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As the name suggests, this theory is based on the processing of information by the mind. There is input, then processing and output. During this process, learning happens. It also suggests that learning is thinking, and information is sent to short term memory, then it is transferred to long term memory. It also highlights that through mnemonics, encoding, and some memory strategies, the retrieval processing of the mind can be facilitated. It explains learning like the processing of a computer. As opposed to behavioristic theory, cognitive theory concentrates on the brain and indicates that learning takes place during the processing of the mental representation of the objects. Jean Piaget is one of the key figures supporting this theory. 

As the founder of both radical behaviorism and behavior analysis, B.F. Skinner attempted to demonstrate orderly relations between behavior and the environment. He posits that if the environment is altered, then the feelings and thoughts of the individual will change accordingly. As the system is based on rewards and punishments, Skinner puts much emphasis on the reinforcement of desired behavior. He underscores the importance of mostly reward and to some extent to punishment in learning. As he calls it behaviorism is "a theory of learning which states all behaviors are learned through interaction with the environment through a process called conditioning." That's why behaviorists believe that "people act in response to internally or externally generated physical stimuli." For them, human nature is shaped, and in a way, is a product of the environment. If you change the environment, you change human being's social, psychological, emotional, cognitive faculties. Furthermore, good behaviors are backed up if reinforced, and undesired behaviors or misbehaving can be changed if privileges are removed or punishment is inflicted. 

Over centuries people have tried to find answers to the questions; What is learning? How do we learn? Epistemological Traditions and Experimental Approaches have come up to address these questions. Their answers differ based on their perspectives. For example; objectivism claimed that "Reality is external and independent", while objectivism revealed that "Reality is external and independent of the learner and comes to be known through sensory experience." Pragmatism, on the other hand, posited that "Reality exists but cannot be known directly; knowledge comes through signs and is always provisional", while interpretivism highlighted that "Reality and knowledge are constructed by the knower through rational thought."

Based on these traditions or approaches, researchers made observations and after much investigation, they constructed or verified propositions about what is learning is and how it happens. These propositions form the basis of theories. As much as we might like to think otherwise, however, "theories do not give us the truth of the matter. They simply provide a conceptual framework for making sense of the data that have been collected so far." And the actual fact of the matter is that "the process of theory building is recursive." Psychology, biology, computer science, and education are all at play when providing a conceptual framework for making sense of the data collected. Despite the differences among the learning theories, however, they do share some basic, definitional assumptions about learning, namely they all refer to learning as a persisting change in human performance or performance potential.

These traditions have some nuances regarding the source of knowledge. Empiricism for instance holds the belief "that that sensory experience is the only valid source of knowledge", while nativism favors the belief that "at least some knowledge is innate (i.e., present in  some form at birth)." Rationalism, on the other hand, holds the belief "that reason is the source of knowledge (i.e., the mind actively constructs knowledge). As well as the epistemological traditions, "there is a legacy of experimental approaches to learning upon which modern learning investigators have drawn." They'll be covered during the following days.




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Muhammed Özgür YAŞAR

Merhaba, ben Muhammed Özgür YAŞAR. İngilizce eğitmeni, yazar ve çevirmenim. 2000 yılında Çukurova Üniversitesi İngilizce Öğretmenliği Bölümü'nden mezun oldum. Halen Osmangazi Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi İngilizce Öğretmenliği Bölümü'nde Öğretim Görevlisi olarak çalışmaktayım. Akademik kariyerimde ELT, MOOC, Flipped Learning, Applied Linguistics ve Language and Technology konularına ilgi duymaktayım.

YDS Publsihing'te yayınlanmış 14 adet kitabım bulunmaktadır. sitesinde YDS, YÖKDİL, YKS-DİL, YDT ve Çeviriye yönelik Online derslerim vardır. Ayrıca "ARKADAŞ" adlı kitabın da yazarıyım.

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