IDea Institute, Fostering Excellence in Instructional Design, Evaluation and Assessment

A Comparison of Learning Theories

Course Description
How do people learn? It’s a natural process, right? Sometimes learning is as easy as breathing, other times as difficult as pulling teeth. The “why” of this is what we’ll explore in this course. And, we will examine how the insights gained through these learning theories can be applied in practice.

Who Should Participate
Performance Technologists, Instructional Designers, Trainers, Training and Human Resource Managers, Subject Matter Experts, as well as Educational and Instructional Technologists


  • Behaviorism — This theory says you can control and predict behavior, and that the mind doesn’t really play a role.
  • Cognitivism — Backlash to Behaviorism, it’s all about the mind.
  • Constructivism — This theory emphasizes that knowledge is ever changing and different for every person.
  • Social Cognitive Theory — Explains how and why we imitate people...says that anything that can be observed can be learned.
  • Summary and Assessment — We wrap up and give you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge.

Performance Objectives
By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Contrast key characteristics of four major learning theories.
  • Explain the origin of each theory.
  • Identify the researchers who were instrumental in the development of each theory.
  • Provide strengths and weaknesses of each theory.
  • Identify types of learning situations that are best suited to each theory.

You may also be interested in the following courses:

Introduction to Adult Learning
Introduction to Learning Styles
Models of Instruction
How to Write Performance-based Objectives
How to Write Effective Assessments
Rapid Evaluation Planning
Maximizing Impact in the Virtual Classroom



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