habits or skills for they increase power and lessen fatigue. They serve as time-and-energy-saving habits.
  5. Learning “is conditioned by the attitude of the learner, the environmental conditions conducive to learning, and the attitude and skill of the teacher in setting the stage for learning, which includes teaching skill itself. Learning is most effective in an atmosphere of security and belonging.
  6. Learning difficulty is due to many factors within the learner himself. The most common factors which affect the learning process are the intellectual, physical, emotional and social factors. All of these factors may be found in the indivi­dual himself.
  7. Learning is effective when more senses are utilized by the learner. The combination of seeing and hearing with touch, taste, and smell will facilitate the learning and under­standing of the ‘learning situation. The use of different senses will also add electiveness in causing learning to be meaningful and functional.
  8. Learning is effective when it is made functional and aided by understanding derived from experience. The experi­ences of the pupil when utilized by the teacher will add to the understanding of the learning situation. Experiences and other material devices are often used in teaching to give meaning and understanding to the learner. The maturity and intelli­gence of the learner will determine the need for supplemental experience and other instructional devices.
·         Activity 4:

1.      Explain the following

i.       Deductive learning

ii.     Inductive learning.

2.      State a difference between deductive learning and inductive learning.

Read the content below to get better understand

3.4 What is deductive Learning?

A deductive approach to instruction is a more teacher-centered approach. This means that the teacher gives the students a new concept, explains it, and then has the students practice using the concept. For example, when teaching a new grammar concept, the teacher will introduce the concept, explain the rules related to its use, and finally the students will practice using the concept in a variety of different ways.

According to Bob Adamson, “The deductive method is often criticized because: a) it teaches grammar in an isolated way; b ) little attention is paid to meaning; c) practice is often mechanical.” This method can, however, be a viable option in certain situations; for example, when dealing with highly motivated students, teaching a particularly difficult concept, or for preparing students to write exams.

3.4.1 What is inductive Learning?

In contrast with the deductive method, inductive instruction makes use of student “noticing”. Instead of explaining a given concept and following this explanation with examples, the teacher presents students with many examples showing how the concept is used. The intent is for students to “notice”, by way of the examples, how the concept works.

Using the grammar situation from above, the teacher would present the students with a variety of examples for a given concept without giving any preamble about how the concept is used. As students see how the concept is used, it is hoped that they will notice how the concept is to be used and determine the grammar rule. As a conclusion to the activity, the teacher can ask the students to explain the grammar rule as a final check that they understand the concept.

3.4.2 How can teachers help their students practice ‘noticing’?

In the 1990s researchers explored the role that ‘noticing’ a grammatical construct played in learning that structure. They hypothesized that learners needed to notice a structure in order to hold it in their short- or long-term memory. Although the value of the concept to grammatical acquisition is still under debate. The overall value of responding promptly to questions and observations of learners cannot be dismissed nor can the role that awareness and consciousness play in the development of metalinguistic knowledge.

3.4.3 What is noticing?

Noticing is the process of students becoming aware of something in particular; as mentioned above in the inductive approach, noticing can be used to teach a grammar concept when students are given the examples, and they come to understand the rule by noticing what those examples have in common. In a more general classroom situation, noticing can be used in many ways:

  • When teachers speak at a more advanced level, they are giving the students constant opportunities to notice the differences between the teacher’s speech and theirs. This way each student can become aware of the differences at his own pace.
  • Teachers can provide students with opportunities for noticing simply by putting posters up in the classroom in the target language. As before, when the students are ready to notice the difference, they will.
  • Language ladders are also to promote students’ noticing skills. Once they understand what each rung on the ladder means, they can understand how they all fit together and how they differ.

3.4.4 How can a teacher decide which method is the best choice for a given topic?

Both deductive and inductive sequences are valuable for teaching concepts, generalizations, processes, and skills. The teacher must decide which to select given the learning outcomes desired and the composition of the class. When choosing, the teacher should consider a number of factors:

  • How personalized should the learning be? Students will usually be more involved in the learning experience and tend to participate more actively when an inductive approach is used. If a deductive approach is chosen, it is important to structure the learning experience in order to draw on students’ prior experiences and learning, and to provide for their active involvement.
  • Should learning experiences be predictable? The deductive approach is more predictable because the teacher selects the information and the sequence of presentation.
  • What depth of understanding and rate of retention is desired? Students tend to understand and remember more when learning occurs inductively.
  • How much time is available to teach the material? The deductive approach is faster and can be an efficient way to teach large numbers of facts and concrete concepts.

Instructional methods tend to be either deductive or inductive, although some methods use both. Many lessons can include both approaches.

3.4.5 Difference between Inductive and Deductive Approach:

  1. Deductive reasoning depends on facts and evidence; inductive reasoning looks at patterns.
  2. Deductive reasoning provides solid, repeatable conclusions. Inductive reasoning makes general, most probable conclusions about evidence that has been observed.
  3. Inductive reasoning may not always have strong conclusions on the validity of its hypothesis. Deductive reasoning will always have strong conclusions as to whether the premise is valid or invalid.
  4. Deduction moves from idea to observation, while induction moves from observation to idea.
  5. Deduction moves from more general to more specific, while induction moves from more specific to more general.
  6. Deductive arguments have unassailable conclusions assuming all the premises are true, but inductive arguments simply have some measure of probability that the argument is true—based on the strength of the argument and the evidence to support it.
  1. Deductive is a discovery whereas Inductive is a Innovation.
  2. Deductive is finding from the theory whereas Inductive is making a theory.
  3. Deductive is whole to part whereas Inductive is making a part to the whole.
  4. Deductive is empirical whereas Inductive is experimental by nature.
  5. Both are data driven, however, main objective of such of the finding define your type of study.
  6. One is ontological and another is epistemological.
·         Activity 5:

1.      Difference among the three categories of learning that is cognitive learning, effective learning and psychomotor learning.

