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Views of learning

Explore the importance of understanding who our students are in designing engaging learning experiences.

Understanding who our students are is just one of the first steps in designing engaging learning experiences.

Having learned about our students, how might we then determine the most appropriate approaches to facilitate their learning?

Schunk (as cited in Thomas, 2020) suggests that, ‘teachers need to ask the question “How does learning occur?” and that whatever answer they come up with will inform lesson design, teaching practices and student activities’.

Harasim (2017, p. 4) indicates that learning theories are critical in this process because they ‘help us to understand both how knowledge is created and how people learn’.

Armed with this information, we can create learning experiences that are meaningful and relevant to our students.


The video above will introduce you to the main theories of learning – behaviourism, constructivism and cognitivism. As you watch the video, reflect on the theories in a practical sense; relate and compare them to your own practice and consider whether learning theories influence how you design and deliver effective learning experiences for your students.

In joining the PGCLaTHE, you will be introduced to further theories of learning that you’ll critique based on your context and use to develop your practice.

Your task

Having watched the video, tell us about the ways in which you think learning theories are useful to educational practice, if at all. Provide a brief justification for your view.
Read some of your peers’ comments – how do their views and justifications compare with your own? Critically respond to some of their comments.


Harasim, L. (2017). Learning theory and online technologies (2nd ed.). Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781315716831

Thomas, H. (2020). What are learning theories and why are they important for learning design? myBRAINisOPEN. Web link

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Exploring Teaching and Assessment for Higher Education

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