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Major Learning Theories by Mind Map: Major Learning Theories
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Major Learning Theories


Key concepts

Learner is passive, responding to environmental stimuli

Positive & negative reinforcement

Learning is defined as a change in learner's behavior

Focus on observable cause and effect relationship, No internal mental states

Knowledge is acquired from outside resources, Resulting from a finding process

Instruction is the process of providing knowledge


Ivan Pavlov, Conditioned Stimulus leads to conditioned response

J B Watson - stimulus-response, Behavior is observable and can be correlated with other observable events

Skinner's Theory of Radical Behaviorism, A behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future., To train learners in survival skills for self and society.

Key terms: classical conditioning, operant conditioning, stimulus-reponse, positivism


Teachers present and provide practice and feedback

Students remember and respond

Through lecture-based pedagogy as form of conditionuing, Students get good grades with correct answers to questions


A response to behaviorism

opening the “black box” of the human mind is valuable

people are rational beings that require active participation in order to learn

actions are a consequence of thinking

focuses on the inner mental activities

Mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problem-solving need to be explored


prior knowledge plays an important role in learning

memory system as an active organized processor of information


Assimilation Theory (Ausubel), Assimilating new concepts into existing concept frameworks

Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller), Key terms: cognitive load, working memory, multimedia learning

Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Mayer), Key terms: cognitive load, working memory, multimedia learning

Gestalt Psychology

Schema Theory (Anderson), Schema grow and change as new information is acquired, Internal conflict occurs if learners are trying to assimilate schema which contradict their previous supposition

Social Learning Theory (Bandura) - bridge between Behaviorist and Cognitivist, Key terms: modeling, reciprocal determinism

Attribution Theory (Weiner), Key terms: locus of control, stability, controllability

Information Processing Theory, Cognitive processes

Learning activities

Information seeking

Information presentation

Knowledge organization

Knowledge integration

Teacher's roles

Using cognitive tools to stimulate students thinking the validity, applicability and reliability for certain information

Developing students high order thinking skill which supports constructivist pedagogy


Key Concept

Individuals construct their knowledge through interaction rather than repetition

social context of learning is emphasized

Authenic learning

Constructivist theory of learning

Congnitive Constructivist Theory (Jean Piaget)

Social Constructivist Theory (Lev Vygotsky)

Bruner's theory on constructivism

Learning activities



Collaboration learning, such as discussion, experience sharing, etc.

Emphasis on the actual use in real situation instead of following list of rules

Teachers' roles


challenge the learners to think and question

E-learning Application

Associative Perspective

Content delivery + interactivity linked directly to assessment and feedback

e.g. Merrill's instructional design

Cognitive Perspective

Simulated worlds, access to resources and expertise to develop more engaging active, authentic learning environment, etc.

e.g. Kolb's learning cycle

Situative Perspective

Adaptation in response to both discursive and active feedback; emphasis on social learning & communication/collaboration, etc.

Emphasis on social learning & communication/collaboration

e.g. Wenger’s Community of Practice