2.      State and explain one pedagogical implication each of the three domains of learning.

3.5 Categories of learning

The Three Levels of the Mind and the domains of learning

Learning is everywhere. We can learn mental skills, develop our attitudes and acquire new physical skills as we perform the activities of our daily living. These domains of learning can be categorized as cognitive domain (knowledge), psychomotor domain (skills) and affective domain (attitudes). This categorization is best explained by the Taxonomy of Learning Domains formulated by a group of researchers led by Benjamin Bloom in 1956.

3.5.1 Cognitive Domain

The cognitive domain involves the development of our mental skills and the acquisition of knowledge. The six categories under this domain are:

  1. Knowledge: the ability to recall data and/or information.

Example: A child recites the English alphabet.

  1. Comprehension: the ability to understand the meaning of what is known.

Example: A teacher explains a theory in his own words.

  1. Application: the ability to utilize an abstraction or to use knowledge in a new situation.

Example: A nurse intern applies what she learned in her Psychology class when she talks to patients.

  1. Analysis: the ability to differentiate facts and opinions.

Example: A lawyer was able to win over a case after recognizing logical fallacies in the reasoning of the offender.

  1. Synthesis: the ability to integrate different elements or concepts in order to form a sound pattern or structure so a new meaning can be established.

Examples: A therapist combines yoga, biofeedback and support group therapy in creating a care plan for his patient.

  1. Evaluation: the ability to come up with judgments about the importance of concepts.

Examples: A businessman selects the most efficient way of selling products.

3.5.2 Affective Domain

The affective domain involves our feelings, emotions and attitudes. This domain is categorized into 5 subdomains, which include:

  1. Receiving Phenomena: the awareness of feelings and emotions as well as the ability to utilize selected attention.

Example: Listening attentively to a friend.

  1. Responding to Phenomena: active participation of the learner.

Example: Participating in a group discussion.

  1. Valuing: the ability to see the worth of something and express it.

Example: An activist shares his ideas on the increase in salary of labourers.

  1. Organization: ability to prioritize a value over another and create a unique value system.

Example: A teenager spends more time in her studies than with her boyfriend.

  1. Characterization: the ability to internalize values and let them control the person`s behaviour.

Example: A man marries a woman not for her looks but for what she is.

3.5.3 Psychomotor Domain

The psychomotor domain is comprised of utilizing motor skills and coordinating them. The seven categories under this include:

  1. Perception: the ability to apply sensory information to motor activity.

Example: A cook adjusts the heat of stove to achieve the right temperature of the dish.

  1. Set: the readiness to act.

Example: An obese person displays motivation in performing planned exercise.

  1. Guided Response: the ability to imitate a displayed behavior or to utilize trial and error.

Example: A person follows the manual in operating a machine.

  1. Mechanism: the ability to convert learned responses into habitual actions with proficiency and confidence.

Example: A mother was able to cook a delicious meal after practicing how to cook it.

  1. Complex Overt Response: the ability to skillfully perform complex patterns of actions.

Example: Typing a report on a computer without looking at the keyboard.

  1. Adaptation: the ability to modify learned skills to meet special events.

Example: A designer uses plastic bottles to create a dress.

  1. Origination: creating new movement patterns for a specific situation.

Example: A choreographer creates a new dance routine.

3.5.4 Implication to teaching and learning

Developing and delivering lessons by teachers are integral in the teaching process. It is hence important for teachers to ensure that the three (3) domains of learning which include cognitive (thinking), affective (emotions or feeling) and Psychomotor (Physical or kinesthetic) to be achieved. It is imperative to understand that there are different categories of learners who have varying needs and as such different methods must be adopted in the planning and delivery of lessons to ensure that such needs are addressed. The world of education has gradually adopted the strategy of ‘Every child matters’ structure that requires that all learners with different needs are counted.

 3.5.5 Pedagogical implications of the three domains of learning

  1. Cognitive Domain (Thinking Process)
    1. To help pupils to discriminate between relevant and irrelevant information.
    2. Think logically and learn to interpret finding in a logical manner.
  2. Affective Domain (Attitude and Interests)
    1. Develop interest in and show an appreciation of the natural environment.
    2. To help the child develop interest in carrying out scientific research and investigations.
  3. Psychomotor Domain (Practical/Process Skills)
    1. To develop hand-eye co-ordination.
    2. Manipulating objects in their environment.


Activity 6:

1.    Differentiate among the three major theories of learning.

2.      Describe the pedagogical implications each of the three major theories of learning.

v  The content below will guide you


 3.6.1 CONSTRUCTIVISM (John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Lev Vygotsky)


Constructivism is an educational learning theory that places emphasis on students’ role in learning through a guided means by the teacher to enable them constructs their own understanding of materials or concepts through mental models and exposure to hands-on experiences.
Fundamentally, constructivism says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences.

The Learning Cycle or “5 E’s”characterizes the constructivist theory of learning


The Five Es Instructional Model (Constructivism)

Please note that there are two groups of constructivism (the social and the cognitive)

  1. Engage: This stage provides the opportunity for the teachers to discover what students know or what they think they know.
  2. Explore: This stage provides a common set of experiences as well as a broad range of experiences. This stage allows students to compare what they think about with what they are actually observing.
  3. Explain: This stage provides opportunities for students to connect their previous experiences and to begin to make conceptual sense of the main ideas within the unit of study.
  4. Extend /Elaborate: In this stage students apply or extend the concepts in new situations and relate their previous experiences to new ones.
  5. Evaluate: Evaluation of students’ conceptual understanding and ability to use skills begins at the engage stage and continues throughout the model.


