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Learning Styles and Theories

            This essay will look at the impact and usefulness of learning styles and theories in teaching and learning. It will highlight some of the key features of such concepts, assess their strengths and weaknesses, look at how they are actually used and explore the relationship between them. Generally, learning is viewed as the process of gaining knowledge or of learning how to do something e.g. riding a bike. Psychologists have defined learning as 'a change in behaviour as a result of experience or practice' (Pritchard, 2009, p.2). However, learning is such a vast and continuous process that takes place in many settings throughout different stages of a person's life it is therefore understood and defined in different ways. .
             Behaviorism relates to learning that is concerned with the behaviour of the learner and the change in behaviour when learning takes place. Learning is shown by the behaviour of the learner in response to environmental stimuli (Woollard, 2010, p.1). Behaviour is seen as the result of many stimulus response connections. Given that behaviourism explains behaviour according to responses to stimuli it does not consider a person's inner thoughts or consciousness. ehaviourists focus on two types of learning processes; these are classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is attributed to the work of Ivan Pavlov and is considered to be a style of associative learning where one type of behaviour is associated to another to aid the learning process (Woollard, 2010, p.2). Therefore, teachers should be aware that habits and behaviours of learners are conditioned and so their actions may result in positive or negative responses as a result of this conditioning. Operant conditioning takes place when a response to a stimulus is reinforced; conditioning a behaviour takes place when the behaviour is associated with a reward (Woollard, 2010, p.2-3). Operant condition is attributed to the work of Burrhus Frederic Skinner, who implied that classroom behaviour can be changed and learning can be achieved through reward, and the reward can even be internal e.

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