Models of Learning


Models of learning and instruction attempt to examine all the elements that contribute to learning and to organize these in a systematic way that can easily be applied to learning situations. Models of learning are valuable because they provide ways to think about the process of learning, to analyze learning problems, and to plan instruction. Models of learning focus on what learners do. Models of instruction focus on what teachers or others can do to help learners learn. There are many models of learning and instruction. This chapter will discuss some of the most influential:


Chapter 3

The Processes of Learning

and Instruction


A major responsibility of educators is to design and implement units of instruction to help students reach important educational goals. In doing so, they employ strategies that integrate many of the principles of educational psychology discussed throughout this book. This chapter will integrate many of the principles discussed in the rest of this book into specific plans (or models) for organizing and presenting information to students. This chapter will also discuss the different levels of objectives and the types of outcomes of learning that can be the target of instruction.After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

1. List, describe, and identify examples of each of the following:

a. the five elements in Carroll's model of school learning.

b. the eight phases described by Gagne in the learning process.

c. the nine events described by Gagne in the instructional process.

d. the six levels of cognitive outcomes in Bloom's Taxonomy.

e. the five outcomes of instruction described by Gagne.

2. Define mastery learning and describe strategies for implementing it.

3. Describe strategies for implementing each of the nine events described by Gagne in the instructional process 

Putting This Chapter in Perspective: The preceding chapter has shown that learning will be productive to the extent that time is used effectively. This chapter describes an overall strategy for ascertaining that time is used as effectively as possible to enhance instruction. 


Important Note:

This chapter describes the process of learning and instruction. While this chapter describes the basic process of instruction; it will refer forward to many of the topics covered in chapters 4 through 14. Chapter 15 will refer back to these chapters while it specifies specific guidelines for delivering instruction.

The teacher is the main person who delivers instruction in the classroom. The teacher often performs these tasks by selecting and coordinating existing instructional materials.

Sometimes the teacher may both design and deliver instruction by making spur-of-the-moment decisions designed to help individual learners who are experiencing unique problems.

The information in this chapter should not be taken as a demand that individual teachers themselves perform all the design and delivery tasks described here. Instruction is a broader concept than teaching. It refers to all the components that assist the learner in the education process. The teacher is part of a design and delivery team that also includes such persons as textbook designers, curriculum planners, building principals, and many others who are interested in delivering instruction.

By understanding how the principles of educational psychology fit into the design and delivery process, teachers can be more effective both in designing and delivering instruction themselves and in selecting and using materials designed by others who apply these principles. By understanding the entire process of the design and delivery of instruction, the teacher can become a more productive member of the instructional team.


Second Important Note:

Some of what is said in this chapter may seem to be redundant. Indeed, it is. Different theorists approach the learning process in slightly different ways. There is considerable overlap among these theorists - they often interact with and build upon one another. The theories and principles discussed in this chapter offer prominent explanations of how learning and instruction occur and how educators can most efficiently help students learn. It is worthwhile for educators to become familiar with all of them.

Online Links
Supplementary Materials

The following supplementary materials are available for this chapter:


What You Absolutely Have to Do to Learn Something

This web site gives a detailed presentation of Chapter 2 of a book being written by Ed Vockell entitled Study Skills. It supplies examples and guidelines in much greater depth than is possible in a single book chapter. As such, it is also an excellent supplement to the phases of learning section of chapter 3 in Educational Psychology: A Practical Approach.


Bloom's Taxonomy Web Page by Edward Vockell

This web site gives a detailed presentation of the various levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. Its goal is to enable readers to make clear distinctions among the various levels of cognitive objectives.

Workbook Chapter Online

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Annotated Questions Online by Edward Vockell

These are questions from the workbook with annotations describing why particular answers are right or wrong.




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