3.6.2 Pedagogical Implications of Constructivism Theory

 The chart that follows outlines teacher and student behaviors within the 5 E model.

5Es Suggested Activity What the Teacher Does What the Student Does
  • Demonstration
  • Reading
  • Free Write
  • Analyze a Graphic Organizer
  • KWL
  • Brainstorming
  • Creates interest.
  • Generates curiosity.
  • Raises questions.
  • Elicits responses that uncover what the students know or think about the concept/topic.
  • Asks questions such as, Why did this happen? What do I already know about this? What can I found out about this?
  • Shows interest in the topic.
  • Perform an Investigation
  • Read Authentic Resources to Collect Information
  • Solve a Problem
  • Construct a Model
  • Encourages the students to work together without direct instruction from the teacher.
  • Observes and listens to the students as they interact.
  • Asks probing questions to redirect the students’ investigations when necessary.
  • Provides time for students to puzzle through problems.
  • Thinks freely but within the limits of the activity.
  • Tests predictions and hypotheses.
  • Forms new predictions and hypotheses.
  • Tries alternatives and discusses them with others.
  • Records observations and ideas.
  • Suspends judgement.


  • Student Analysis & Explanation
  • Supporting Ideas with Evidence
  • Structured Questioning
  • Reading and Discussion
  • Teacher Explanation
  • Thinking Skill Activities: compare, classify, error analysis
  • Encourages the students to explain concepts and definitions in their own words.
  • Asks for justification (evidence) and clarification from students.
  • Formally provides definitions, explanations, and new labels.
  • Uses students’ previous experiences as basis for explaining concepts.


  • Explains possible solutions or answers to others.
  • Listens officially to others’ explanations.
  • Questions others’ explanations.
  • Listens to and tries to comprehend explanations the teacher offers.
  • Refers to previous activities.
  • Uses recorded observations in explanations.
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Experimental Inquiry
  • Think Skill Activities: compare, classify, apply
  • Expects the students to use formal labels, definitions, and explanations provided previously.
  • Encourages the students to apply or extend the concepts and skills in new situations.
  • Reminds the students of alternative explanations.
  • Refers the students to existing data and evidence and asks, What do you already know? Why do you think…?
  • Strategies from Explore apply here also.


  • Applies new labels, definitions, explanations, and skills in new, but similar situations.
  • Uses previous information to ask questions, propose solutions, make decisions, and design experiments.
  • Draws reasonable conclusions from evidence.
  • Records observations and explanations.
  • Checks for understandings among peers.
  • Any of the Above
  • Develop a Scoring Tool or Rubric
  • Test
  • Performance Assessment
  • Produce a Product
  • Journal Entry
  • Portfolio
  • Observes the students as they apply new concepts and skills.
  • Assesses students’ knowledge and/or skills.
  • Looks for evidence that the students have changed their thinking or behaviors.
  • Allows students to assess their own learning and group-process skills.
  • Asks open-ended questions, such as: Why do you think…? What evidence do you have? What do you know about x? How would you explain x?
  • Answers open-ended questions by using observations, evidence, and previously accepted explanations.
  • Demonstrates an understanding or knowledge of the concept or skill.
  • Evaluates his or her own progress and knowledge.
  • Asks related questions that would encourage future investigations.




  1. Schemata ————————————————-prior knowledge
  2. Schema ————————————————– knowledge or concept
  3. KWL is a strategy enabling students to know what they know, what they want to learn, and what they did learn. ((Dixon-Krauss, 1996)
  4. PQ4R (Preview, Question, Read, and Reflect, Recite and Review)
  5. IDEAL is an acronym for Identify, Define, Explore, Act and Look


3.6.3 Cognitive Constructivism Approach to Teaching (Piaget, Brunner)

Firstly, you must present examples and non-examples of the concepts you are teaching


Give examples that include people, kangaroos, whales, cats, dolphins, and camels as examples, and chickens, fish, alligators, frogs, and penguins as non-examples

 Secondly, help students see connections among concepts.


  1. Ask questions such as these:

What else could you call this apple?” (Fruit)

“What do we do with fruit?” (Eat)

What do we call things we eat? (Food)

  1. .Use diagrams, outlines, and summaries to point out connections.

Thirdly, pose a question and let students try to find the answer.


  1. How could the human hand be improved?
  2. What is the relation between the area of one tile and the area of the whole floor?

Fourthly, encourage students to make intuitive guesses.


  1. Instead of giving a word’s definition, say, “Let’s guess what it might mean by looking at the words around it.”
  2. Give students a map of ancient Greece and ask where they think the major cities were.
  3. Don’t comment after the first few guesses. Wait for several ideas before giving the answer.
  4. Use guiding questions to focus students when their discovery has let them too far astray


Social constructivism characteristics (Vygotsky)

  • An important classroom goal is construction of collaborative meaning
  • Teachers closely monitor student’s perspective, thinking and feeling.
  • The teacher and students are learning and teaching.
  • Social interaction permeates the classroom.
  • The curriculum and the physical contents of the classroom reflect student’s interest and are infused with their culture.

There are 4 tools for making this happen, the tools are: scaffolding, cognitive apprenticeship, tutoring and cooperative learning



  1. Constructivism is “an approach to learning in which learners are provided the opportunity to construct their own sense of what is being learned by building internal connection or relationship among the ideas and facts being taught.”
  2. Constructivism begins as an impact of “cognitive revolution” in the 1950’s.
  3. Constructivism can be divided into cognitive constructivism and social constructivism.
  4. Some of constructivist teaching techniques are scaffolding, peer tutoring, cognitive apprenticeship, cooperative learning and discovery learning.
  5. Met cognitive is “thinking about one’s thinking”.
  6. Expert learners think purposefully, reflective and open-minded whereas novice learners are rigid and narrow-minded.
  1. Some of the metacognitive strategies are self-questioning, PQ4R, KWL, IDEAL, reflective thinking and critical thinking.


