Learning is the change of belief/understanding, attitude/emotion or behaviour as a result of acquiring new knowledge/information, skills or habits.

    Learning involves the change of one of these three areas:

   1) Cognition/Belief: Way of thinking

   2) Attitude: Perspective/Opinion

   3) Behaviour: Doing things/performance

      Learning is also defined as a permanent change of any of these three areas: Cognition, Emotion/Attitude or Behaviour

      The change result from experience and not due to fatigue, maturation, drugs, injury or disease


Cognitive learning: acquisition of knowledge/information/ideas. The result is the new way of processing information (thinking, reasoning, imagination and decision making).

 Affective learning:  Change of attitude (our evaluation to things/people) or emotions (feelings) because of change of cognition

Motor learning: Change of doing things as a result of acquisition of new physical skills.

    Involve physical competencies such as riding a bicycle, walking, running, handling a cup/knife and other common self help skills


1.A change in behavior (actions not mental operations) is the only basis for concluding that learning has occurred.

2.  The environment is the source of all changes that happen to the behaviour. The learner is a passive recipient of the environmental influences.

3.Behavior should be studied at its simplest, most fundamental level (not complex behaviour)

4. Learning is understood by 1) contiguity (simultaneity of the stimulus and response events) and effect of behaviour (punishment or reinforcement).

 5.  Principles of learning derived from research with animals should apply to humans.


      Regarded as the simplest form of learning (does not require complex cognitive processes).

      It is learning by association (one event is associated with another event because of the past experience of the two events taking place simultaneously)


      Unconditioned stimulus (US) elicits an automatic response  (UR) without learning.

      If US continuously elicits response in the presence of neutral stimulus (NS) which does elicit response it begins to elicit similar response that it previously did not elicit.

      Neutral stimulus is changed to Conditioned stimulus (since it can elicit similar response by US)

      Learning takes place (unconsciously) when the neutral stimulus changes to conditioned.


      Emotional reactions of students which takes place unconsciously depends on the nature of pairing (conditioning) the students has experienced.

      Teacher needs to know what student pairs in classrooms and try to minimize unpleasant experiences.

      Direct instruction approach to teaching is important 


      Thorndike used the puzzle box which studied cat’s intelligence to learn how to escape from the box.

      The puzzle box had the string which could be pulled to open the door locks

      To make the cat motivated to get out, a dead fish was placed outside the box as reward for the cat.

      The cat used trial and error strategies to get out and finally could.

      The second time the cat is placed inside the box, the cat escapes quicker meaning that it had reduced some errors.

      Learning is connecting the need with the stimulus that satisfies that need (reinforcement).


      Law of Effect: The effect of the response leads to its being learned or not learned.

      Learning takes place when the learner is ready (maturation, previous learning, motivation, and characteristics of the learner)

      The connection between the response and reinforcement is strengthened with exercise/practice.

      Previously learned attitude or experience affects the new learning.


      Reward correct trials (provide opportunity for students to try and reward the correct ones).

      Determine student’s attitude and encourage students to develop positive attitude towards creativity and learning.

      Teaching a learner who is ready for that particular learning.

      Facilitate transfer of learning to a variety of learning situations.


      Learning (behavior) is a result of voluntary consequences (which can strengthen or weaken the behaviour).

      Operant means deliberate operations performed by the organism to manipulating the environment

      Learning is the change of behaviour by either rewarding or punishing the emitted responses to increase or reduce the chances that the response will re-occur.


      Positive Reinforcement (reward): Strengthening a behavior (increasing the probability that it will reoccur) by presenting a

    positive stimulus

      Negative Reinforcement (relief): Strengthening a behavior by removing a negative stimulus

      Presentation Punishment (Type I): Weakening a behavior (decreasing) the probability that it will reoccur) by presenting an aversive stimulus

      Removal Punishment (Type II, or time-out): Weakening a behavior by removing a positive stimulus 

Should the reinforcement be big or small to strengthen the behaviour?  

