Learning Theories by dffhrtcv3


Last Week: Behaviourism
   The cognitivist revolution
    replaced behaviourism in
    1960s/1970s as the dominant
   We recall Chomsky's argument
    that language could not be
    acquired purely through
    conditioning (even though
    radical behaviourists never
    argued that), and must be at
    least partly explained by the
    existence of internal mental

   Cognitivism argues that the “black box” of the
    mind should be opened and understood.
   The learner is viewed as an information
   …or a computer
   Mental processes such as thinking, memory,
    knowing, and problem-solving need to be
   Knowledge can be seen as schema or
    symbolic mental constructions.
   Learning is defined as change in a learner’s
   There is a great deal of ambiguity in the
    education literature as to what constitutes
    Cognitivism, and how it different from
   What follows is my take on things…
   There is a great deal of ambiguity in the
    education literature as to what constitutes
    Cognitivism, and how it different from
   What follows is my take on things…

Proto-Cognitivism   Cognitivism                    Constructivism
Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt Psychology
   Gestalt - "essence or shape of an entity's
    complete form"

   "The whole is greater than the sum of the
    parts" is often used when explaining Gestalt
Gestalt Psychology
   But it is better stated that the qualities of the
    whole have additional qualities that that parts
    do not have, e.g. the four lines on the right
    have the additional quality of “squareness”
    that the lines on the left do not.
Gestalt Psychology

   Gestaltists see objects as perceived
    within an environment according to all of
    their elements taken together as a global
Max Wertheimer

   Born April 15, 1880
   Died Oct 12, 1943
   Born in Prague, Czech
   Psychologist
   Father of Gestalt
   In 1910 he bought a toy
   He saw two separate and
    alternating light patterns
   He discovered that if the
    spacing, on-time, and off-
    time were just right for
    these lights, his mind would
    perceive the dual lights as
    one single flashing light
    moving back and forth
Phi phenomenon
   a perceptual illusion in
    which a perception of
    motion is produced by a
    succession of still
   Lead to important
    questions about how
    perception and the
    brain works.
Kurt Koffka
   Born March 18, 1886
   Died Nov 22, 1941
   Born in Berlin,
   Psychologist
   Another of the founders
    of Gestalt psychology
   Learning theorist
Theories on learning

   Koffka believed that most of early learning is what
    he referred to as, "sensorimotor learning," which is a
    type of learning which occurs after a consequence.
    For example, a child who touches a hot stove will
    learn not to touch it again.
Theories on learning

   Koffka also believed that a lot of learning occurs by
    imitation, though he argued that it is not important to
    understand how imitation works, but rather to
    acknowledge that it is a natural occurrence.

   According to Koffka, the highest type of learning is
    “ideational learning”, which makes use of language.
Wolfgang Köhler
   Born in Jan 21, 1887
   Died in June 11, 1967
   Born in Reval (now
    Tallinn), Estonia
   Psychologist and
   Another of the founders
    of Gestalt psychology
Problem solving
   In 1913, Köhler went to the
    island of Tenerife in the
    Canary Islands for six years
   Köhler observed the manner in
    which chimpanzees solve
    problems, such as that of
    retrieving bananas when
    positioned out of reach. He
    found that they stacked
    wooden crates to use as
    makeshift ladders, in order to
    retrieve the food.
   If the bananas were placed on
    the ground outside of the cage,
    they used sticks to lengthen
    the reach of their arms.
Problem solving
   Köhler concluded that the chimps
    had not arrived at these methods
    through trial-and-error (which
    American psychologist Edward
    Thorndike had claimed to be the
    basis of all animal learning,
    through his law of effect), but
    rather that they had experienced
    an insight (also sometimes known
    as an “aha experience”), in which,
    having realized the answer, they
    then proceeded to carry it out in a
    way that was, in Köhler’s words,
    “unwaveringly purposeful”.
The bouba/kiki effect
The bouba/kiki effect
   The Bouba/Kiki Effect
    was first observed by
    Wolfgang Köhler in
The bouba/kiki effect
   In psychological experiments, first conducted on
    the island of Tenerife (in which the primary
    language is Spanish), Köhler showed forms in
    the previous slides asked participants which
    shape was called "takete" and which was called
    "baluba" ("maluma" in the 1947 version). Data
    suggested a strong preference to pair the jagged
    shape with "takete" and the rounded shape with
The bouba/kiki effect
   In 2001, Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and
    Edward Hubbard repeated Köhler's experiment
    using the words "kiki" and "bouba" and asked
    American college undergraduates and Tamil
    speakers in India “Which of these shapes is
    bouba and which is kiki?”
   In both the English and the Tamil speakers, 95%
    to 98% selected the curvy shape as "bouba" and
    the jagged one as "kiki", suggesting that the
    human brain is somehow able to extract abstract
    properties from the shapes and sounds.
The bouba/kiki effect

