Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism Discussion

What is one idea from your reading or video that you disagree with and why? 

A particular aspect of Chapter 11, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, that I disagree with is their definition of what learning is. As stated at the beginning of the chapter, “learning is an enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience” (Ertmer & Newby, 2018). In general, different learning theories should be used for different methods of instruction based on your objected learning outcomes. Therefore, all three learning theories should be valued, considered, and implemented when discussing learning. However, the definition of learning that is given in the chapter is perceived to be a behaviourist specific definition of learning. The reason why I disagree with this definition is because not all learning is a change in behaviour, or it effects the way that you behave. Rather, I believe that learning is a constant ongoing process, “it involves understanding, relating ideas, making connections” (Queens University , 2016), and being able to transfer learned material with prior knowledge. This definition of learning is given is a misrepresentation of learning as a whole and it does not acknowledge the different ways in which humans learn. 

Another reason why I disagree with this definition of learning is because it does not apply to all age groups. Personally, I teach primarily middle school. However, there are instances where I also teach elementary and high school. Through my experiences, it is evident that learning design and instruction is different in every age group with different learning outcomes. I believe that behaviourist strategies are best suited for primary ages. Therefore, the definition only describes a limited viewpoint of learning through a behaviourist lens, it does not recognize other learning theories and the practical aspect of what all students learn, understand, and are guided through in K-12 education. Overall, although I think all learning strategies should be used, based on my understanding of learning, the ages that I primarily teach, and the activities that I guide my students through, this general definition of learning is misleading and incorrect.


West, R. E. (2018). Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology (1st ed.). EdTech Books.

Queens University. (2016). What is learning? What is Learning? Retrieved from 

3 Replies to “Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism Discussion”

  1. Hey Josh! I am so excited to be back in the “classroom” with you and to collaborate and learn together once again! If you check out my first blog regarding the topic of Motivation and Learning theories, you will find that I too had trouble wrapping my head around definitions defined in the chapter 11, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism reading. The entire topic of learning theories and defining what learning is and is not agitates me. I agree with your idea about learning being an ever-changing process, unique to the individual and to the specific learning situation. I also found myself nodding along with your thought about the biased views of what is the most effective learning theory as stated by the article. As always in past courses, I love reading your opinions and thoughts in your blog posts! I look forward to more to come.

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