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Compare and Contrast the Learning Theories of Constructivism and Behaviorism (Essay Sample)




Constructivism vs. Behaviorism
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Comparing and contrasting the learning of behaviorism and constructivism
Learning is the relatively stable transformation in a person’s conduct or conduct capability because of having particular experiences or having some internal changes (Huitt, 2011). Learning usually occurs through the process of purposeful direction aimed at providing the students with supervised events for them to acquire relatively lasting change through the engagement in practices presented by the instructor. Several theories explain the process of learning by explaining the absorption, processing and retention of the acquired information during learning. Environmental, emotional, or cognitive aspects influence the understanding, acquiring and changing of the person’s previous knowledge and retaining the newly acquired information. The theories of learning are humanism, behaviorism, constructivism, and cognitive. This paper compares and contrasts the theories of behaviorism and constructivism.
Behaviorism and Constructivism both theories used in the study of psychology mostly to explain how people behave. Since certain adopted behaviors result from learning or acquiring new knowledge, the two theories try to explain different ways through which people learn or form these types of actions. Also, both are old theories of psychology.
Another similarity between behaviorism and constructivism is that they are both theories that explain the process of learning. They are theories in psychology that try to explain how a student acquires a permanent change in behavior after they pass through some experiences or have guided opportunities to have the desired transformation from their teachers. Both theories also study the nature of children learning, the properties and the nature of the knowledge acquired through the process of learning. The theories of both approaches have separate views that all try to explain how the process of learning occurs and what constitutes to be knowledge. These two being learning theories also have profoundly influenced the best methods for use to teach students while in a classroom setting or other environments of giving instructions. The two approaches also explain the role the learner plays in the process of learning and how to structure and present the teaching materials.
The other similarity between behaviorism and constructivism is that both aim at observing the response that different people make to different situations. Behaviorism aims at identifying the responses that an individual makes when exposed to certain conditioning. Behaviorism explains two kinds of conditioning that are classic and operant. Classical conditioning includes the occurrence of a physical spontaneous, or some other kind of conduct that happens as a reply to a single provocation (Pritchard, 2013). Examples of this conditioning include a person responding in a distinct way of either fear or happiness or any other for when he or she see or hears a certain thing a person knows well or have previously experienced. The other type of conditioning is operant which influences reinforcing the desired behavior by rewarding it or discourage a particular behavior by offering some form of punishment.
On the other hand, constructivism involves observing the responses that an individual makes when exposed to his or her existing beliefs and experiences become exposed to new ideas or situations. It also aims at identifying how people respond when to an experience and the process of interpreting and making sense of these new experiences. This theory explains that one responds to individual experiences by constructing knowledge. Therefore, the two learning approaches both aims at determining the way students respond to the exposure of certain conditioning or when exposed to particular experiences.
The primary difference between behaviorism and constructivism is the way the two theories are developed. Behaviorism as a theory of learning based its approach upon the idea that an individual acquires certain behaviors through conditioning after interacting with the environment. Therefore, the behaviorism aims at identifying the change in behavior through observation. That is, centered on external observable behavior. On the other hand, constructivism implies that an individual’s learning process occurs due to the adjustment of mental models after a person passes through or accommodates new experiences. It also explains that every person learns by constructing a personal understanding of the place that one lives. That is, every person forms his or her mental models and rules that one uses to interpret experiences. Constructivism focuses on the mental functioning that collaborates with other disciplines to identify what happens in the mind (Pearson & Mitchell, 2012).
Behaviorism does not consider the memory as an important tool in the formation of behavior. The method emphasizes that a person learns by having the body conditioned in a certain way. After either the classical or the operant conditioning has taken place in the body, it shows a particular response when exposed to certain conditions. On the contrary, constructivism holds the use of memory as a very important element in the learning process. Since it involves the formation of mental models that one uses to interpret other experiences, the mind plays very crucial roles in the interpretation of the experiences and remembering the previously created models.
Behaviorism also considers instruction is the primary method through which a student acquires knowledge. Behaviorists propose that one of the ways through which a person learns is by obtaining instructions from another person, and then that direction will make the individual to change behavior, and the change must be observable. For instance, a parent can give instructions to the child to do things in a particular way and will then observe to determine if the child has changed. On the contrary,...
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