   Recent work by Daphne Maurer and colleagues
    has shown that even children as young as 2.5
    (too young to read) show this effect.

   Ramachandran and Hubbard suggest that the
    kiki/bouba effect has implications for the
    evolution of language, because it suggests that
    the naming of objects is not completely arbitrary.
The bouba/kiki effect

   The rounded shape may most commonly be
    named "bouba" because the mouth makes a
    more rounded shape to produce that sound
    while a more taut, angular mouth shape is
    needed to make the sound "kiki".

   The sounds of a K are harder and more forceful
    than those of a B, as well.
The bouba/kiki effect

   The presence of these "synesthesia-like
    mappings" suggest that this effect might be the
    neurological basis for sound symbolism, in
    which sounds are non-arbitrarily mapped to
    objects and events in the world.
The bouba/kiki effect

   Individuals with autism do not show as strong a
    preference. Where average people agree with
    the typical result 90% of the time, individuals
    with autism only agree 60% of the time
    (Ramachandran, V.S., Oberman, L.M. Evidence
    for Deficits in Mirror Neuron Function,
    Multisensory Integration, and Sound-form
    Symbolism in Autism Spectrum Disorders)
      Main principles
of Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt Principles
   Emergence
   Reification
   Multistability
   Invariance
   Prägnanz
Principle of Emergence

   Objects in an images are not recognised by
    their component parts, but are rather
    perceived as a whole, all at once.
Principle of Emergence
Principle of Emergence
Principle of Emergence

   The dog is not recognized by first identifying
    its parts (feet, ears, nose, tail, etc.), and then
    inferring the dog from those component parts.

   Instead, the dog is perceived as a whole, all
    at once.
Principle of Reification

   the experienced percept contains more
    explicit spatial information than the sensory
    stimulus on which it is based.
Principle of Reification
Principle of Multistability

