Learning Theories In Teaching Essay

2337 words - 10 pages



I would like to discuss and evaluate a range of learning theories, linking these discussions of each theory to health and safety in the workplace and other such health and safety subjects that I teach to a range of learners.
I am going to be looking at behaviorism, and how the learners adapt to enthusiasm, and their environment, when learning about health and safety. Secondly, looking at cognitive learning, helping my learners to recall on what they already know about health and safety in their workplace, and linking it back to new information given, with exams and tests to influence the memory. Finally I’ll be linking my teaching to ...view middle of the document...

I try to make sure I am there for work early and the room is set and ready for my learners, showing a calm environment to learn, and of course professionalism, as health and safety is deemed as a very serious subject. And third, the principles of contiguity or how close in time two events must be for a bond to be formed, and reinforcement which is any means of increasing the likelihood that an event will be repeated, i.e. risk assessments in the workplace etc, are central to explaining the learning process.
For behaviorism, l think I can best describe this learning is the acquisition of new behavior through conditioning. There are two main types of conditioning, the first as described by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. Pavlov, I. P. (1927).
1) Classical conditioning, where the behavior becomes a reflex response to stimulus as in the case of Pavlov's Dogs. Pavlov was interested in studying reflexes, when he saw that the dogs drooled without the proper stimulus. Although no food was in sight, their saliva still dribbled. It turned out that the dogs were reacting to lab coats. Every time the dogs were served food, the person who served the food was wearing a lab coat. Therefore, the dogs reacted as if food was on its way whenever they saw a lab coat. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_conditioning)

2) Operant conditioning where there is reinforcement of the behavior by a reward or a punishment. The theory of operant conditioning was developed by B.F. Skinner and is known as Radical Behaviorism. The word ‘operant’ refers to the way in which behavior ‘operates on the environment’. Briefly, a behavior may result either in reinforcement, which increases the likelihood of the behavior recurring, or punishment, which decreases the likelihood of the behavior recurring. It is important to note that, a punishment is not considered to be applicable if it does not result in the reduction of the behavior, and so the terms punishment and reinforcement are determined as a result of the actions. Tucker, M., Sigafoos, J., & Bushell, H. (1998).

The conditioning theories explained are used in my workplace; I use the classic and the operant theories. Homework is set and the students must complete as part of the Nebosh health and safety course, punishment would be along the lines of failure to pass the exam at the end – a personal punishment to the delegate who has just completed 13 weeks’ worth of work. And a cost to the company as the course costs around £1000 pounds to sit and another £500 for to re-sit exams.


Two key assumptions underlie this approach, as described by Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky. One that the memory system is an active organized processor of information and two, that prior knowledge plays an important role in learning. Vygotsky states that “Cognitivists consider how human memory works to promote learning”. Daniels, H. (Ed.) (1996).
Vygotsky talked about language, He said “An infant learns the meaning of signs through...

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