Meadow, S. J. Parnes, J. W. Getzels, P. W. Jackson); and · ecological psychology (R. G. Barker, P. V. Gump, H. E. Wright, E. P. Willems, H. L. Raush). Summary Learning theory literature falls into two general types: that produced by proposers and that produced by interpreters. Many proposers of theories have made a concerted effort to impose order on the system of learning theory. Among these are Hilgard and Bower, McDonald, and Gage. It was Reese and Overton, however, who successfully conceptualized the
theories within a larger construct—the concept of models of development. Reese and Overton postulated that “any theory presupposes a more general model according to which the theoretical concepts are formulated.” Building on this premise, they developed the elemental model and the holistic models of individuals. Among the theories based on the elemental model are Thorndike’s connectionism, Pavlov’s classical conditioning, and Watson’s behaviorism. Other theories within this category were those developed by Guthrie, which resulted both in the principle of contiguity of cue and response and an emphasis on the importance of attention behavior. It was Guthrie’s work that spawned additional research by Voeks, Sheffield, Skinner, and Hull’s systematic behavior theory. Behaviorism was uniquely American, and mirrored the philosophy of the turn-of-the century notion that all people could achieve great accomplishments given the opportunity (stimulus), individual initiative (response), and fair treatment (rewards). Paralleling this effort were the holistic models. It was Dewey’s work that initiated a line of theorizing called functionalism. Tolman, however, bridged the gap between cognitive and behavioral psychologies with a theory that he
called purposive behaviorism. Gestalt theories, classified by most interpreters as within the family of field theories, paralleled behaviorism. The notable field theories in which Lewin was intensely interested—group and institutional dynamics—greatly influenced this educational dimension. Recent developments in the field-theoretical approach have appeared under the labels of phenomenological psychology, perceptual psychology, humanistic psychology, and cognitive psychology. Reflection Questions · 6.1 Speculate as to why so many learning theories have been created. · 6.2 What is the value of thinking of wholes and parts as they relate to learning? · 6.3 What are some of the important points derived from elemental model learning theories? · 6.4 What are some of the important points derived from holistic model learning theories?
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- Tom Pope