  Answer: Effective learning results when the reward is small  and scarce (not continuous)


Reinforcement schedule:  how reinforcement is presented to the organism in order to increase the possibility that the behaviour will occur.

Continuous reinforcement: Reinforce every time the correct response is made

Intermittent reinforcement: reinforce only for some of the correct responses

Fixed Interval Schedule: Reinforce only after a specific amount of time has elapsed

Variable Interval Schedule: Reinforce only after variable intervals of time have elapsed

Fixed Ratio Schedule: reinforce only after a specific number of those responses are made

Variable Ratio Schedule: reinforce only after variable numbers of responses are     


      Effect on rate of learning (amount of time required to learn a correct response)

      In early stages of learning, continuous reinforcement is most effective. However, after learning has occurred, intermittent reinforcement is more effective.

      Effect on rate of extinction (time between cessation of a response and withdrawal of reinforcement)

      After learning has occurred, continuous reinforcement causes rapid extinction (decreases/ceases)

      Effect on rate of responding (number of responses emitted by an organism)

      Variable ratios and intervals are more effective since the organism does not know exactly when the reinforcement will be provided (anticipation)




      This is reinforcing successive approximations to the complex behavior.

      Complex behaviour cannot be taught easily by waiting for correct responses/operants.

      Reward simple behaviour which lead to the learning of the complex behaviour.

Generalization: Learner makes a particular response to a particular stimulus and then makes the same or a similar response in a slightly different situation

Discrimination: the learner notices the unique aspects of seemingly similar situations and thus responds differently.


      Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) which monitors students’ performance and rewards the correct responses immediately.

      In our context, closely monitor the progress of individual students and reward them immediately.

      Rewarding positive progress toward the desired (ideal) performance is particularly more useful for low achieving students.

        Teach new information and skills and provide an opportunity to apply what was learned in a meaningful context

      Practice knowledge and skills learned earlier to produce fast and accurate responses

      Behavior modification where the behaviour is changed by combination of reinforcement and punishment


      Provides an excellent bridge between behaviourism and cognitivism.

      The theory introduces cognitive function as a factor influencing the behaviour, environment still provides an important framework for human behaviour.

      Humans can anticipate, reason and decide to act or not to act (and therefore can not be reduced to simple recipients of environment)

       Environment and situation provide the framework for understanding behavior.

Environment: factors that can affect a person’s behavior (physical and social)

Situation: cognitive or mental representations of the environment that may affect a person’s behavior.

      The three factors 1) environment, 2) person and 3) behavior are constantly influencing each other (reciprocal determinism)

      Observational learning(social learning): learning by watching the actions of another person and the reinforcements that the person receives.

      The learner acquires the patterns of behaviours that conform to social expectations


      Humans can learn by observing others, in addition to learning by participating in an act personally (vicarious  learning).

      Individuals are most likely to imitate the behavior of the person they identify with (emotional attachment)


Behavioural change that results of exposure to models (vicarious learning, observational learning) For example, learning aggressive skills from cartoon characters)

 Powerful model:

      Those who controlled rewards (such as parents- they have rewards to give)

      Significant others who used punishment (such as parents).

       Those who have skills to make them receive a reward

      Those who were influential such as knowledgeable peers even when they were punished.

 Influencing Social Learning

      Attentional processes: Observing and attend the Behavior (powerful model)

      Retention processes: Remembering It

      Motor Reproduction Processes: Doing It

      Motivational Processes: Wanting It


Direct reinforcement : The learner receives the reward directly

Vicarious reinforcement: The learner observes another person (usually the model) being reinforced

Self reinforcement: The learner rewards him/herself for the perceived performance of the behaviour.


      Teachers need to model the behaviours they expect students to have.

      Expose students to appropriate models and provide direction for retention and reproduction.

      Create environment to gain the attention of learners in the aspects of learning they are expected to acquire.

       Encourage motivation among learners (self reinforcement, vicarious reinforcement and direct reinforcement)

      Increase learners self efficacy but making them believe they can achieve what they are expected to achieve.












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