The Theory

According to constructivist theory,

  • Learning needs to focus on overall concepts not isolated facts.
  • Students rely on experiences to develop meaningful connections between topics, thus developing higher level thinking skills.
  • Teachers act as facilitators, guiding student understanding by providing learning experiences in the classroom.
  • Learning is an active process
  • Knowledge is constructed from (and shaped by) experience
  • Learning is a personal interpretation of the world



  • Constructivism gives students ownership of their learning experiences.
  • Students are able to make real world connections.
  • The information that students get from constructionist techniques is not learned by rote memorization, but through meaningful (relational experiences).
  • Constructionist techniques are transferable from one subject matter to another.
  • Gives students preferred learning style
  • Caters for students rate of learning
  • Caters for students personal interactions with other learners


  • Critics of constructivism say that this technique leads to “group thinking” where the majority of the ideas win overall in the classroom, clouding all other original thoughts.
  • Individuals may conform their own thinking to match those of the group.
  • Students may not perform well on standardized testing as individual concepts are lost to the constructivist “big picture” ideal.


Learning Techniques

  • Students play a much larger role in the constructivist classroom (learner centered)
  • Problem-based learning gives students hands-on experience in solving problems, providing for meaningful learning experiences.
  • Teachers may also employ experiments, projects and research assignments as part of the constructivist repertoire.


Assessment techniques

  • Constructivist teachers use alternative forms of assessment. Many teachers will use a portfolio assessment where learning progress can be seen over time.
  • Teachers will also use project guides to help assess student understanding.
  • Teachers require students to consistently reflect on their learning in the constructivist classroom.


Characteristics /roles of the constructivist teacher

  • Encourages and accepts students autonomy and initiatives
  • Uses raw data and primary source along with manipulative, interactive and physical materials
  • When framing tasks uses cognitive terminologies such as analyze, evaluate, predict, classify and create
  • Allows students’ responses to drive lessons, shift instructional strategies and alter content
  • Enquires about students’ understanding of concepts before sharing their own understanding of those concepts.
  • Encourages students to engage in dialogue both with the teacher and among one another
  • Encourages students’ enquiry by asking thoughtful and open ended questions and encourages students to ask questions of each other.
  • Seek elaborations of students’ initial responses.
  • Engages students in experiences that might engender contradictions to their initial hypothesis and then encourages discussion.
  • Allows wait time after posing questions
  • Provides time for students to create relationships and crate metaphors
  • Nurtures students natural curiosity through frequent use of learning cycle models
  • The Teacher in a Constructivist Classroom is a Researcher
  • Constructivist Teaching Involves Negotiation
  • Constructivism Uses a Process Approach
  • Teacher is a facilitator/consultant


Role of the student/learner in the constructivist classroom

  • Help develop own goals and assessments
  • Create new understandings (via coaching, moderating, suggesting)
  • Control learning (reflecting)
  • Member of community of learners
  • Collaborate among fellow students
  • Learn in a social experience –appreciate different perspectives
  • Take ownership and voice in learning process


Characteristics of a constructivist classroom

  • Organization and Management of a Constructivist Classroom are Democratic
  • Power and Control in the Constructivist Classroom are Shared
  • Classroom rules and regulation are flexible yet performance oriented
  • Learning materials are in adequate supply because teachers are resourceful.
  • There is no rush to finish a topic or concept since pace of learning is determined by learners.
  • Knowledge construction and not reproduction is emphasized.
  • This construction takes place in individual contexts and through social negotiation, collaboration and experience.
  • The learner’s previous knowledge constructions, beliefs and attitudes are considered in the knowledge construction process.
  • Multiple perspectives and representations of concepts and content are presented and encouraged.
  • Goals and objectives are derived by the student or in negotiation with the teacher or system.

Possible learning activities in the constructivist classroom

  • Modeling
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Coaching
  • Scaffolding
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Authentic Learning
  • Anchored Instruction
  • Cognitive Flexibility Hypertexts
  • Object-based Learning


3.6.4 Pedagogical Implications of Constructivist Theory to the teaching and learning of science

Constructivist classrooms should be structured so that learners are immersed in experiences within which they may engage in meaning-making inquiry, action, imagination, invention, interaction, hypothesizing and personal reflection.

Teachers need to recognize how people use their own experiences, prior knowledge and perceptions, as well as their physical and interpersonal environments to construct knowledge and meaning.

The goal is to produce a democratic classroom environment that provides meaningful learning experiences for autonomous learners.

It is worth suggesting that there may be many ways of interpreting or understanding the world. Thus, the teacher is no longer seen as an expert, who knows the answers to the questions she or he has constructed, while the students are asked to identify their teacher’s constructions rather than to construct their own meanings.

In a constructivist classroom, students are encouraged to use prior experiences to help them form and reform interpretations.

Applying constructivism in the classroom

  • Pose problems that are or will be relevant to students
  • Structure learning around essential concepts
  • Be aware that students’ points of view are windows into their reasoning
  • Adapt teaching to address students’ suppositions and development
  • Assess student learning in context of teaching


Differences between the constructivist’s classroom and the traditional classroom

S/N. Constructivist classroom Traditional classroom
1 Begins with the whole – expanding to parts Begins with parts of the whole

Emphasizes basic skills

2 Pursuit of student questions / interests Strict adherence to fixed curriculum
3 Primary sources / manipulative Materials Textbooks and workbooks
4 Learning is interaction‐building on what students already know Instructor gives/ students receive


5 Instructor interacts /

negotiates with students

Instructor assumes directive, authoritative role


6 Assessment via student works, observations, points of view, tests. Process is as important as product Assessment via testing / correct answers


7 Knowledge is dynamic / changes with experiences


Knowledge is inert


8 Students work in groups Students work individually




Drawbacks of the use of the constructivist approach to the teaching of science

  • Loaded curriculum hence lack of adequate time
  • Lack of technical know how
  • Inadequate teaching and learning materials
  • Lack of conducive learning environment
  • Fear of teachers losing their pride due to contestation of ideas etc.



