Models of Learning and Practical Applications

Having majored in Psychology in undergrad, the three models of learning – behaviorist, cognitivist and constructivist – were extremely familiar to me, as they correspond to the primary models of the mind. Behaviorism has always made a kind of rational sense to me, which means that it must be much too simple; cognitivism was always a little harder to grasp, which made it more likely closer to the way the brain, or learning, probably actually works; and constructivism is significantly more abstract, fascinating but hard to pin down. To me, constructionism as a model of learning seems to correspond to the growth of social media – it’s a relatively new way of communicating (and learning) that has made living and working a much more social, constructed experience.


It was very interesting to read about how these three ways of understanding the inner workings of the mind have been applied to the learning process. I’ve also studied various pedagogies related to writing and literacy, but never with the kind of practical application – even field-specific examples – Booth’s Chapter 5 provided. I feel these examples helped me gain a more practical grasp of how these models can be implemented to reach a number of different learning styles. Polly Alida Farrington’s advice to “design the content for success” with explication and both beginner and advanced interactive features also reflects a practical experience with the way these learning models play out in the actual experience of teaching via discovery-based modules. I feel after this set of readings I have some great suggestions for ways forward as well as ways to understand the theory behind the practice.


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