   the tendency of ambiguous perceptual
    experiences to pop back and forth unstably
    between two or more alternative
Principle of Multistability
Principle of Multistability
Principle of Multistability
Principle of Multistability
Principle of Multistability
Principle of Invariance
   the property of perception whereby simple
    geometrical objects are recognized
    independent of rotation, translation, and
    scale; as well as several other variations
    such as elastic deformations, different
    lighting, and different component features.
Principle of Invariance
Principle of Prägnanz
   we tend to order our experience in a manner
    that is regular, orderly, symmetric, and
   This results in other more basic laws
       Law of Closure
       Law of Similarity
       Law of Proximity
       Law of Continuity
       Law of Common Fate
Law of Closure
    The mind may experience elements it does not
     perceive through sensation, in order to complete
     a regular figure (that is, to increase regularity).
Law of Similarity
   The mind groups similar elements into
    collective entities or totalities. This similarity
    might depend on relationships of form,
    colour, size, or brightness.
Law of Proximity
    Spatial or temporal proximity of elements may
     induce the mind to perceive a collective or totality.
Law of Symmetry
   Symmetrical images are perceived
    collectively, even in spite of distance.
Law of Continuity
    The mind continues visual, auditory, and kinetic
Law of Common Fate
    Elements with the same moving direction are
     perceived as a collective or unit.
An Investigation of the spatial perception of
time multiplexing during the simulation of
motion of objects
   The project investigated the
    physiology and psychology of
    visual perception, and attempted
    to explain the illusion in those
   The psychology investigation
    centred on Gestalt Psychology
    and how the principles in Gestalt
    psychology co-operate to cause
    the formation of illusory
   I designed an LED Array system
    whose display characteristics
    could be varied in software to
    assist in supporting the
    proposed theory.
   In addition the research appears
    to have found a way of
    measuring the persistence of
    vision of illusory contours for
    very short periods of time.
Instructional Design
    Kurt Lewin
   Born Sept 9, 1890
   Died Feb 12, 1947
   Born in Mogilno, Poland
   Psychologist
   "founder of social
   Worked closely with the
    Gestalt psychologists
Force field Analysis
   provides a framework for
    looking at the factors
    (forces) that influence a
    situation, originally social
   Lewin believed the "field" to
    be a Gestalt psychological
    environment existing in an
    individual's (or in the
    collective group) mind at a
    certain point in time that can
    be mathematically
    described in a topological
    constellation of constructs.
Action Research
   first coined the term “action
    research” in about 1944. In
    his 1946 paper “Action
    Research and Minority
    Problems” he described
    action research as “a
    comparative research on
    the conditions and effects of
    various forms of social
    action and research leading
    to social action” that uses “a
    spiral of steps, each of
    which is composed of a
    circle of planning, action,
    and fact-finding about the
    result of the action”.
Instructional Design
   Active Learning
       Instruction must be planned with a clear vision of what the students will do
        with the content presented. It is critical that students interact with the
        instructional content and that activities be developed to promote and support
        open-ended, self-directed learning. Content should never be delivered for
        memorization, but instead for use as a tool in planned and sequenced
   A Cohesive Approach
       Lewin wrote that a piecemeal approach to guiding learners to accept new
        ideas, attitudes, and behaviors is ineffective. Instead, a cohesive approach
        must be utilized to support changes in cognition, affect, and behavior.
   Impact of the Social Environment
       Lewin theorized that before changes in ideas, attitudes, and behavior will
        occur, modifications in a learner's perception of self and his/her social
        environment are essential. He also argued that it is easier to create change
        in a social context than individually.
       More work on
Instructional Design
Instructional Design
   Maximise the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of
    instruction and other learning experiences.
   The process consists of determining the current
    state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal
    of instruction, and creating some "intervention" to
    assist in the transition.
   The outcome of this instruction may be directly
    observable and scientifically measured or
    completely hidden and assumed.
Robert Mills Gagné
   Born in Aug 21, 1916
   Died in April 28, 2002
   Born in in North Andover,
   educational psychologist
   best known for his
    “Conditions of Learning”
   involved in applying
    instructional theory to the
    design of computer based
The Gagné Assumption
   different types of learning exist, and that
    different instructional conditions are most
    likely to bring about these different types of
Five Categories of Learning
   verbal information
   intellectual skills
   cognitive strategies
   motor skills
   attitudes
Eight Types of Learning
1.   Signal Learning - The individual learns to make a general, diffuse
     response to a signal. Such was the classical conditioned response of
2.   Stimulus-Response Learning - The learner acquires a precise
     response to a discriminated stimulus.
3.   Chaining - A chain of two or more stimulus-response connections is
4.   Verbal Association - The learning of chains that are verbal.
5.   Discrimination Learning - The individual learns to make different
     identifying responses to many different stimuli that may resemble each
     other in physical appearance.
6.   Concept Learning - The learner acquires a capability of making a
     common response to a class of stimuli.
7.   Rule Learning - A rule is a chain of two or more concepts.
8.   Problem Solving - A kind of learning that requires the internal events
     usually called thinking.
Gagné’s Nine Events of
Nine Events of Instruction
1.   Gain attention - Curiosity motivates students to learn.
2.   Inform learners of objectives - These objectives should form the basis for
3.   Stimulate recall of prior learning - Associating new information with prior
     knowledge can facilitate the learning process.
4.   Present the content - This event of instruction is where the new content is
     actually presented to the learner.
5.   Provide “learning guidance” - use of examples, non-examples, case studies,
     graphical representations, mnemonics, and analogies.
6.   Elicit performance (practice) - Eliciting performance provides an opportunity
     for learners to confirm their correct understanding, and the repetition further
     increases the likelihood of retention.
7.   Provide feedback - guidance and answers provided at this stage are called
     formative feedback.
8.   Assess performance - take a final assessment.
9.   Enhance retention and transfer to the job - Effective education will have a
     "performance" focus.
   Born Feb 3, 1920
   Age 90
   Born in Charleston,
    West Virginia
   Psychologist and
    Cognitive Scientist
   founder of WordNet
   “Miller’s Magic Number”
Information Processing Theory
   TOTE: “Test-Operate-Test-
    an iterative problem solving
    strategy based on feedback
       test where the system is        Test     Exit
       then perform some
        operation that makes a
       then retest again,
       and to repeat this until the   Operate
        answer is satisfactory, at
        which point the process is
        complete and ends (or
Information Processing Theory
   The following is an example
    of a simple TOTE: When
    driving a car and looking for
    the appropriate turn off.
                                            Problem    Test     Exit

