Educational Theories
Adult Learning Theory
AndragogyMalcolm Knowles 
Definition: In practical terms, andragogy means that instruction for adults needs to focus more on the process and less on the content being taught. Strategies such as case studies, role playing, simulations, and self-evaluation are most useful. Instructors adopt a role of facilitator or resource rather than lecturer or grader.Principles:  Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction. 2.

 Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities. 3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life. 4.

 Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

Experimental Learning TheoryCarl Rogers
Rogers distinguished two types of learning: cognitive (meaningless) and experiential (significant). The former corresponds to academic knowledge such as learning vocabulary or multiplication tables and the latter refers to applied knowledge such as learning about engines in order to repair a car. The key to the distinction is that experiential learning addresses the needs and wants of the learner. Rogers lists these qualities of experiential learning: personal involvement, self-initiated, evaluated by learner, and pervasive effects on learner.Teachers should be facilitators by: setting a positive climate for learning, (2) clarifying the purposes of the learner(s), (3) organizing and making available learning resources, (4) balancing intellectual and emotional components of learning, and (5) sharing feelings and thoughts with learners but not dominating.Principles:  1. Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is relevant to the personal interests of the student.

 2. Learning which is threatening to the self (e.g.

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, new attitudes or perspectives) are more easily assimilated when external threats are at a minimum. 3.  Learning proceeds faster when the threat to the self is low.  4. Self-initiated learning is the most lasting and pervasive.

Information Processing TheoryGeorge A. Miller
Provided 2 theoretical ideas fundamental to cognitive psychology and information processing:  1.The concept of chunking–S-T memeory can only hold 5-9 chunks of information.  2. TOTE (Test-Operate-Test-Exit)-goal is tested, if not reached, operations performed to reach (repeat) until abandoned or completed.Principles: 

  1. Short term memory (or attention span) is limited to seven chunks of information. 
  2. Planning (in the form of TOTE units) is a fundamental cognitive process.


  3. Behavior is hierarchically organized (e.g., chunks, TOTE units).

Multiple IntelligencesHoward Gardner
The theory of multiple intelligences suggests that there are a number of distinct forms of intelligence that each individual possesses in varying degrees.

Gardner proposes seven primary forms: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, body-kinesthetic, intrapersonal (e.g., insight, metacognition) and interpersonal (e.g.

, social skills).Principles1. Individuals should be encouraged to use their preferred intelligences in learning. 2. Instructional activities should appeal to different forms of intelligence. 3. Assessment of learning should measure multiple forms of intelligence.

Script TheoryRoger Schank 

  1. Conceptualization is defined as an act or doing something to an object in a direction.


  2. All conceptualizations can be analyzed in terms of a small number of primative acts. 
  3. All memory is episodic and organized in terms of scripts. 
  4. Scripts allow individuals to make inferences and hence understand verbal/written discourse.


  5. Higher level expectations are created by goals and plans.

Situated LearningJ. Lave
Lave argues that learning as it normally occurs is a function of the activity, context and culture in which it occurs (i.e.

, it is situated).Principles: 

  1. Knowledge needs to be presented in an authentic context, i.e., settings and applications that would normally involve that knowledge.


  2. Learning requires social interaction and collaboration.

Social Learning TheoryAlbert Bandura 
Definition: The social learning theory of Bandura emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Principles: 

  1. The highest level of observational learning is achieved by first organizing and rehearsing the modeled behavior symbolically and then enacting it overtly. Coding modeled behavior into words, labels or images results in better retention than simply observing. 
  2. Individuals are more likely to adopt a modeled behavior if it results in outcomes they value.


  3. Individuals are more likely to adopt a modeled behavior if the model is similar to the observer and has admired status and the behavior has functional value.

Attribution Theory
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Constructivist Theory
Transformational Theory