Aussie Educator

Learning Theories

Many Learning Theories have been developed over a long period of time, though a majority of those now in use have arisen in the last century or so.

These theories apply to many different levels of educational learning.

Several theories and theorists stand out among this group, many for quite different reasons. Not all theories or theorists are covered on this page.

This page covers major theorists and their theories. Information includes biographies, information, further sources and an increasing number of videos.

For information on Learning & Teaching Styles, related methods and further information, go to this page.

A - H

Bandura, Albert

Bandura and his Social Cognitive Theory.

Bloom’s Taxonomy


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De Bono, Edward

Edward De Bono and lateral & creative thinking.

Dewey, John

Educational Theories

Videos, of varying lengths, freely available online from a number of sources. Specific videos included with some individual topics on this page.

Emilia, Reggio

An approach rather than an individual’s theory.

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Erikson, Erik

Information on the theorist and the Socioemotional Development Theory.

Freire, Paulo

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Froebel, Friedrich

Created the concept of Kindergarten, its name, and had further input into the foundation of modern education.

Gagne, Robert

  • Conditions of Learning - Gagne
    ‘This theory stipulates that there are several different types or levels of learning. The significance of these classifications is that each different type requires different types of instruction. Gagne identifies five major categories of learning. Different internal and external conditions are necessary for each type of learning’.
  • Gagne’s Nine Levels of Learning
    ‘Gagne’s Nine Levels of Learning provide a step-by-step approach that can help managers, trainers, and facilitators structure their training so that their students or teams get the most from their learning opportunities’.
  • Robert Gagné : The Conditions of Learning
    9+minute video from a course at an American university.
  • Robert Gagne’s Theory
    ‘Robert Gagne was an experimental psychologist who was concerned with learning and instruction for several decades. Gagne stressed that different variables influence the learning of different types of tasks’.

Gardner, Howard

See additional information on Multiple Intelligences on the Learning & Teaching Styles page.

Gestalt Theory

Gregorc, Anthony F.

Hattie, John [Visible Learning]

  • Evidence Based Teachers Network
    ‘Open to anyone in the teaching profession interested in using evidence-based methods either in their classroom or as a strategy for improving learning in their school or college’. UK Based. Information, resources, more.
  • John Hattie : Visible Learning Pt.1
    ‘Part 1 of edited highlights of a talk given by John Hattie who has led a team at Auckland University, New Zealand which compares the effect on learning of over 100 classroom interventions’. Part 2 is found here. Related videos are listed at the right of the screen.
  • Visible Learning
    News, videos, glossary, interview, rankings, weblinks, more.
  • Visible Learningplus
    ‘A professional development program for teachers that explores how evidence can be used to create innovation in the learning environment. Our work is focused on John Hattie’s research and the principles of Visible Learning and visible teaching’.

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I - P

Knowles, Malcolm

  • Knowles' Andragogy : an angle on adult learning
    ‘Knowles’ formulation of the principles of andragogy may be taken as much as an integration or summation of other learning theorists as in its own right’.
  • Malcolm_Knowles
    ‘Knowles expressed and taught on his strong beliefs that students should be self-directed learners, a concept that was unfamiliar; and sometimes unacceptable during his time’.
  • Malcolm Knowles and the Theory of Andragogy
    ‘Andragogy is Distinct from Pedagogy. Education of adults has long been perceived as different from education of children in both theory and practice. In this section general views of the purposes and characteristics will be given’.
  • Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and andragogy
    ‘A champion of andragogy, self-direction in learning and informal adult education. We review his life and achievements, and assess his contribution’.

Kolb, David

Maslow, Abraham

Mezirow, Jack

  • Mezirow’s Ten Phases of Transformative Learning
    ‘Mezirow states that there are four ways to learn : Refining or elaborating our meaning schemes [existing frames of reference]; Learning new meaning schemes [new frames of reference]; Transforming meaning schemes [habits of mind]; and Transforming meaning perspectives [points of view]’. Further sectrions about Transformative Learning.
  • Transformative Learning
    Mezirow, other perspectives, learning in practice including various roles, references, more. Wikipedia.
  • Transformative learning theory : …
    How Mezirow created a living seminal work through dialogue. PDF download available from the site.
  • Transformative Learning Theory - An Overview
    Part of a larger monograph. ‘This section provides a brief overview of transformative learning theory from the perspective of Jack Mezirow. Also discussed are the conditions that need to be present, from his perspective, to foster transformative learning’.

Montessori, Maria

  • American Montessori Consulting
    ‘Your one stop for complete Montessori information. Information, Montessori books, resources, links, discussion list, more’.
  • Introduction to Montessori and the Montessori Foundation
    ‘Video [8 mins.] produced as part of the National Education Report to briefly introduce Montessori education’. Links to related videos.
  • Maria Montessori
    Biography, background, career, methodology, references.
  • Montessori
    ‘The Montessori Foundation and the International Montessori Council’.
  • Montessori Method
    History, theory, practices, studies, terminology, references, links, more. Wikipedia.
  • The Montessori Method
    ‘The Philosophy & Practice of the Montessori Method of Education - for children from birth to age twelve, in the home and at school’.

Papert, Seymour

  • Constructionism
    ‘Constructionist learning is inspired by the constructivist theory that individual learners construct mental models in order to understand the world around them’. Instructional principles, Constructionsim and technology, computer programming languages, references, links, more. Wikipedia.
  • Educational Robotics and Constructionism [Papert]
    ‘Seymour Papert, a leading constructionism advocate and researcher, is for bringing technology into classrooms as much as possible. Constructionism can mostly be found being used as an educational tool in science and maths classrooms, though it is spreading to other subjects as well’.
  • Papert’s Ideas : Mainly from Mindstorms
    ‘In my view the central tenants of Papert’s thesis are educationally, socially and politically somewhat more radical. So, what is Papert really on about ?’ Read and discover.
  • Seymour Papert’s Legacy : …
    Thinking About Learning, and Learning About Thinking. A Tribute paper presented shortly after his death and covering all the main features of what he was about.

Piaget, Jean

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Q - Z

Rogers, Carl

Skinner, B.F.

Spearman, Charles

Steiner, Rudolf

Steiner and his theories, as demonstrated through implementation in Waldorf Schools.

Vygotsky, Lev

Wiliam, Dylan [Embedded Formative Assessment]

  • Assessment for Learning
    ‘Five key strategies for effective formative assessment - Dylan Wiliam and Marnie Thompson’. Video, approximately 6.5 minutes.
  • Dylan Wiliam : Tips for changing practice
    ACER. Video where ‘he sat down with Teacher editor Jo Earp and shared some tips for teachers and school leaders who wish to change their practice’.
  • Dylan Wiliam’s website
    Links to papers, publications, videos, professional development pack, resources, podcast, blog, other links, more.
  • Embedded Formative Assessment - Dylan Wiliam
    ‘Stresses the importance of formative assessment as a key process for increasing teacher quality whilst having the biggest impact on student outcomes’. Links to related videos.
  • Readings and resources on formative assessment
    ‘A wealth of reports and articles available concerning the principles and practices of formative assessment. We feature a key selection of them here’. Ministry of Education, New Zealand.
  • The Journey to Excellence
    Includes a video on Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam who ‘reviews the nature of formative assessment and how teachers can use it to gain better insights into student learning and achievement’. This link, Dylan Wiliam provides access to multiple, free videos by him.

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Other Information

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