Tag Archives: learning theories

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Learning Theories

Learning Theories: A Summary Tool

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Studying the different learning theories can be an overwhelming task, and that is why I wanted to develop a little tool using Articulate Storyline to have in one place some key ideas about the most common learning theories.

I am a strong believer that as instructional designers and professionals in education we do not need to focus on one particular learning theory. But instead, it would be more beneficial for the learners and the entire learning experience to take the best of different learning theories and their particular instructional strategies.

To access this tool, please click here.

Learning Theories

Learning Theories


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Learning Theories and Instruction

Reflection about Learning Theories and Instruction

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During the course of “Learning Theories and Instruction” that I took as part of my masters degree program with Walden University, I discovered that the learning process is complex and individuals cannot be categorized into one particular learning style. However, the most surprising idea I found during this course is that learning processes are continuously under research and even the old learning theories such as behaviorism or cognitivism are still challenged by new findings or new theories that incorporate more elements such as the social interactions, technology, rich learning environments, problem-based learning, or a combination of different theories and strategies.

Understanding the different elements of the learning process has deepened my knowledge about my own learning process. Previously, I was not fully aware why I struggled so much while I was in university grasping new concepts, which were very abstract and difficult to relate to pre-existing concepts. But now, I understand that the typical educational model where the learners are passive recipients of information is not the best learning setting for me. To have an effective learning process I prefer to be in a learning environment where I can construct knowledge based on practical experiences with components of the social learning theory such as discussions with peers, sharing information with others, team work, analyzing different points of view, and reflecting throughout the entire learning process.

Another concept that I understand better now is the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation. According to Ertmer and Newby (1993), “learning theories provide instructional designers with verified instructional strategies and techniques to facilitate learning as well as a foundation for intelligent strategy selection” (p.50). And this is why it is important to understand each theory, taking the best practices and strategies from each one and using them in the instructional systems when necessary.

Additionally, instructional designers should consider different strategies when designing learning experiences to accommodate different learning styles. By doing this, there will be a rich learning environment for learners, offering options to explore content in different ways, using a variety of methods that are going to create an engaging learning experience, and are going to motivate the learners. To achieve this rich learning experience I would consider the use of technology as a tool to create content in different ways and to support interaction between the learners and the instructor with the use of social media, forums, sharing ideas on wikis, reflecting using blogs, accessing information on websites, videos, and different multimedia sources.

I think it is important to keep researching and reviewing information about how the brain processes information, learning theories, multiple intelligences and how they can be developed using a variety of instructional strategies, the use of technology in instructional settings, and how to create rich learning environments to boost motivation levels in education. As instructional designer I would also help learners to consider effective learning strategies that could be used in any educational situation such as metacognition, elaboration, comprehension monitoring, and mnemonics (n.d.).

Studying more about learning theories and instruction will help me in my career as instructional designer because now I am more aware of the instructional strategies that can be more suitable to different learners, what tools to use in order to increase motivation, and what learning strategies should be promoted among the learners to ensure an effective learning process.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-71.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Learning styles and strategies [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu


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Fitting the pieces together

Fitting the Pieces Together

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When I started researching about learning theories, I noticed that constructivism was the learning theory that was more aligned to the learning approach that I consider more effective, due to the fact that in constructivism the learning process is an active construction of knowledge where the learner is building the knowledge and the instructor has the role of supporting the process by creating an environment in which that construction takes place (Brandon, 2004).

I still support that initial idea. However, after studying different learning theories I think it is important to incorporate in my learning experiences strategies and ideas from other theories such as social learning theory.

In social learning theory an individual acquires knowledge through engagement in social activities. Knowledge acquisition is not a stand-alone entity, but is constructed over time through social engagement and ongoing discourses within cultural contexts and value systems (Nguyen, 2013). Based on that, I can now see the real value of social interactions in my own learning process. I experience a more effective learning when I am in instructional settings where I can discuss with peers about a subject and when I can relate or simply understand the different points of views around the topic of study. According to Dr. Ormrod (n.d.), in social learning environments, an individual learns from other people and internalizes the arguing process product of that social interaction.

Social learning environments encourage me to participate more in discussion forums, I elaborate more knowledge because I engage in a more sophisticated way of thinking where I can see a particular problem or topic from different perspectives. Additionally, sharing experiences, real world examples, and ideas with others offer me more opportunities to reflect on the content of the course and to be part of a community of professionals with the same interests.

On the other hand, when it comes to learning styles, initially I thought visual and kinesthetic methodologies used in instructional experiences were the best fit for me. However, I now support more the idea that the learning process is complex and learners cannot be categorized into one specific learning style that could potentially limit the learning process and establish unnecessary boundaries for the learner. Instead, I believe that instructional designers and educators in general should consider different strategies when designing learning experiences to accommodate a diversity of methods. Therefore there will be a rich learning environment for learners, offering options to explore content in different ways while promoting engagement and motivation from learners towards the learning experience.

I now prefer for my own learning experience to build knowledge using different styles depending on the content. I now find more value in exploring the information using different methodologies such as reading resources, using audiovisuals, diagrams, interactive activities, real world practices, simulations, or even games.

As seen in my learning network map (previous post), technology plays an important role to support my own learning process. I use technology to access information such as library data bases, videos on Youtube, tutorials on Lynda.com, search engines, podcasts, blogs, online magazines, and TED Talks. I also use technology to create my own reflections on a topic like this blog, and to share ideas in professional communities using social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn).

Technology not only offers me tools to facilitate my own learning process but also provides mechanisms to create content in different ways, supporting a variety of methods and helping me create a rich and diverse learning environment.


Brandon, B. (2004). How do people learn? Some new ideas for e-learning designers. Learning Solutions Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/301/how-do-people-learn-some-new-ideas-for-e-learning-designers

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Theory of Social Cognitive Development [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Nguyen, T. (2013). Understanding different learning theories for technology integration. Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2013. Retrieved from www.editlib.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/p/112123


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