Since there are broad definitions of learning, contrasting the various definitions and processes of learning is beneficial for understanding the comparisons. According to Skinner, reinforcement theory is an element of behavior in which positive responses toward the learner means that the student will respond based on how good she feel after her accomplishments. When her task does not meet its goal, or if she gets an answer wrong, responding to the student in a negative way will relate to the student a negative feeling. She will learn by way of response to her actions. Skinner believes that this mode of continued reinforcement will propel the student to strive to learn and therefore shape her behavior toward trying to receive a positive response to what she has accomplished. Many school teachers use positive reinforcement in their classrooms. Worth noting, however, is that reinforcement theory may work with some adults as well; though not all persons have significant increasing intellectual capacity.
Carl Rogers believed that experience is what propelled the learner to gain knowledge. Rogers believed that we have a natural desire to learn, and therefore believed that meaningful learning would be a significant experience that would help the student retain the information. Rogers also believed that the learner must have trust in the person who is teaching them, and that that relationship is beneficial to the learner’s ability to integrate himself in the learning process.
Maslow believed that self actualization would lead the learner to achieve his goal. Maslow believed that first the basic needs of the learner must be met, and that with those needs met first, the learner was free to approach the next level without being distracted by taking care of basic human needs first. Once a safe environment is established, the student can begin to focus on the next level toward achieving his goal. Once the student overcomes any distractions, then he is free to choose what his next goal is and proceed to fulfill it. The learner would then be on his way to experience what is important to his s self- esteem and be able to understand himself and understand his world. Maslow believed that humans naturally aim to reach the next rung on the ladder, and that we will strive to get to the top.
Maslow’s learning theory differs from Skinner’s because Skinner believed that learning occurs with outside reinforcement, rather than internal motivation. Rogers’s theory differs from Maslow’s in that Rogers’ focus on learning theory was that the learner must first have trust in her teaching relationship; while Maslow believed that once basic needs are met, the learner was free to explore his own self acceptance. The Maslow way means that the learner begins to trust himself, not necessarily others around him first.
Gagne believed that learning was a process from birth in which the student strives to have his intellectual needs met and then builds on the skills he learned first. Gagne’s thoughts on learning meant that the student first acquires the building blocks and then is able to store information to be used as he grows. Maslow’s building blocks are visualized by rungs on a ladder and initiated by personal fulfillment, whereas Gagne’s ladder is visualized as building blocks in which the physical base is built upon from birth with a kind of physiological capacity to begin the process of brain building and then with intellect building on cognition, and cognition building on motor skills.
Bruner believed that learning was based on discovery and that learning is a process. Bruner believed that this process is derived from personal experiences, while interest for the material is facilitated, or helped along, by environment. Bruner believes that the student’s past experience, and current interest, is what gets the student to go to the next stage of cognitive development.
Bloom‘s idea of learning is also similar to Maslow’s pyramid and Gagne’s ladder. Bloom’s visual is a stairway, where knowledge and recall of that knowledge is the first step. The next step would be to understand the material and to understand our use for the material. Bloom said recall and a development of abilities is what gives way for changes and growth. After understanding, the learner can apply the material. After the person applies the material, he can then analyze the information, then use it, and evaluate it. Like exercise, these steps are viewed by Bloom as an ‘activity’. It is important to Bloom’s theory of learning that the completer take the time to reflect on the accomplishment. In contrast to most other learning theories, Bloom’s idea conveys that learning is not just a process but many processes that will continue over and over again.
Of the theorists; I agree with Maslow, Bloom, and Gagne. At the same time, I do believe that different theories can be applied to different situations. And my theory cumulatively would likely be considered a holistic model.
Having been a social work major originally, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs most identifies with my own belief that learning cannot effectively take place without the basics attended to. School teachers are quick to note that if a child is distracted by a hungry belly, then paying attention to the rest of the day will be difficult. Adults too, cannot be distracted by basic human needs such as the warmth and safety of home and food. When I relate to Maslow’s hierarchy of learning, I can most conceptualize his pyramid put to use in a classroom. Where there is safety and cultivated self-esteem in the classroom, a sense of belongingness likely will occur for most students. This sense of cohesiveness will bring the student to a level where he can begin to reach his potential. I might disagree with Maslow’s work when I think of people who have not taken care of her basic survival needs, yet excelled academically. This might be seen in homeless populations, for instance, where we can find many intelligent people who continue to survive without a home but accumulate wisdom throughout life.
The points I most agree with in regard to Gagne’s theory of learning is his thought on building blocks; the learner starts out with fundamentals and then continues to make the journey toward obtaining knowledge. The human brain experiences new material and it is stored; when the time comes to use it, it is retrieved. We have learned that this same sort of experience, retrieval and use is evident with not just motor skills, but intellectual capacities as well. Gagne’s theory concurs with many scientific studies. One thing that I disagree with regarding Gagne’ theory is that lower level learning must be mastered before new skills can take place. Each human comes with unique characteristics that have propelled them over certain steps, yet they are able to acquire pertinent information as it relates to them; for example, scholars who cannot spell.
Bloom’s taxonomy is a learning theory that has stood the test of time, in my opinion, because it has continued to be expanded and reevaluated. That is, it continues to grow, in which research and fine tuning can take place. Blooms ideas on learning can be viewed differently based on individual perspectives. My perspective on his early work means that I can apply his stages of developmental learning to various age groups. While young children might start out by associating by recognition, a more verbal older child might implement retrieval of the facts, while adults may use her long term memory to recall relevant information. Same holds true for Blooms thoughts on the level of understanding. A middle school child, for example, may be able to summarize information, while an older student can interpret information to her own understanding. By contrast, a very young child could not explain what they learned. What I do not agree with in regard to Bloom is that not all older persons can apply her understanding. Not every student has the intellectual capacity to relate information or evaluate it effectively. This is where an adult facilitator of education needs to be creative in conveying information in a way that different capacities can remember some form of factual information. The information has to relate to the learner in some way in order to be an effective learning experience.
Lindeman‘s belief of adult learning basically indicates that adults who seek information have a need to be able to relate information as it pertains to him. The adult learner does not want to gather facts, but wants to solve a problem, and therefore seeks information. Lindeman believes that experience is the greatest factor in merging old information with newly obtained lessons