Essay by akhaleel March 2005

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In the modern academic world, teaching and learning is not always what it seems (Woolfolk, 2001). Today teaching has moved from mother's hand to more formalized environments designed to promote learning where the teacher or the educator speculate the academic results and critically analyze psychological thought explicitly or implicitly (Bigge 1982, p.5). In all aspects, there are acceptable theories of learning which implies a set of teaching practice inside and outside the classroom. The theories include cognitive, behavioral and social aspects. These theories are needed in order to motivate the students. Motivating the students is one of the critical tasks of teaching (Woolfolk 2001).

Behavioural learning theory: learning involves the formation of association between specific actions and specifies events (stimuli) which can be directly observable. These events may either precede (antecedents) or follow the action (consequences). Behavioural theories mainly focus on methods of modifying children's behaviours to facilitate learning smoothly.

The key concept of behavioural learning theory includes conditioning, reinforcement, punishment, shaping, premack principles, etc.

In contrary, cognitive learning theory argue that learning takes place in mind, not in behaviour. Behaviour is used to make implications about mental states, but is not interested in itself. This theory mainly focuses on the three components of Information Processing Model which are sensory register, working memory and long term memory. Besides it includes how to perceive, store, encode and retrieve information within these three components. Moreover, students forgetting and their metacognition skills are also emphasized and discussed in this theory.

In case of social learning theory, it mainly focuses on various learning, by imitating positive models. They always want to be a past of a group or a valued member of the society.


Both cognitive and behavioural views differ in the assumption about what is learned (Woolfolk, 2001, p241). The two...