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Learning Approaches, Theory, and Practice

Learning Approaches, Theory, and Practice

ecoming a professional in the field of early childhood education requires you to become familiar with the
various developmental theories as well as research that studies the effectiveness of various learning
approaches. Throughout the last two weeks, you have learned about these different theories and
approaches to learning. After engaging in discussions with your classmates, you now have ideas about
which theories and approaches you would like to use in your work with children. Using the steps below,
you will sort through these theories and approaches to shape who you are as a teacher and what you
believe about how children learn best. This assignment will also help you prepare for your final
Prior to beginning work on this assignment, access the APA template for assistance with the writing
process, formatting, documentation, and citations in your written work.
Step 1: Reflect back on your initial response in the �Aspects of Theories� discussion from Week Two
and the “Learning Approaches” discussion from this week.
� Using the theories and approaches that were discussed, fill in the table below by ranking each
according to how you connected with them (“most connected” at the top and “least connected” at the
bottom). Be sure to delete the example row provided.
Theorists/Theories � Most connected to least connected Learning Approaches � Most connected to
least connected

Learning Approaches, Theory, and Practice

Theorists/Theories – Most connected to

least connected

Learning approaches – most connected to

least connected

  1. Skinner: Operant Conditioning

Acquisition of rules

  1. Vygotsky: Sociocultural Theory of

Concept learning

  1. Erikson: Theory of Psychosocial

Stimulus/response learning

  1. Bandura: Social Learning Theory Signal learning/recognition
  2. Piaget: Theory of Cognitive

Motor chain learning


  1. Gardner: Theory of Multiple

Multiple discrimination

  1. Kohlberg: Theory of Moral

Problem solving

  1. Feud: Psychosexual Theory of

Verbal chain sequence

Operant conditioning theory

The underlying idea for this theory is that external learning experiences greatly influence the
behavior of a person. According to behaviorists, learning occurs through the change in behavior.
Positive behavior, skill or knowledge can be achieved through reinforcement. Some examples of
reinforcement for learners include the giving of stickers for good work or praising the learners in
a selective manner (Krogh & Estes, 2012).

Understanding this theory is important because it helps a teacher to appreciate and utilize any
form of reinforcement as well as punishment to control the behavior of students. According, I
will become an effective teacher if I utilize this theory because I will learn how to get the best
out of my students. This theory is ranked at the top of my list because I believe that behavior
plays the most significant role in determining the outcome of a learning experience.

Socio-cultural theory of development

The basic idea presented by this theory is that an individual’s development is highly shaped by
the social and cultural interactions around him/her. Thus, a learner can obtain knowledge from a
teacher, another learner, or a family member. Ideally, Vygotsky’s theory exhibits some
similarities with Piaget’s theory in the sense that teachers are considered to play an important
role in supporting the opportunities for learners to gain knowledge with some independence
(Krogh & Estes, 2012).

It is important to understand this theory because it helps a teacher to appreciate the socio-cultural
aspects that influence learning (Pritchard, 2013). Accordingly, this theory will help me to be a
good teacher by helping me utilize group work and partnerships with family for purposes of
ensuring that students develop in the best way possible. I have ranked the socio-cultural theory as
the second-most important on my list because I believe it is useful in the established of home-
school partnerships. This theory is similar to the behaviorist theory in the sense that society
greatly influences a child’s learning and development.


Krogh, S. L. & Estes, L. (2012). Pathways to Teaching Young Children: an Introduction to Early
Childhood Education.

Pritchard, A. (2013). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom.

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