       Test - is this the turnoff? - No
       Operate - keep driving
       Test - is this the turnoff? - No
       Operate - keep driving
       Test - is this the turnoff? - Yes
       Exit
Miller’s Magic Number

Miller’s Magic Number
   "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two:
    Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing
    Information" (Miller 1956) is one of the most highly
    cited papers in psychology
   He looked at Memory span - which is a long list of
    items (e.g., digits, letters, words) that a person can
    repeat back immediately after presentation in correct
   Miller observed that memory span of young adults is
    approximately 7 chunks. He noticed that memory
    span is approximately the same for stimuli with
    vastly different amount of information .
Charles M. Reigeluth
   Elaboration Theory
       instruction is made out of
        layers and that each layer of
        instruction elaborates on the
        previously presented ideas. By
        elaborating on the previous
        ideal, it reiterates, thereby
        improving retention
           Present overview of simplest
            and most fundamental ideas
           Add complexity to one aspect
           Review the overview and
            show relationships to the
           Provide additional elaboration
            of details
           Provide additional summary
            and synthesis
Reigeluth’s Elaboration Theory
Charles M. Reigeluth
        The Eight Steps in Elaboration Theory
    1.     Organizing Course Structure: Single organisation for complete course
    2.     Simple to complex: start with simplest ideas, in the first lesson, and then
           add elaborations in subsequent lessons.
    3.     Within-lesson sequence: general to detailed, simple to complex, abstract
           to concrete.
    4.     Summarizers: content reviews presented in rule-example-practice format
    5.     Synthesizers: Presentation devices that help the learner integrate content
           elements into a meaningful whole and assimilate them into prior knowledge,
           e.g. a concept hierarchy, a procedural flowchart or decision table, or a
           cause-effect model .
    6.     Analogies: relate the content to learners' prior knowledge, use multiple
           analogies, especially with a highly divergent group of learners.
    7.     Cognitive strategies: variety of cues - pictures, diagrams, mnemonics, etc.
           - can trigger cognitive strategies needed for processing of material.
    8.     Learner control: Learners are encouraged to exercise control over both
           content and instructional strategy. Clear labelling and separation of strategy
           components facilitates effective learner control of those components.

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