Module 2 “Isms” in Learning Theories

Learning Theories: A Pot of Gumbo, so who’s best

Blogging about educational topics, specifically about how students learn is hot. Why wouldn’t it be? Educational reform as a platform resurfaces year after. Theories such as cognitivism, behaviorism, CIP theory, schema theory, as well as others become dominant for awhile, then one seems to replace the other as the newest and best theory to identify how students learn. Many pundits such as Bill Kerr, Stephen Downes, and Karl Kapp have weighed in. As I throw my hat into the arena, I’d like to address Kerr’s (2007) contention that all of the isms and different learning theories help us to justify that reform is still needed, thus paving the way for a new ism. But more specifically, Kerr’s (2007) question, “Should we stick to -isms or should we be more pragmatic and just cherry pick different useful ideas out of the various theories?” While Kerr (2007) states he is uncertain of the answer to that question, we are all sure that these issues remain in education today. As such, some type of change is necessary.:

It seems to me that any conversation on educational reform, more specifically, boosting student achievement and enhancing the learning environment begins with acknowledging that endorsing any singular learning theory at the exclusion of others is a fallacy. This notion of either or has tainted education as far back as the days of John Dewey . In Experience and Education, Dewey (1938) warned educators about the dangers of dividing education into two camps. The two camps he cautioned were the ideas of Progressive vs Traditional education. These gave Dewey pause, just as choosing any one learning theory should give educators pause.  We can learn a lot from constructivism, behaviorism, cognitivism, humanism,etc.  Future research must be directed to how these learning theories work together and in the best interest of the student. We need to provide our students with an arsenal of weapons that enable them to learn.

Well that’s my take, Linette Rasheed

Here are links to Kapp and Kerr’s discussion.

Check out this Youtube video where each participant reenacts a singular theory, but in the end collectively agrees that the best interest of the student is to pull from each theory.

Also check out this blog on Dewey:




Dewey, J. (1938/1997). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone.

Hammonds, B. (2009, April 21). Experience and education-John Dewey 1938 [Web log post] Retrieved from

Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Mrjohns30. (2009, November 10). Learning theories video. Retrieved from


One thought on “Module 2 “Isms” in Learning Theories

  1. Hi Linette,

    I believe you are completely correct in your comment that “providing an arsenal of weapons that enable them to learn” is the best thing we as educators can do for students. I also feel that using a mixture of theories will allow us to provide the “weapons” as students learn. Using the mix of theories will ensure all students are included and the students will recognize the valued of our endeavors because they are learning.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s