Theories of Learning: Three Major Paradigms Essay
Precisely what is learning? According to Hergenhahn and Olson (2005), learning is defined as ” a relatively everlasting change in habit or behavioral potentiality that comes from experience and cannot be related to temporary human body states such as those activated by disease, fatigue, or perhaps drugs” (p. 8).
Study regarding learning is very important because it provides us a larger comprehension of how behavior is learned. By learning the learning process we can shape the environment to encourage normal behavior that is adaptive and prevent maladaptive and abnormal behavior. Understanding the concepts of learning can also create more effective results in both psychiatric therapy and educational practices. The study of learning has produced various learning theories which have been categorized in different paradigms.
Hergenhahn and Olson (2005), define a paradigm because “a perspective shared by simply several scientists that provides an over-all framework to get empirical study, and is generally more than just one particular theory” (p. 24). Two of the major paradigms are the functionalistic and associationistic paradigms. Discussion Within the functionalistic paradigm, theorists influenced by Darwin, make an effort to explain learning by finding and researching how mental and behavioral processes are related to an organism’s version to the environment (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). There are 3 main advocates whose hypotheses are predominately functionalistic.
These theorists include Edward Thorndike, Burrhus Frederick Skinner and Clark Leonard Hull. The first theorist, Edward Thorndike proposed the theory of connectionism which associated sensory situations to behavior and explained the relationship between stimuli and response as a connection. By conducting research with animals, Thorndike concluded that learning is accomplished through a procedure for trial-and-error which learning is incremental. He also concluded that learning is a direct process that does not require thought and reason.
This individual believed that all mammals find out in the same manner. Thorndike also suggested the theory of transfer to train. According to Hergenhahn and Olson (2005), Thorndike is actually a functionalistic theorist because his ideas put much emphasis on the practical aspects of habit and his tips were influenced by Darwinism.
The second theorist, Burrhus Fredrick Skinner, believed in the philosophy of major behaviorism. According to Hergenhahn and Olson (2005), significant behaviorism rejects mentalisitic occasions that cannot be observed to get more observable and measurable aspects of the environment, patterns and the effects of behavior. Like Thorndike, Skinner was as well influenced by writings of Darwin.
This individual believed that adaptive behavior is learned when it is reinforced by environment. This kind of idea generated his theory of operant conditioning. Hergenhahn and Olson explain that in operant conditioning, “any response that is certainly followed by a reinforcing stimulation tends to be repeated and that a reinforcing incitement is whatever increases the charge with which an operant response occurs” (p. 80). Skinner believed that by using operant conditioning, we could modify and control habit by controlling the reinforcement inside the environment.
Skinner described two types of encouragement, positive and negative and made a clear differentiation between unfavorable reinforcement and punishment. Through research this individual concluded that abuse is useless and should certainly not be used to regulate behavior. The final functionalistic theorist is Clark Leonard Outer skin.
Hergenhahn and Olson (2005) consider Outer skin a functionalistic theorist because he was not only influenced by Darwin, however the purpose of his theory was to, “explain adaptable behavior and understand the factors affecting it” (p. 131). Hull’s theory is very intricate and involves seventeen key postulates and 133 theorems.
Hull suggested that there are several variables that affect behavior. These variables are both independent, intervening or dependant variables. To summarize Hull’s theory, there must be an innate drive to learn, the organism must act on that drive and respond to this, the appropriate response must satisfy the need plus the response has to be reinforced to encourage the reoccurrence of that behavior. In the associationistic paradigm, theorists attempt to explain the process of learning by the laws of association which follow the principles of similarity, contrast, contiguity and rate of recurrence. The three theorists whose ideas are primarily associationistic are Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, Edwin Ray Guthrie, and William Kay Estes.
Ivan Pavlov’s significant theoretical notion of classical health emphasized contiguity. Hergenhahn and Olson (2005) describe classical conditioning as “an experimental layout whereby a stimulus is built to elicit a reply that was not previously connected with that stimulus” (p. 465).
Pavlov’s research of classical conditioning concluded that when a conditioned stimulus precedes an unconditioned stimulus it is going to elicit the conditioned response. Pavlov likewise noted which the uncontrolled stimulus must be present in order to avoid extinction. The 2nd associationistic theorist is Edwin Ray Guthrie.
A few of Guthrie’s major theoretical concepts are the law of contiguity, one-trial learning, as well as the recency principle. According to Hergenhahn and Olson (2005), Guthrie’s rules of contiguity is generally associationistic and states that, “when a combination of stimuli which includes accompanied a movement will certainly on its recurrence usually be then that movement” (p. 212). In his principle of one-trial learning, each time a stimulus is usually paired with a response, the affiliation between the two is finish on the 1st trial. Hergenhahn and Olson (2005) sum it up Guthrie’s’ recency principle since “whatever we did last under given circumstances will probably be what we is going to tend to do again if those circumstances are reencountered” (p.
213). The third mainly associanistic theorist is William Kay Estes. Este attemptedto explain just how stimuli are combined with answers through his theory of stimulus sampling. The major theoretical concepts of Estes incorporate generalization, spontaneous recovery and probability complementing.
In generalization, Hergenhahn and Olson (2005) explain that ” it tends for a great organism as a solution not only to the specific stimulus it had been trained on but likewise to other related stimuli depend upon which commonality between your two” (p. 470). Este’s concept of natural recovery suggests that the extinction process was not complete can be described as conditioned response reoccurs. In the theory of probability matching, Estes points out how subjects guessing the probability showing how many times a celebration occur with how often times the event basically occurs and just how they assimialte. All of Este’s theories are associationistic since they the actual law of continuity.
Realization Even though ideas are place into diverse paradigms primarily based on their primary emphasis, lots of the theories have ideas from other paradigms. I believe that the most beneficial theory to recover from the research on learning is Skinners’ theory of operant conditioning. Simply by understanding how learning is accomplished with usage of operant fitness through the use of great and bad reinforcement, we could modify and control patterns. Psychologists, father and mother and educators can benefit from this kind of knowledge.
Sources: Hergenhahn, N. R., & Olson, Meters. (2005). An intro to Theories of Learning. New Jersey: Pearson Education Incorporation.