Behaviorism (B. F. Skinner, E. Thorndike, Ivan Pavlov, Clark Hull & B. Watson)–built upon Ivan Pavlov’s theories of classical conditioning and operant conditioning


Behaviorism is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviours are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. Behaviorists believe that our responses to environmental stimuli shape our behaviours (acquisition of new behaviours)

A behaviorist theory is based on the fundamental idea that behaviors that are reinforced will tend to continue, while behaviors that are punished will eventually end.


This school of thought suggests that only observable behaviors should be studied, since internal states such as cognitions, emotions and moods are too subjective.

A-B-C of Behavourial Learning

 Learning is really about the increased probability of a behaviour based on reinforcement which has taken place in the past, so that the antecedents of the new behaviour include the consequences of previous behaviour

There are two major types of conditioning:

  1. Classical conditioningis a technique used in behavioral training in which a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response. Next, a previously neutral stimulus is paired with the naturally occurring stimulus. Eventually, the previously neutral stimulus comes to evoke the response without the presence of the naturally occurring stimulus. The two elements are then known as the conditioned stimulus and the conditioned response.


  1. Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.


Operant conditioning can be described as a process that attempts to modify behaviour through the use of positive and negative reinforcement.  Through operant conditioning, an individual makes an association between a particular behavior and a consequence.

  • Example 1: Parents rewarding a child’s excellent grades with candy or some other prize.
  • Example 2: A schoolteacher awards points to those students who are the most calm and well-behaved.  Students eventually realize that when they voluntarily become quieter and better behaved, that they earn more points.
  • Example 3: A form of reinforcement (such as food) is given to an animal every time the animal (for example, a hungry lion) presses a lever.

The term “operant conditioning” originated by the behaviorist B. F. Skinner, who believed that one should focus on the external, observable causes of behavior (rather than try to unpack the internal thoughts and motivations)

Reinforcement comes in two forms: positive and negative.

Positive and negative reinforcers

  • Positive reinforcersare favorable events or outcomes that are given to the individual after the desired behavior.  This may come in the form of praise, rewards, etc.
  • Negative reinforcerstypically are characterized by the removal of an undesired or unpleasant outcome after the desired behavior.  A response is strengthened as something considered negative is removed.

The goal in both of these cases of reinforcement is for the behavior to increase.

Positive and negative punishment

Punishment, in contrast, is when the increase of something undesirable attempts to cause a decrease in the behavior that follows.

  • Positive punishmentis when unfavorable events or outcomes are given in order to weaken the response that follows.
  • Negative punishmentis characterized by when a favourable event or outcome is removed after an undesired behaviour occurs.

The goal in both of these cases of punishment is for a behavior to decrease.

What is the difference between operant conditioning and classical conditioning? In operant conditioning, a voluntary response is then followed by a reinforcing stimulus.  In this way, the voluntary response (e.g. studying for an exam) is more likely to be done by the individual.  In contrast, classical conditioning is when a stimulus automatically triggers an involuntary response.


Operant conditioning is similar to classical conditioning in that both are concerned with how we can teach others how to behave

Principles of behaviorism by B. F. Skinner

  • The following are valuable:
    • Repetition
    • Small, concrete, progressively sequenced tasks
    • Positive and negative reinforcement
    • Consistency in the use of reinforcers during the teaching-learning process
  • Habits and other undesirable responses can be broken by removing the positive reinforcers connected with them.
  • Immediate, consistent, and positive reinforcement increases the speed of learning.
  • Pleasant experiences (such as rewards or praise) are positive reinforcers. They cause learners to make desired connections between stimuli and responses.
  • Unpleasant experiences (such as punishment) are negative reinforcers. They cause learners to avoid undesirable responses to stimuli.
  • Continuous reinforcement increases the rate of learning.
  • Intermittent reinforcement contributes to longer retention of what is learned.
  • Both positive and negative reinforcement can shape behaviour.
  • A lack of any reinforcement can also shape behaviour. If people receive no acknowledgement of their behaviour, they will likely change that behaviour until they receive some kind of reinforcement.
  • Present the information to be learned in small behaviorally defined steps.
  • Give rapid feedback to pupils regarding the accuracy of their learning (learning being indicated by overt pupil responses)
  • Allow pupils to learn at their own pace.

Criticisms of Behaviorism

  • Many critics argue that behaviorism is a one-dimensional approach to understanding human behavior and that behavioral theories do not account for free will and internal influences such as moods, thoughts and feelings.


  • Behaviorism does not account for other types of learning, especially learning that occurs without the use ofreinforcement and punishment.


  • People and animals are able to adapt their behavior when new information is introduced, even if a previous behavior pattern has been established through reinforcement.

Strengths of Behaviorism

  • Behaviorism is based upon observable behaviors, so it is easier to quantify and collect data and information when conducting research.


  • Effective therapeutic techniques such as intensive behavioral intervention,behaviour analysis, token economies and discrete trial training are all rooted in behaviorism. These approaches are often very useful in changing maladaptive or harmful behaviours in both children and adults.


