Learning Theories In Education


If you are studying hard to become a teaching professional, it is utmost necessary for you to gain knowledge of educational learning theories. No matter whether you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree or any alternative certificate program, learning the paradigm of educational learning theories will help teachers improve how students learn new skills and concepts. Let us know ‘Learning Theories In Education’.

Learning Theories In Education

Sometimes, people are skeptical about learning theories, believing they will not be relevant to the real world. But, these learning theories are relatable and widely applicable. Let us dive into all the details you need to know about the learning theories in education and why they are so important.

Learning Theories In Education

The learning theory defines the different ways of learning by focusing on the external and internal influences that shape the learning process. Because of being a bit complex, there are multiple theories available to describe the different ways of learning. 

When in college, students aspiring to be teachers are made to learn a gamut of learning theories in education they can execute in the classroom. These multiple theories can help students learn class content in ways that are relatable to them. 

Why are learning theories important?

Learning theories are important because they can help improve how students learn new skills and concepts. These theories modify the content of the course curriculum, and even change the way parents explain things to their children. 

Understanding these theories will help acquire clarity in understanding the way students learn. As a result, teachers will provide broader learning strategies, relevant to all students. Understanding learning theories will help deliver information effectively. 

People who are fond of teaching and want to be in this profession spend so much time learning human development and other theories. Introductory knowledge of how humans learn and develop cognitively is essential for all teachers to become the most successful mentor in the classroom. 

What are different types of learning theories?

To help you know more about the learning theories, we have come up with a list comprising the most common theories along with their strategies. 

Behavioral theory: 

Behaviorism or behavioral learning theory focuses on the concept that students can learn behavior through external forces in a classroom. This behavioral theory helps students with positive support in the classroom. A reward can be defined as an external force, affecting a child’s learning. According to this learning theory, if you give your student a positive reward for their activity or behavior, they will repeat the same behavior.

Another external factor that this theory identifies is negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is not applied to punish students but to motivate them to change their bad behavior toward others. 

Here are a few behavioral strategies that can be used in classrooms;

  • Drills: Drills are known to be the constant ways of practicing and applying the same behavior that they have learned in the classroom. 
  • Guided practice: Teachers can guide students with an example problem on a worksheet to practice the right behavior. This will help students learn the right way to respond when working on similar problems like this. 
  • Daily reviews: Reviewing materials on a regular basis will help students retain information. Teachers will be able to praise students when they are doing well. 

Cognitive Theory: 

While behavioral theory focuses on how people learn through external forces, this cognitive theory is all about how internal and external forces can create an impact on the student’s ability to learn. This theory says that students are known to be an active participants in learning because they have their knowledge, skills, and memories that can help them in learning.

These are some cognitive learning strategies you can apply in the classroom:

  • Discussions: Teachers should make it a point to promote discussions in class about daily lessons. This will help them remember what they have learned and will improve their understanding of the lessons by hearing the observations, made by others.
  • Visual interpretation: If possible, provide visual stimuli to students for better understanding of something new. This will also increase their liking of remembering the lesson. Visualizations help learners categorize the new visuals with what they have learned earlier.
  • Reflections: Allow learners a chance to reflect separately on what they have learned. For example, they can write in a journal to process their learning before remembering it and moving on to the next one.

Constructivism Theory: 

This learning theory states that learners develop an understanding of something new based on previous knowledge. Students are capable enough of building new knowledge by finding out the relation between new and old information. 

They connect new experiences to previous events which results in expanding their world of knowledge. Because every student has different experiences and knowledge, constructivism says that learning is different for different people.  

Here are a few constructive strategies that can be used in the classroom

  • Research projects: Allowing students the chance to research topics learned in class will help them to relate the newly found information to what they have learned before. 
  • Practical knowledge: Field trips can help students see concepts in the real environment. This will improve their practical skills. They can even build a better understanding of what they have already learned in school. 
  • Experiments: Help students conduct experiments on something they have learned in class. This will help them get an idea of the concept in a much better way. Such experiments are good for a hands-on point of view of the concept.

Connectivism Theory: 

This newly developed theory focuses on the concept that students learn best through digital networks. Technology makes their learning better. This theory of learning tells about the importance of the digital network in increasing a student’s focus on learning and adopting new skills.

Here are some Connectivism strategies that can be used in the classroom

  • Activities: Connectivism focuses on students learning information online. Therefore, focusing on activities related to digital networks will help students learn more. 
  • Social networks: Students are allowed to use social networks for answers to the questions they have while learning. They can even ask and connect with others who might respond to their question. This will increase their liking of topics they have learned in class. 
  • Readily available technology: students should be allowed to use computers and phones to learn new things. This will encourage them to learn more. 

Humanistic theory

Last but not the least, comes the Humanistic theory. This learning theory says that students benefit from education only when teachers focus on teaching all aspects of a child by making use of their social skills, practical skills, and all the other feelings. The aim is to focus on student-centric learning, which gives learners more insights into what they learn. Teachers can execute this theory in their classroom by giving students different ways to learn content in the classroom.  

Here are some humanistic strategies that can be used by teachers in the classroom

  • Co-operative learning: Co-operative learning helps students to work together on a particular project or assignment. This makes learning fun and students in each group can find a role as per their strength.
  • Differentiated learning: helping students with multiple ways to view the same content allows them to learn fast. For example, give them content to read at multiple reading levels. They can select the one that helps them understand the material properly. 

Tips on how to execute these learning theories in the classroom

Below given are some tips that may help you apply these learning theories in the classroom. Check it out.

Help students create a target for themselves:

After teaching the day’s lesson, ask them to create a target. This will motivate them to do better in what they have learned in class.

Encourage real-world concepts:

Make sure you arrange field trips for your students on regular basis. This will expand their knowledge and skills on what they have learned in the classroom.

Track progress:

Students are capable enough to track their progress. Encourage them to do so helps them create a tracking sheet and check whether they are updating it or not. 

Collaborative learning:

Collaborative learning is all about helping students learn together. For example, if you have assigned a project, allow these students to make groups and work on it. This will improve their way of looking at things. 


All these theories are essential to understand. If you are heading towards the path of becoming a teacher, you must acquire knowledge about these theories. Learning them will help you teach your students in a much better and improved way. These theories are created to help teachers improve their way of learning. Whether you are pursuing higher studies or other courses o become a teacher, don’t skip learning these educational theories. These theories are designed with the purpose to help teachers execute new ways of learning and teaching students in classroom.

  1. What is the best learning theory in education?

All five learning theories are good individually. Amongst all the theories, the Connectivism theory is known for being the most updated one. The theory focuses on students learning through the digital network.

  1. Why learning theories in education is important?

Learning theories in education help teachers execute positive learning methods in the classroom. Learning these theories allows teachers to execute new methods of learning, which results in growth and improvement.

  1. What is the most used learning theory?

The most used learning theory so far is the behavioral learning theory. Behavioral theory focuses on how students learn through external forces like rewards.