“A learning theory is simply a theory about how people learn” (Rothwell & Kazanas, 2008, p. 427) that provides for the reliable prediction, selection and integration of “...verified instructional strategies, tactics, and techniques...within the instructional context” (Ertmer & Newby, 1993/2013, p. 51/44). While numerous learning theories exist, and are debated, the consensus is that there are three primary theories: behaviorism, cognivitism and constructivism; each of which can be applied to aviation education.
Behaviorism emphasizes changes in environmental factors (stimuli) and an individual’s response(s) those changes. Learning is related to changes in the manner and/or recurrence of observed performance, and is considered to be achieved once a desired response is exhibited as a result of a specific environmental stimulus (Ertmer & Newby, 1993/2013). The student, rather than taking an active role, is considered to be susceptible, and responsive, to changes in environmental conditions. Therefore, the emphasis in instruction is on improving a student’s observed performance through the use, and control, of environmental stimuli. This method has:
...generally been proven reliable and effective in facilitating learning that involves discriminations (recalling facts), generalizations (defining and illustrating concepts), associations (applying explanations), and chaining (automatically performing a specified procedure). However, it is generally agreed that behavioral principles cannot adequately explain the acquisition of higher level skills or those that require a greater depth of processing (e.g., language development, problem solving, inference generating, c...
... middle of paper ...
...ances. Understanding how students learn is of considerable importance in aviation education. In order to develop effective instruction, all dominant learning styles must be addressed and incorporated such that the presentation of the material will satisfy the different needs and styles of the student(s) (Karp, n.d.; Learning Styles Online, n.d.).
Motivation refers to a student’s drive, influences, goals and reasoning for pursuing a specific educational program. Motivation can be intrinsic, which refers to an individual’s personal drive, interest and/or curiosity; or extrinsic, which refers to any external influences that may drive a student to learn. Understanding, and balancing, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is essential in ensuring that the students remain interested, stimulated and challenged throughout the course of instruction (Kearns, 2010).
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