Thecontemporary education system is highly complicated. Numerouslearning approaches work for everyone depending on the context andthe lenses the person is using to view the setting. This complexityhas prompted psychologists in the education sector to focus on theidentification and study of learning techniques as well as applicabletheories that can be easily understood by individuals and how theycan employ them in the absorption and retention of information.
Psychologistsin this sector apply various theories to explain the learning stylesof people and also inform the education processes. However much theteacher-student interaction is an important feature of the schoolsystem, it is only a part of the learning process. Learning is alwaysa lifelong struggle. Psychologists are interested in how individualslearn in different environments and come up with approaches andpolicies to make the learning process efficient.
Thisdiversity forms a good platform to look at some of the theorists,their works, and their implications on the contemporary educationsector as well as the comparison among them.
Overviewof the Theorists
Inmy case, I settled on Jean Piaget and Albert Bandura who are notablefigures in the cognitive and the social learning theoriesrespectively. Jean Piaget, born in 1896, was an employee at the BinetInstitute. While there, in the 1920s, his primary duty was to come upwith the French versions of the intelligence tests set in English.His curiosity was sparked by the levels of wrong feedbacks recordedin the questions that required the aspect of logical thinking. He wascertain that the wrong answers depicted the significant differencesbetween adults and the children. In the year 1936, he described thisusing the term genetic epistemology, which meant the origins of thethoughts (Ghazi et al., 2016). Genetics is a field that focuses onthe root of things while epistemology looks at the categories ofthinking or the structures of intelligence.
AlbertBandura, on the other hand, integrated the aspects of behaviorisminto the cognitive techniques to come up with the social learningtheory (Brauer et al., 2012). He is widely known for the concepts ofself-efficacy and his experiments of the Bobo doll. Born on December4th 1925, he was a graduate of the University of British Columbia. Hegraduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 1952,he went ahead and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, in thefield of Clinical Psychology. The following year, 1953, he became ateacher at Stanford University. In 1974, he also served as aPresident of the American Psychological Association. He receivednumerous awards as a distinguished scientific contributor in 1980 andas the outstanding lifetime contributor to Psychology in 2004.
TheTheorists and their Contributions to Education Today
Inthe genetic epistemology, Piaget was not interested in measuringcounting among children, or spellings or problem-solving as amechanism of rating their intelligence quotient. His primary concernwas to find out how the major concepts, like the real aspect ofnumbers, time, amounts, causality, and fairness among others cameinto the picture. In fact, he was the first individual in the fieldof psychology to systematically study cognitive development. Henotably contributed in the field of children development throughthorough observational examination of cognition in young ones, andsome simple but resourceful studies to bring out the variouscognitive capabilities (Ghazi et al., 2016). Before his works, theshared assumption among individuals was that children are lesscompetent in the thinking perspective when compared to adults. Heportrayed that children thing differently when compared to adults. Asper his works, the mental structure is inborn, and it is eithergenetically inherited or a product of evolution. It provides thefoundation of all following learning processes and knowledge.
Theprincipal aim of the theory is to describe the mechanisms and theprocedures through which infants and then children grow intoindependent individuals that can think and reason by the use ofhypothesis. To him, development of the cognitive abilities was anongoing restructuring of the rational processes due to beingbiologically mature and the experiences within the environment.Children create their understanding of what is around them. It isfrom there that they experience the inconsistencies between what theyalready saw in the past and what they see in the contextualenvironment (Paas et al., 2014). The major components in his theoryincluded the basic blocks of knowledge building, the adaptationmechanisms, and the developmental stages.
Inpractice today, the hypothesis has significantly shaped our views onchildren understanding. The theory is widely applicable in manyschools across the world. It is also used in the creation ofchildren’s curriculum. It is his works that created the basis ofthe idea of ages in phases of development among children. The ideahas been used in the prediction of the abilities of what the child isable or cannot comprehend depending on their levels development. Hismost outstanding contribution to education psychology wasappreciative that children could construct their individual knowledgeand from it learn through experiences. School managers have used thisapproach this method to come up with curriculums in which learnersthrough experiences.
ii.Albert Banduras Social Learning Theory
Inthis theory, Bandura posits that individuals learn from one anotherthrough observation, copying, and demonstrating. The hypothesis hasalways been argued as the link between behaviorist and cognitivisthypothesis since it incorporates attention, retention, and aspects ofmotivation. He argues that learning is only realized throughobservation of other people`s activities, attitudes, and the resultsof their behaviors (Kattari, 2015). Much of human culture is learnedthrough observing through demonstration. It is from the observationthat one comes up with an idea on how to perform a new behavior andin later occurrences the coded information acts as a guideline forindividual actions. The theory explains the human culture regardingincessant shared interactions involving the mental, interactive andthe surrounding influences.
Banduradescribes certain conditions as prerequisites for effectivedemonstrating. The conditions include being attentive, retaining whathas been observed and reproducing what has been learned. However,there should be motivation in that there is a logical reason as towhy the behavior should be imitated (Brauer, 2012).
Inschools, many policies have drawn principles from this field toincrease the knowledge achievement and retention among students.Teachers also make use of guided participation, mutual learning,modeling certain behaviors, and reinforcements to enhance learning.Which integration of technology into learning activities, certaingames have been incorporated into the learning processes tostrengthen knowledge while at the same time increasing peerassistance, discussions, deep thinking and nurturing of leadershipskills.
Comparisonbetween the two Theorists
Thetwo scholars made significant contributions in the psychologicalfield. This assertion directly implies that there are somedifferences and similarities between them. The fact that they focusedon different age groups shows that differences are inevitable intheir works.
First,Piaget’s theory is much concentrated on how people process variousmental behaviors. He attempts to dig in the biological determinantson ways through which people get to know things. He goes on to assertthat this is the primary feature that distinguishes man from otheranimals (Paas et al., 2014). On the other hand, Bandura`s works aremore centered on how individuals relate to one another and thevarious social aspects that shape learning. Bandura looks atpersonality, such as a product of behavior, environment, and theindividual’s mental procedures. The psychological progressionsinclude one’s ability to retain images and language in mind.
Boththe two theorists borrow primarily from the behaviorist theories.They both believe that the environment plays a critical role inshaping the performance of the learners in different spheres of life.Piaget is interested in how a child adapts to the changes in theenvironment while Bandura emphasizes on the interaction and imitationfrom the environment (Kattari, 2015).
Anothersimilarity between the two is that they both have phases that can beemulated as well as followed. However, these steps are different inthat the social learning theory incorporates the modeling stepswhereas the cognitive theory has the stages of cognitive development.
Thediscussion brings out the various ways in which learning processescan be looked at by employing different ideas. Psychologists ingeneral and Piaget and Bandura, in particular, have contributed in avariety of ways to the learning systems. Both Piaget’s andBandura’s theories are still applicable today in various contextsdespite their differences and similarities.
Brauer,J. R., & Tittle, C. R. (2012). Social Learning Theory and HumanReinforcement. SociologicalSpectrum,32(2),157-177.
Ghazi,S. R., & Ullah, K. (2016). Concrete operational stage of piaget`scognitive development theory: an implication in learning mathematics.GomalUniversity Journal Of Research,32(1),9-20.
Kattari,S. (2015). Examining Ableism in Higher Education through SocialDominance Theory and Social Learning Theory. InnovativeHigher Education,40(5),375-386.
Paas,F., & Ayres, P. (2014). Cognitive Load Theory: A Broader View onthe Role of Memory in Learning and Education. EducationalPsychology Review,26(2),191-195.