APSY 2032 Lecture 3: Jan 30_Psych of Learning_Perez
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Department
Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology
Course
APSY 2032
Professor
Perez
Semester
Spring

Description
January 30 Learning Theories pt. 2 Week 3 Outline Learning Theories pt. 2 → Nativism vs. Empiricism → Constructivist Approach (beyond empiricism) → Piaget’s Stage Theory → Vygotsky’s Socio-Cultural Theory → Piaget vs. Vygotsky Nativism vs. Empiricism I. Nativism is a learning perspective that argues that certain skills or abilities are “native” or hard-wired into the brain at birth A. Language acquisition typically used as support for nativist perspective B. Four assumptions long associated with the “nativist” argument for language acquisition 1. Rapid (give or take 5yrs) 2. Instantaneous (but a process) 3. Happens without direct instruction (prior to formal schooling) 4. Happens in spite of inadequate input (fast speech, slurred words, etc. from adult models) II. Empiricism is a learning perspective that argues that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experiences A. Largely based on scientific method (ideas must be tested through experience) B. Knowledge is tentative, subject to continued revision and falsification C. Constructivist learning theories, like Piaget and Vygotsky, spawned from empiricism Constructivism I. Basics A. Children are born “tabula rasa” (a blank slate) B. Experience does not automatically result in learning (as is argued by empiricists), but by our own analysis of these experiences (construction of knowledge) C. Process of constructing “mental models” (i.e. schemes) to explain what we experience 1. Learning takes place whenever we adjust our existing mental models to incorporate new experiences D. Both Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories are considered constructivist theories 1. Child plays an active role in their development and thus, in the construction of knowledge II. Piaget’s Stage Theory A. Assumptions 1. Development is an inherently active and constructive process. What does this mean? a) The active part is about children exploring their environment b) They then construct schemes that are constantly revised c) Children are motivated to investigate and explore the world around them and to solve problems d) As they explore, children attempt to make sense of the world in terms of their existing knowledge e) They form new knowledge when they experience their existing knowledge to be insufficient f) Interaction with the physical world is a critical part of this process 2. Development is not simply a matter of improvements or advancements in existing abilities a) Younger children think in ways that are qualitatively different from, not necessarily inferior to, the ways in which older children think b) However, new abilities don’t simply pop all of the sudden once a child hits a certain age c) New abilities and cognitive capacities gradually emerge from earlier abilities B. Schemes and Operations 1. Piaget argued that the basic unit of knowledge used to construct reality is the scheme a) Children begin with very simple schemes that allow them to perform very basic actions (e.g. grasping, sucking) and identify objects b) By using these s
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