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Teaching & Learning Center Resources

Learning Theories: Home

Learning Theories

What is it?

For centuries, people have been interested in how we humans learn and how we progress from novices to experts. There are many theories and models that describe these processes but we have outlined 4 below. These are important because they can inform how we design instruction, assessments, and the classroom environment. 


Behaviorism - All behaviors are learned through interacting with the environment. Learning occurs because the teachers provide rewards or punishments that lead to behavior changes. Learning can be assessed by using methods that quantify observable behaviors like exams. 


Cognitivism - We learn because of the way our minds take in, store, process, and access information. This theory also stresses metacognition. This theory highlights the learning process rather than the behavior change. 


Constructivism - Learners construct information based on their lived experiences and that new knowledge is constructed based on and integrated along with, prior knowledge.


Andragogy - This learning theory focuses specifically on how to teach and support adult learners particularly leveraging autonomy and life experiences.

Examples and Implementation

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