3.6.6 Pedagogical Implications of Behaviorism Theory to the Teaching and Learning of Science

Role/characteristics of the science teacher in the behaviorist classroom

  • Designs the learning environment.
  • Shapes child’s behaviour by positive/ negative reinforcement
  • Presents the information and then students demonstrate that they understand the material.
  • Assesses students primarily through tests.

Role/characteristics of the student in the behaviorist classroom

  • Learners are basically passive recipients of knowledge
  • Respond to stimuli
  • Answer questions posed by teacher
  • Ask little or no question
  • Empty barrels

 How does learning take place in the behaviorist classroom?

 B.F. Skinner (Known for operant conditioning)

  • A stimulus is provided
  • A response is generated.
  • Consequence to the response is present.
  • Type of consequence is present.
  • Reinforcement is provided which could be positive or negative.


Pavlov (Known for classical conditioning).


  • A spontaneous reaction that occurs automatically to a particular stimulus to alter the “natural” relationship between a stimulus and a reaction was viewed as a major breakthrough in the study of behaviour.


  • Thorndike concluded that animals learn, solely, by trial and error, or reward and punishment.
  • All learning involves the formation of connections, and connections are strengthened according to the law of effect.
  • Intelligence is the ability to form connections and humans are the most evolved animal because they form more connections then any other being.


The “law of effect” states that when a connection between a stimulus and response is positively rewarded it will be strengthened and when it is negatively rewarded it will be weakened.


Thorndike later revised this “law” when he found that negative reward, (punishment) did not necessarily weaken bonds, and that some seemingly pleasurable consequences do not necessarily motivate performance.


The “law of exercise”held that the more an S-R (stimulus response) bond is practiced the stronger it will become. As with the law of effect, the law of exercise also had to be updated when Thorndike found that practice without feedback does not necessarily enhance performance.


Also Thorndike maintained that a skill should be introduced when a learner is conscious of their need for it as a means of satisfying some useful purpose. Regarding material, Skinner specified that to teach well, a teacher must decide exactly what it is they want to teach – only then can they present the right material, know what responses to look for and hence when to give reinforcement that usefully shapes behaviour.



Watson believed that humans are born with a few reflexes and the emotional reactions of love and rage. All other behavior is established through stimulus-response associations through conditioning.


Relevance of behaviorism to the teaching of science

  • Identify possible reinforcers by observing behaviours of learners
  • Select Stimulus
  • Identify and describe the terminal objective – observable behaviour
  • By a process of shaping and smaller steps achieve goals
  • Mastery learning is an example of behavioral approach
  • Behaviorism still continues to play a large role in motivation, classroom management, and special education needs


Possible learning activities in the behaviorist classroom

There should be:

  • Instructional cues to elicit correct response
  • Practice paired with target stimuli
  • Reinforcement for correct responses
  • Building fluency (get responses closer and closer to correct response)
  • Multiple opportunities/trials (Drill and practice)
  • Discrimination (recalling facts)
  • Generalization (defining and illustrating concepts)
  • Associations (applying explanations)
  • Chaining (automatically performing a specified procedure)


Implications of behaviorism in the Science Classroom

When designing lessons from a behaviorist stance, the designer (teacher) should:

  • Analyze the situation and sets a goal. Individual tasks should be broken down into smaller tasks and learning objectives developed from them.
  • Evaluation should consist of determining whether the criterion for the objectives has been met. In this approach the designer should decide what is important for the learner to know and attempt to transfer that knowledge to the learner.
  • The learning package should be somewhat of a closed system, though it can allow for some branching and remediation, the learner should be confined to the designer’s “world”.


Strengths of behaviorism

The strength of instructional design grounded in behaviorism is that:

  • When there are specific goals to be met, the learner is focused clearly
    upon achieving those goals whenever there are cues to prompt the learner’s
  • Clearly stated objectives allow the learner to focus on one goal.
  • Cueing responses to behaviour allows the learner to react in a predictable way under certain conditions. In a stressful situation like combat or flying a plane, cued responses can be a very valuable tool.


Weakness of behaviorism

  • Since behaviorism is stimulus – response based, instructional design is dependent on the workplace or classroom having and maintaining the appropriate stimuli to continue the intended behaviour. Thus, if a certain incentive is not present or does not occur, then the expected and desired performance may not take place.
  • Additionally, learning is a reactionary process to an environmental condition and knowledge is considered finite.
  • Skinner realized there is a burden on the instructor to maintain reinforcement. “Behaviour that is not reinforced is likely to become less frequent and may even disappear” (Merriam and Caffarella, (1999).
  • The learner might find himself in a situation where s/he needs to respond, but the mental “cues” s/he has learned to respond to might not exist.
  • Behaviorism does not explain some learning such as the recognition of new language patterns by young children for which there is no reinforcement mechanism.


Classical conditioning can occur unintentionally. Too frequent exposure to humiliation, failure, or other negative feedback may lower in individual’s self-confidence and lead to withdrawal. For example, if a child is constantly corrected during a reading exercise, the child’s feelings of humiliation may ultimately be replaced by a fear of reading aloud. Eventually whenever the teacher announces read-aloud-time, the child may withdraw or begin exhibiting undesirable behavior. For this reason, it is important for teachers to be careful or prepare their students very well when engaging in such potentially “risky” activities in the classroom; it is important to minimize embarrassment or disappointment in the case of failure.

Operant conditioning is similar to classical conditioning in that both are concerned with how we can teach others how to behave. Operant conditioning adds the concept of a reinforcer or a reward. The basic idea of operant conditioning is that behaviors which are followed by something pleasurable will be reinforced; the reinforcement will result in the behavior being repeated (Ormrod & Rice, 2003, p. 68). Operant conditioning can occur effectively at all levels of development including early adulthood providing that a suitable reinforcer can be identified for the individuals. To better understand the implications of this behavior theory, it is also important to understand the following terms: baseline behavior, terminal behavior, shaping, and extinction.



