Unit 4 – assigment 6: interpretation of orientations to learning


Unit 4 – Assigment  6: Interpretation of Orientations to Learning


After reading/viewing the learning activities and completing Assignment 6, the Interpretation of Orientations to Learning, you should be able to:

·         Explain the essential assumptions, conceptions, and principles of several schools of learning and development theory.

·         Explain and express how the major theories of learning and development intersect and contrast with each other.

·         Describe how adults develop throughout their lifespan.

·         Explain and discuss two theories of learning with an indepth knowledge, as well as your own views on the teaching or learning process.


Most contemporary adult educators agree that the primary outcome of learning is change, whether that change occurs in thinking and/or behavior. However, the theories that underlie what happens when such learning takes place are numerous and often contradictory. This is because no single theory can adequately explain the incredible diversity of human learning and development. Fortunately, Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner (2007) tackle these complexities in Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd Edition) by providing an historical account of the major schools of learning theory, beginning with behaviorist perspectives and describing humanist, cognitivist, social cognitive and finally constructivist orientations to learning. As the authors note, all of these classifications of learning theory are still functioning in contemporary adult learning and they remain just as contradictory today.

Throughout chapter 11, Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner (2007) interpret the 5 orientations to learning according to a list of aspects and conclude with a concise summary table 11.1 on pages 295-296. In chapter 12, the authors build on the 5 traditional models of learning by applying concepts of development over the lifespan with respect to biological, psychological, identity development and sociocultural factors. Both chapters provide information that can assist you in completing assignment 6.

Components of the Assignment:

In this assignment, you will select two of the learning theory orientations (behaviorist, humanist, cognitivist, social cognitive and constructivist) found in chapter 11 and interpret them according to the aspects provided in table 11.1. You may compare and contrast the two orientations, or apply any other interpretive tools you wish. Addressing the instructor’s role aspect is optional. You may substitute your thoughts on the learner’s role if you feel unprepared to discuss being an instructor. Refer to the readings and learning tools you have been exposed to throughout the course so far. For example, the discussion of experience found in chapter 7 can be applied to constructivist views of the learning process. Use both the authors and the subject indices found at the end of the textbook to relocate this information efficiently. You may also access secondary sources of information, including scholarly articles and websites. In addition, discuss at least one personal example that illustrates a learning theory or an aspect of adult development. This example can be a recent event in your life or could have occurred long ago.

Provide a brief introduction and conclusion along with your interpretation. Write a substantive (500-600 words, double spaced, 12 font, 1 margins) document. Create your document in a word processing program (eg. Word), and use the word count tool to calculate how long your assignment is. Provide citations in the text and reference list at the end of your posting using APA (5th or 6th ed.) style. Submit this assignment by uploading it to the Drop Box. This assignment is worth 15% of your total grade. Please refer to the rubric (marking guide) below along with the Learning Objectives.

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