A Comparison of Theories of Learning

Behaviorist theories

These theories originated in the early 1990s and are of the view that learning consists of behavioral change as a result of an acquisition, reinforcement, and use of associations between environmental stimuli and the individual’s observable response (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 2014).
These theories were initiated in the 1950s and viewed people as not being collections of responses to external stimuli but as information processors. They are concerned with the complex mental phenomena. Under these theories, learning is seen as the knowledge acquisition, where the learner as the information processor absorbs the information, performs cognitive operations on it, and keeps it in his memory (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 2014). The learners are also viewed as passive recipients of knowledge by teachers, and the preferred approaches to learning are lecturing and reading from textbooks.

Constructivist theories

These principles are believed to have originated between the 1970s and 1980s. The states that learners should not be viewed as being passive recipients of information, rather, they see students as active constructors of their knowledge as a result of interacting with the environment and reorganization of their mental structures. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2014) notes that learners are sense makers as they interpret information obtained.

Social learning theories

Having been advanced by Albert Bandura, these theories embrace attention, memory, and motivation. He argues that it is through the social context within which people learn and where learning is facilitated through modeling, observational learning and imitation.

Socio-constructivism theories

The rise of situated cognition and learning perspective leads to the change in the learning view to include the significant role that social interaction plays. As such, learning and cognition are interactions between individuals and situations and knowledge is treated as situated and a product of activity, culture, and context in which it is generated and utilized.

An Outline of the Literature Review for the Article

  • A general overview of learning
  • Tutoring and teaching strategies
  • Learning styles
  • Verbal teaching
  • Visual teaching
  • Factors affecting learning
  • Social and cultural aspects
  • Contribution of a tutor
  • Causes of failures and successes in learning
  • Approaches to improving learning
  • A general overview of mathematics
  • Basic Algebra
  • Factors affecting the understanding of mathematics
  • Causes of mathematics anxiety
  • Techniques for handling math anxiety
  • Sampling Technique(S) used by the Author in the Article
  • Simple random sampling

The researcher could have used this technique since his population was homogeneous and readily available. All the frame’s subsets are given an equal probability of being chosen.

  • Stratified sampling technique

The researcher could also have adopted this method by dividing the population (students) into a number of distinct categories as was the case with the student/tutor session and the student/student session. These groups can be referred to as strata, and each stratum could be selected and individual elements randomly selected.

  • Data Collection Techniques Used by the Author
  • Observation

This is a systematic data collection technique where a researcher uses his senses to examine individuals in natural settings (McMillan, 2011). The author observed the many different purposes that the Basic Algebra served. In addition, he was also able to get the information on the department’s policy of offering the course.



The author carried out some interviews as an educational researcher after conducting observations. According to McMillan (2011), this technique is used to collect data through inquiries and its recording. Survey forms could be used in case of structured interviews while the enumerator takes notes as talking with respondents take place in case of open interviews. This technique assisted the researcher in establishing where and how the learning of students was held.


McMillan, J. H. (2011). Educational Research: Fundamentals for the Consumer, 6th Ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. (2014). Most influential theories of learning. Retrieved March 7, 2015, from United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/strengthening-education-systems/quality-framework/technical-notes/influential-theories-of-learning/

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