If you have ever taken courses in education, you have probably heard and learned all about learning theory. You might have even taken entire courses related to learning theory. Learning theory is often used in both education and psychology and relates to understanding the way a person learns. This information is very important to both fields because it helps others understand ways to effectively teach others.
There are three types of learning theories. The first learning theory is called constructivism. This is when the person, or learner, builds new opinions or concepts based on their current education or knowledge or past knowledge. For example, a child might learn hold onto a balloon string because he or she let one go and it flew away. People learn using this theory all the time and on a daily basis. Babies learn using this method and so do toddlers. You learn not to touch a hot pan not because someone told you, but because you might have touched one in the past and you know the experience was unpleasant.
The other two learning theories are called behaviorism and instructivism. The first learning theory, behaviorism, is when a person learns a behaviors by conditioning. This can relate to positive reinforcement or punishment. A behavior will change based on outside conditions that directly affect the person. If a person is given rewards, then he or she will remember and will likely repeat that behavior again.
Instructivism is the other learning theory that is widely accepted in the education field. This is when a person or student learns through instruction for another source, whether it is from a teacher or a book, or even the Internet. This can be self-taught education or that which is learned in a classroom environment.
Learning theory is widely accepted and studied. By understanding the different ways in which a person learns, one can better understand how to teach.