On this page are materials and links related to broad theories of learning, with a slant toward classroom learning issues. It also contains links to conceptual models that are too focused to be considered "theories," but that are related to specific aspects of learning.300px-Skinner_box.png

Go back to Specific topics of ed psych or to the home page.

Hot Topic - Behaviorist Theory

on behalf of Katie Lolis and Danielle Goring, Marist College

Concept Map of Learning Theories and Applications

Click on the link above, or on the button below, to see a concept map relating aspects of several learning theories to each other and to their applications. The file is in PDF format, so it is not easy to modify it, but even so it may be helpful.

- Seifert Seifert Feb 1, 2012 on behalf of Michelle Stevens and Megan McGready, Marist College

Slideshow about Concepts and Theories of Learning

Click on the link above to see a set of about 20+ slides explaining major concepts and theories about learning and their applications to teaching. The slides are in Powerpoint format; to edit them you will need to save them under a new file name. Also: printing them may require changing or simplifying the background colors, which display on computer just fine, but may not print well on a standard black-and-white printer.

- Seifert Seifert Feb 2, 2012 on behalf of Michelle Stevens and Megan McGready, Marist College

Hot Topic of the Week Wiki

Students will choose one particular issue from a learning theory and then go beyond the textbook and class lecture notes and present that one issue in more detail. They will search for peer reviewed journal articles on their issue or other web information.

Behavioral Theories of Learning

Respondent and/or Operant conditioning--the basics


Behavior management (Note: much of this material is intended for dealing with difficult individual children, not "typical" misbehaviors. The principles, however, can be useful in classrooms.)

Classroom management from a behaviorist perspective--note that much of this material is "behaviorist" only in a broad sense, and for practical it relies on behaviorist theory only a bit loosely.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 16, 2010, with help from Michelle Stevens and Megan McGready, Marist College

Information Processing Theory

There are several simple demonstrations that can be done in class to illustrate basic ideas from information processing models of learning. You can find them on this wiki on the page called Thinking and cognition.

- Seifert Seifert Sep 25, 2009

Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity

This book presents a detailed case study of social constructivism in action by describing the functioning of a claims processing center at an insurance company! It then discusses the case study at length using ideas from situated learning and social constructivism. It is a rather detailed and theory-based, so it may not be the best choice for some intro ed psych classes, but it's definitely helpful in getting a solid understanding of this view of human learning.

- Seifert Seifert Mar 8, 2011

Creativity: Can It Actually Be Taught in School?

Here is a classroom activity about the nature of "true" creativity, and about whether creativity can actually be taught in school settings.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 16, 2010

Formal, Nonformal, and Informal Learning: Key Distinctions

Not all learning happens in formal K-12 classrooms (obviously), nor even in non-formal, but organized classlike settings. Some happens willy-nilly--informally--in the course of living (obviously), and is worth teachers' supporting it. This link goes to an online journal article (downloadable) that discusses and clarifies these ideas.

- Seifert Seifert Jan 11, 2011

Study Tips: Ways To Self-Facilitate Learning

Videos about How To Study

There are lots of Internet links that offer advice to college and university students about how to study. Most are definitely "applied" in orientation. The above are two such links that are relatively well-organized and helpful. The first is a brief compilation, in blog format, of major strategies to help students study.The second one is a series of brief video lectures by a professor, Dr. Stephen Chew, at Samford University in Alabama. For both links, the study tips were written with university-age students in mind, but they can often be adapted for use with high-school age students, and in a few cases even with elementary-age students.

If these two links are not enough or not appropriate, there are also these:

- Seifert Seifert Oct 19, 2011

Learning Benefits of Dialogue vs. Lecture with Students

This classroom demonstration suggests the value of allowing and encouraging students to ask questions while they are learning. It supports ideas from a number of theories of learning: 1) operant conditioning because getting answers to questions is rewarding to students, 2) constructivism because asking questions allows the teacher to structure a more effective "zone of proximal development" while teaching, and 3) information processing theory because getting answers to questions helps students to consolidate their learning as it occurs.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 19, 2010

Simulating Learning to Read

One way to understand the child's experience of learning to read is to simulate the experience yourself. Here is a classroom activity that does this for preservice education students; it focuses on the challenge of initial "word attack."

- Seifert Seifert Nov 22, 2010


This is an article that explains a relatively new perspective on learning, connectivism, which proposes that what we normally calling "learning" are not ideas or actions in the usual sense, but connections among ideas and actions. The article explains how this viewpoint compares to earlier views of cognition (e.g. "classic" information processing theory, Piagetian theory, and others).

- Seifert Seifert Jan 24, 2012, on behalf of Michelle Stevens and Megan McGeady, Marist College