learning theory

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Sometimes referred to as ‘the psychology of learning’, the body of theory about how and why learning takes place draws heavily on the work of schools of psychology as diverse as the behaviourists, on the one hand, and the humanists, on the other. It underpins much of the professional practice of teachers in all sectors of education since it may be drawn upon to answer the key question, How do learners learn best? Of course, there is no definitive answer to this, but rather a range of theories, any one of which will be more applicable in some situations than in others. For the teacher, the application of a theory is only useful if it works. As professionals, they are encouraged to formulate their own theoretical grounding based on their experience of professional practice and their accumulated propositional knowledge. This may be formalized through the process of action research or other forms of continuing professional development. See also cognitive; Gestalt; Maslow.

Subjects: Psychology — Education.

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