Cognitivism (Jean Piaget, Robert Gagne, Lev Vygotsky)


Cognitivism is “the psychology of learning which emphasizes human cognition or intelligence as a special endowment enabling man to form hypotheses and develop intellectually” (Cognitivism) and is also known as cognitive development. The underlying concepts of cognitivism involve how we think and gain knowledge

Theory of the cognitivist

The cognitivist paradigm essentially argues that the “black box” of the mind should be opened and understood. The learner is viewed as an information processor (like a computer).

Cognitivism focuses on the “brain”.  How humans process and store information is very important in the process of learning.


  • Schema – An internal knowledge structure. New information is compared to existing cognitive structures called “schema”. Schema may be combined, extended or altered to accommodate new information.
  • Three-Stage Information Processing Model:
  • Input first enters a sensory register,
  • Then is processed in short-term memory, and
  • Then is transferred to long-term memory for storage and retrieval.


Sensory Register – receives input from senses which lasts from less than a second to four seconds and then disappears through decay or replacement. Much of the information never reaches short term memory but all information is monitored at some level and acted upon if necessary.


Short-Term Memory (STM) – sensory input that is important or interesting is transferred from the sensory register to the STM. Memory can be retained here for up to 20 seconds or more if rehearsed repeatedly. Short-term memory can hold up to 7 plus or minus 2 items. STM capacity can be increased if material is chunked into meaningful parts.


Long-Term Memory and Storage (LTM) – stores information from STM for long term use. Long-term memory has unlimited capacity. Some materials are “forced” into LTM by rote memorization and over learning.

Deeper levels of processing such as generating linkages between old and new information are much better for successful retention of material.

Factors that influence learning

  • Meaningful Effects– Meaningful information is easier to learn and remember. If a learner links relatively meaningless information with prior schema it will be easier to retain.


  • Serial Position Effects– It is easier to remember items from the beginning or end of a list rather than those in the middle of the list, unless that item is distinctly different.


  • Practice Effects– Practicing or rehearsing improves retention especially when it is distributed practice. By distributing practices the learner associates the material with many different contexts rather than the one context afforded by mass practice.


  • Transfer Effects– The effects of prior learning on learning new tasks or material.


  • Interference Effects – Occurs when prior learning interferes with the learning of new material.


  • Organization Effects– When a learner categorizes input such as a grocery list, it is easier to remember.


  • Levels of Processing Effects– Words may be processed at a low-level sensory analysis of their physical characteristics to high-level semantic analysis of their meaning. The more deeply a word is process the easier it will be to remember.


  • State Dependent Effects– If learning takes place within a certain context it will be easier to remember within that context rather than in a new context.



When information is needed a search is initiated as follows:

  • Search
    • A search is conducted in long-term memory.
  • Retrieval
    • When the information is found, it is retrieved.
  • Response organization
    • The information is sent to a response generator, another mechanism which organizes a suitable response.
  • Performance
    • The response generator sends the signal to effectors, body parts such as the hands or eyes, which carry out the action.
  • Feedback and reinforcement

The mind observes the effect of its performance and prepares itself to repeat the process as appropriate in answer to the response perceived.

How does learning take place in the cognitivist classroom


  • Human intelligence and biological organisms function in similar ways.  They are both organized systems that constantly interact with the environment.
  • Knowledge is the interaction between the individual and the environment.
  • Cognitive development is the growth of logical thinking from infancy to adulthood.


  • Vygotsky’scomponents of Cognitive Development:
  • Mastering symbols of the culture and developing the cultural forms of reasoning.
  • Complex functions begin as social interactions between individuals; gradually acquire meaning and are internalized by the learner.
  • Speech and other symbols are first mastered as a form of communication and eventually structure and manage a child’s thinking.
  • Zone of Proximal Development focuses on interactive problem solving.


3.6.8 Pedagogical Implications of Cognitivism Theory to the Teaching and Learning of Science

Relevance of Cognitivism to the teaching of science

Cognitivists believe learners develop learning through receiving, storing and retrieving information.

With this idea, it is important for instructional designers (teachers):

  • To thoroughly analyze and consider the appropriate tasks needed in order for learners to effectively and efficiently process the information received.
  • Consider the relevant learner characteristics that will promote or impede the cognitive processing of information.
  • To do task analysis and learner analysis
  • To create tests
  • To create learning materials according to any one of the Instructional Design Models

Learning activities in the cognitivist classroom


  • Demonstrations
  • Illustrative examples
  • Gestalt Theory (the whole theory)
  • Matched non-examples
  • Corrective feedback
  • Outlining
  • Mnemonics
  • Dual-Coding Theory (The Dual Coding Theory assumes there are two cognitive subsystems, one specialized for the representation and processing of nonverbal objects and the other specialized for dealing with language)
  • Chunking Information (Chunking refers to the strategy of breaking down information into bite-sized pieces so the brain can more easily digest new information.)
  • Repetition
  • Concept Mapping (concept mapping is a technique to visualize relationships between different concepts)
  • Advanced Organizers (they are simply devices used in the introduction of a topic which enable learners to orient themselves to the topic, so that they can locate where any particular bit of input fits in and how it links with what they already know)
  • Analogies
  • Summaries
  • Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivation (According to John Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivational Design, there are four steps for promoting and sustaining motivation in the learning process: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction (ARCS).
  • Interactivity
  • Synthesis
  • Schema Theory
  • Metaphor
  • Generative Learning
  • Organizational strategies
  • Elaboration Theory (According to elaboration theory, instruction should be organized in increasing order of complexity for optimal learning.)

