Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective / Edition 3

Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective / Edition 3

by Dale H. Schunk
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Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective / Edition 3

This book provides succinct, complete overviews of all current behavioral and cognitive theories and presents their implications for learning and instruction. It covers motivation and self-regulation and contains a new chapter on development and learning. In addition to theory, it gives equal treatment to the applications of principles and concepts of teaching and learning. For educators and school administrators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780130108500
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 08/18/1999
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 522
Product dimensions: 7.79(w) x 9.57(h) x 1.14(d)

About the Author

Dale H. Schunk is Dean of the School of Education and Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Stanford University, a M.Ed. from Boston University, and a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana. He has held faculty positions at Purdue University (where he served as Head of the Department of Educational Studies), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where he also was Chair of the Academic Affairs Institutional Review Board), and the University of Houston.

Dale has edited six books, is co-author of Motivation in Education: Theory, Research, and Applications (Prentice Hall, 2008) and has authored over 80 articles and book chapters. He has served as President of Division 15-Educational Psychology for the American Psychological Association and as Secretary of Division C-Learning and Instruction for the American Educational Research Association. He is presently a member of the editorial boards of three professional journals.

Dale's teaching and research interests include learning, motivation, and self-regulation. He has received the Early Career Contributions Award in Educational Psychology from the American Psychological Association, the Albert J. Harris Research Award from the International Reading Association, and the Outstanding Service Award from the Purdue University School of Education

Table of Contents

1. Learning: Introduction, Issues, and Historical Perspectives.
2. Behavioral Theories.
3. Social Cognitive Theory.
4. Information Processing.
5. Cognitive Learning Processes.
6. Development and Learning.
7. Content-Area Learning.
8. Motivation.
9. Self-Regulation.
10. Instruction.
Author Index.
Subject Index.


Theory and research on human learning have expanded dramatically in recent years. This point is underscored by considering some of the topics addressed in this text that were not covered in the first edition published in 1991: constructivism, situated cognition, implicit theories, brain development, apprenticeships, peer collaboration, distance education, and E-learning. The relevance of each of these topics to human learning is now firmly established. Better integration with education of such disciplines as psychology, human development, and instructional technology has contributed to the expansion of the field of learning.

Despite all these changes, the primary objectives of this fourth edition remain the same as those of the previous three editions: (a) to inform students of learning theoretical principles, concepts, and research findings, especially as they relate to education, and (b) to provide applications of principles and concepts in settings where, teaching and learning occur. Although different theories of learning are discussed, the text continues to focus on cognitive perspectives. This focus is consistent with the contemporary emphasis on learners as seekers and constructors of knowledge rather than as reactors to events.


The text's 10 chapters are organized as follows. In the introductory chapter, I discuss learning theory-, research, and issues, as well as historical foundations of the study of learning and the relation of learning to instruction. The end of this chapter includes three scenarios involving elementary, secondary, and college classes. Throughout the text these scenarios are used todemonstrate applications of principles of learning, motivation, self-regulation, and instruction. Chapter 2 presents behavioral theories of learning. Current cognitive and constructivist views of learning are covered in subsequent chapters: social cognitive theory (Chapter 3); information processing (Chapter 4); cognitive learning processes (Chapter 5); cognition and instruction (Chapter 6); and constructivism (Chapter 7). The final three chapters cover topics relevant to learning: motivation (Chapter 8); content-area learning (Chapter 9); and development and learning (Chapter 10).


Readers familiar with prior editions will notice several content and organizational changes in this fourth edition, which reflect evolving theoretical and research emphases. Constructivism, which has become a major guiding framework in content learning and human development, is now covered in a separate chapter, although parts of this chapter—such as Vygotsky's theory—were included in prior editions. To provide better integration of self-regulation and instruction with learning theories, these topics now are integrated within each of the theory chapters rather than appearing as stand-alone chapters. This change reflects the increasing tendency of researchers from different theoretical traditions to investigate how learning principles apply to instructional contexts and students' efforts to self-regulate their academic actions. One exception is Chapter 6, cognition and instruction. This chapter stands alone because of the sheer amount of material relevant to the topic. Separate chapters on motivation and development and learning remain for the same reason, although discussions of these topics are intermingled in other chapters. Chapter 10—development and learning—has been substantially revised and now includes sections on familial and sociocultural influences on learning and brain development. These additions, like the other changes in this volume, reflect the increased interest among educators in these topics and an expanding research base on their role in human learning. Rapid developments in technology necessitated further refocusing of the section on technology and instruction (now in Chapter 6), and the continued growth of research relevant to learning resulted in more than 175 new references added to this edition—most of which were published in the last 5 years.

This edition continues to provide many examples of learning concepts and principles applied to settings where learning occurs. Each chapter gives informal examples in text and detailed applications. Many of the latter are set in the scenarios described in Chapter 1. Most of the applications pertain to school-age learners, but applications to younger and older students and to nonschool settings also are included.

The text is intended for use by graduate students in education or related disciplines, as well as by upper-level undergraduates interested in education. I assume that most students have taken a prior course in education or psychology and work in an educational capacity or anticipate pursuing an educational career. In addition to courses on learning, the text is appropriate for any course that covers learning in more than a cursory fashion—for example, courses on motivation, educational psychology, human development, and instructional design.

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