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Theories

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Classical Conditioning Theory ( Ivan Pavlov)
Classical conditioning is a type of learning that had a major influence on the school of thought in psychology known as behaviorism. Discovered by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, classical conditioning is a learning process that occurs through associations between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus.
Behaviorism is based on the assumption that learning occurs through interactions with the environment. Two other assumptions of this theory are that the environment shapes behavior and that taking internal mental states such as thoughts, feelings, and emotions into consideration is useless in explaining behavior.
It's important to note that classical conditioning involves placing a neutral signal before a naturally occurring reflex. In Pavlov's classic experiment with dogs, the neutral signal was the sound of a tone and the naturally occurring reflex was salivating in response to food. By associating the neutral stimulus with the environmental stimulus (the presentation of food), the sound of the tone alone could produce the salivation response.
In order to understand how more about how classical conditioning works, it is important to be familiar with the basic principles of the process.
In reality, people do not respond exactly like Pavlov's dogs. There are, however, numerous real-world applications for classical conditioning. For example, many dog trainers use classical conditioning techniques to help people train their pets.
These techniques are also useful in the treatment of phobias or anxiety problems. Teachers are able to apply classical conditioning in the class by creating a positive classroom environment to help students overcome anxiety or fear. Pairing an anxiety-provoking situation, such as performing in front of a group, with pleasant surroundings helps the student learn new associations. Instead of feeling anxious and tense in these situations, the child will learn to stay relaxed and calm. http://psychology.about.com/od/behavioralpsychology/a/classcond.htm "Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action."
-Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory, 1977
His theory added a social element, arguing that people can learn new information and behaviors by watching other people. Known as observational learning (or modeling), this type of learning can be used to explain a wide variety of behaviors.
The Modeling Process
Not all observed behaviors are effectively learned. Factors involving both the model and the learner can play a role in whether social learning is successful. Certain requirements and steps must also be followed. The following steps are involved in the observational learning and modeling process: * Attention:
In order to learn, you need to be paying attention. Anything that detracts your attention is going to have a negative effect on observational learning. * Retention
The ability to store information is also an important part of the learning process * Reproduction:
Once you have paid attention to the model and retained the information, it is time to actually perform the behavior you observed. * Motivation:
Finally, in order for observational learning to be successful, you have to be motivated to imitate the behavior that has been modeled. http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/sociallearning.htm Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.
We can find examples of operant conditioning at work all around us. Consider the case of children completing homework to earn a reward from a parent or teacher, or employees finishing projects to receive praise or promotions.
In these examples, the promise or possibility of rewards causes an increase in behavior, but operant conditioning can also be used to decrease a behavior. The removal of a desirable outcome or the application of a negative outcome can be used to decrease or prevent undesirable behaviors. For example, a child may be told they will lose recess privileges if they talk out of turn in class. This potential for punishment may lead to a decrease in disruptive behaviors. http://psychology.about.com/od/behavioralpsychology/a/introopcond.htm experiential learning
As the name suggests, experiential learning involves learning from experience. The theory was proposed by psychologist David Kolbwho was influenced by the work of other theorists including John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Jean Piaget. According to Kolb, this type of learning can be defined as "the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combinations of grasping and transforming experience." let's imagine that you are going to learn how to drive a car. Some people might choose to begin learning via reflection by observing other people as they drive. Another person might prefer to start more abstractly, by reading and analyzing a driving instruction book. Yet another person might decide to just jump right in and get behind the seat of a car to practice driving on a test course. http://psychology.about.com/od/educationalpsychology/a/experiential-learning.htm Psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan have developed a theory of motivation that suggests that people tend to be driven by a need to grow and gain fulfillment. The first assumption of self-determination theory is that people are activity directed toward growth. Gaining mastery over challenges and taking in new experiences are essential for developing a cohesive sense of self.
While people are often motivated to act by external rewards such as money, prizes, and acclaim (known as extrinsic motivation), self-determination theory focuses primarily on internal sources of motivation such as a need to gain knowledge or independence (known as intrinsic motivation).

Deci also suggests that offering unexpected positive encouragement and feedback on a person's performance on a task can increase intrinsic motivation. Why? Because such feedback helps people to feel more competent, one of the key needs for personal growth.
http://psychology.about.com/od/motivation/f/self-determination-theory.htm

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