 Characteristics of the cognitivist classroom

  1. Task analysis
  2. Prerequisite skills

Cognitive objectives-According to Bloom[Bloom, B. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Book 1, Cognitive Domain. NY” Longman] this domain includes six intellectual skills proceeding from simple to complex and includes:

  1. Knowledge-ability to remember learned informationExample: The student states the definitions of Cognitivism and Constructionism upon completing this presentation
  2. Comprehension-ability to understand the information learnedExample:  The student describes the differences between Cognitivism and Constructivism
  3. Application-ability to apply the new information in concrete situationsExample: The student learns how to use Blooms taxonomy to construct objectives for a class they will teach.
  4. Analysis-ability to separate important from non-important informationExample: The student describes the advantages of using objectives to measure learning.
  5. Synthesis-ability to reconstruct pieces of information to form new information Example: The student utilizes characteristics of Constructivism and Cognitivism to teach material.
  6. Evaluation-ability to judge the new informationExample: The student describes if and how the teaching strategy utilizing Cognitivism and Constructivism was effective

4.Learning taxonomies-According to Gagne [Gagne, R. (1974). Essentials of Learning of Instruction. Hinsdale, IL: Dryden Press.] The intellectual skills include:


  1. Signal
  2. Stimulus-response
  • Chaining-this includes more than one stimulus-response links
  1. Verbal association
  2. Multiple discrimination-which allows for different responses to stimuli
  3. Concept formation-identifying and responding to a class of objects
  • Principle formation-applying at least one chain of two or more concepts
  • Problem solving-processing 2 or more principles


Role of learners in the cognitivist classroom

  • Learners process, store, and retrieve information for later use, creating associations and creating a knowledge set useful for living.
  • Learner use information processing approach to transfer and assimilate new information.
  • Learners answer questions and ask questions

Role of the teacher in the cognitivist classroom

  • Manages problem solving and structured search activities, especially with group learning strategies.
  • Provides opportunities for students to connect new information to schema.
  • Coordinator and facilitator


Implications of Cognitivism in the Science Classroom

In a classroom environment, there are many variables that influence and contribute to learning.  When creating and implementing a learning environment, it is imperative that the teachers not only create a setting that promotes learning, but also take the time to understand each child.  Classrooms are widely diverse and complex.

Students learn differently and are at various developmental levels. Teachers who properly manage their classrooms and establish expectations will be able to incorporate diverse teaching philosophies and create an excellent learning environment for each student.

It is important that teachers create a learning environment that encourages students to do their best and makes learning interesting.  This creates a motivational climate within the classroom.

When designing lessons from a behaviorist stance, the designer (teacher) should:

  • Analyze the situation and sets a goal. Individual tasks should be broken down into smaller tasks and learning objectives developed from them.
  • Evaluation should consist of determining whether the criterion for the objectives has been met. In this approach the designer should decide what is important for the learner to know and attempt to transfer that knowledge to the learner.
  • The learning package should be somewhat of a closed system, though it can allow for some branching and remediation, the learner should be confined to the designer’s “world”.
  • Carefully assess the current stage of a child’s cognitive development and only assign tasks for which the child is prepared.  The child can then be given tasks that are tailored to their developmental level and are motivating.
  • Provide children with learning opportunities that enable them to advance through each developmental stage. This is achieved by creating disequilibrium. Teachers should maintain a proper balance between actively guiding the child and allowing opportunities for them to explore things on their own to learn through discovery.
  • Be concerned with the process of learning rather than the end product.  For example, the teacher should observe the way a child manipulates play dough instead of concentrating on a finished shape.
  • Children should be encouraged to learn from each other. Hearing others’ views can help breakdown egocentrism. It is important for teachers to provide multiple opportunities for small group activities.
  • Piaget believed that teachers should act as guides to children’s learning processes and that the curriculum should be adapted to individual needs and developmental levels.

Strength of Cognitivism

  • Unlike Behaviorism, which is environment-focused, Cognitivism directs instructional designers to consider the learner as the focus of the design process.
  • The goal is to train learners to do a task the same way to enable consistency. Because learners are trained to perform a function the same way based on specific cues, their behavior will be consistent with others who are trained in the same manner.
  • The context of a learner – their thoughts, beliefs and values are influential in the learning process.

Weakness of Cognitivism

A major weakness of Cognitivism lies in its strength.

  • Whereas schemas help to make learning more meaningful, a learner is largely at a disadvantage whenever relevant schemas or prerequisite knowledge do not exist. (To account for this, an instructional designer will need to ensure that the instruction is appropriate for all skill levels and experiences. Designing such instruction could be costly and time-consuming).
  • One additional weakness of Cognitivism is similar to behaviorism. There are only finite, predetermined goals. Having predetermined goals may be in fact desirable for an organization since it offers clear direction and purpose but such a fixed set of expectations can limit the potential of the learning. Learners and instructors may become satisfied with obtaining minimum competencies or carry the attitude that “if it’s not broke, then don’t fix it!” when the learning experience could actually be designed better (McLeod, n.d.)
  • As with behaviorism, the learner knows a certain way to do things based upon specific cues, but that way may not always be the best, most efficient, or safest way to do something in the advent of different environmental stresses or scenarios.


The unit covered the following sub-topics:

3.1 Who is a good Learner?

3.2 What is learning?

3.3 Principles of learning:

3.4 Two Main Ways of Learning

3.5 Categories of learning

3.6 Constructivist, Behavioural and Cognitive Theories of Learning









SEE ALL Add a note
Add your Comment

Welcome To.


The official komenco LMS where you learn at the comfort of your home.
Learn more

Subscribe From

Orbit I.T Training and Services Ltd © 2019. All rights reserved.
Skip to toolbar