According to Woolfolk (2014) behaviorist perspectives of learning are “explanations of learning that focus on external events as the cause of changes in observable behaviors” (p. 272). In other words something happens to someone, they are affected by it and it alters the way they act. Woolfolk (2014) explains the learning can be “deliberate or unintentional” (p. 272). Woolfolk (2014) states it focuses on “change must be brought about by experience” (p. 272). An example we talked about in class was Pavlov’s experiment with dogs ending up salivating when a bell rang due to classical conditioning. Behavior perspectives focus on conditioning, association, reward and punishment.
According to Woolfolk (2014) cognitive perspectives of learning are “a general approach that view learning as an active mental process of acquiring, remembering and using knowledge” (p. 312). Woolfolk (2014) furthers cognitive perspectives deal with “mental processes” and “humans are active information processors” (p. 312). An experiment that we talked about in class was with the Bobo doll where children who observed an adult being rough with the doll were more likely to model that behavior.
According to Woolfolk (2014) the main difference between these two perspectives is they disagree on “what is learned” (p. 312). Woolfolk (2014) expands on this with behaviorist perspectives learning can be “passively influenced” by outside experiences where in the cognitive perspectives learning is “active” in what they take in to learn (p. 312).
According to Woolfolk (2014) Bandura saw the limitations of the behaviorist perspectives as underdeveloped and lack of input from social influences (p. 440). Woolfolk (2014) furthers with a limitation of cognitive learning is students can learn better in certain ways than others and what might benefit one student will not help another (p. 144). As a future educator I think it is important to have options for students and alter the way I teach to best benefit all students and see what works best for each student. According to Evans, Cools, and Charlesworth (2010) it is significant for teachers “to consider how they can use styles research in an expansive” not “restrictive” method and put “into account a number of interrelated areas that impact an individual’s access to learning” (p. 468).
From the table on page 468, I lean more towards cognitive views of learning because it was beneficial to me as a student. As an art teacher I will have to teach skills in ways of creating things such as pottery. In ceramics there are series of steps to follow and specific tasks to do within each step, such as making a tumbler. This will be more of students having to observe and mimic steps. I can’t really just engrain things by telling. I will need to show art theories to what is aesthetically pleasing when it comes to form, composition and guide them to industry standards/norms. I want my students to actually comprehend the course material, not to just memorize things and just think about a reward whether that’s a grade or candy given out. Another view of learning, Constructivist is more challenged based which will fit well into an art class because this view challenges thinking to innovation and greater understanding of fundamentals. This is done through peer and teacher art class critiques instead of just receiving a grade.
Evans, C., Cools, E., & Charlesworth, Z. M. (2010). Learning in higher education – how cognitive and learning styles matter. Teaching In Higher Education, 15(4), 467-478. doi:10.1080/13562517.2010.493353
Woolfolk, A. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.