Sunday, 5 March 2017

Approaches to Human Learning: Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Humanism

Approaches to Learning: Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Humanism
Approaches to Learning
As we have already seen the definition of learning in the previous article, here we are going to discuss the various approaches to human learning. These are as follows: 


This is one of the first scientific approaches to understanding learning that looks at actual behavior. This approach, known as behaviorism, begins by trying to explain simple behaviors—observable and predictable responses.

It is mainly concerned with conditions (called stimuli) that affect organisms and that may lead to behavior and with simple behaviors themselves (responses).

Behaviorists (behavior-oriented researchers) try to discover the rules that govern the formation of relationships between stimuli and responses (the rules of conditioning). For this reason, these theories are often referred to as stimulus-response (S-R) theories or behavioristic theories.


In contrast to behaviorism, a second approach, termed cognitivism, looks at the more intellectual or mental aspects of learning.

Cognitive approaches deal mainly with questions relating to cognition, or knowing. Cognitive theorists are concerned with how we develop our fund of knowledge and how we eventually arrive at notions of ourselves as learners and rememberers, and problem solvers.
Children’s gradual development of an awareness of themselves as knowers, their growing awareness of the strategies they can use to acquire and process information, and their ability to direct their efforts and to evaluate their cognitive activities are aspects of metacognition.

Phrased another way, cognition refers to knowing; metacognition refers to knowing about knowing.

Congition-oriented researchers attempt to understand the nature of information: how it is acquired and organized by learners; how it can be recalled, modified, applied, and analyzed; and how the learner understands, evaluates, and controls the activities involved in cognition. Piaget is good example of cognitive theorist.


It is a philosophical and psychological orientation which is primarily concerned with our humanity, that is, with our worth as individuals and those process that are considered to make us more human.

Humanism is the third approach to understanding human behavior. Humanistic psychologists are more concerned with human individuality and uniqueness than with discovering general rules to explain human responses.

Humanistic psychologists focus more on emotional development than on information processing or stimuli and responses.

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