Theories of learning

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  • Theories of learning
    • Operant conditioning
      • Based on the work of Skinner (1948)
        • He observed rats in a cage called the 'Skinner box'. Each time the rat hit a mechanism it delivered food. At first, the rats hit the mechanism by accident but quickly learnt to hit it to gain their rewards.
      • Skinner thought learning occurs as a result of the association between a stimulus and a response.
        • This connection between the stimulus and response is called the S-R bond, for example if a shuttlecock is returned high in the air the best response would be to do a smash shot.
          • A coach would then either strengthen or weaken the bond depending on how the individual performs what they have learnt through trial and error.
            • There are 3 forms of reinforcement
              • Positive reinforcement is when the correct response would be positively reinforced by a coach as they want to motivate the individual to keep repeating the action to form a habit gain continual success, this would create feelings of satisfaction and it would act as a ‘satisfier’.
                • Negative reinforcement promotes correct actions by taking away the unpleasant stimulus when the performer does it right, e.g. negative criticism is withdrawn.
                  • Punishment is when the coach gives an unpleasant stimulus to prevent something happening again that is incorrect, e.g. a red card in football this would act as an ‘annoyer’.
      • A03-Operant conditioning is fairly effective as the coach can strengthen or weaken the stimulus response bond in isolation to ensure that the skill in correctly performed in competitive situations.
        • The coach can also provide praise via positive reinforcement to make the individual motivated and want to learn more.
          • A03-Applying the skill to other environments can be difficult for a performer as the coach often manipulates the environment to make learning the skill easier.
            • If a person is punished, e.g. getting sent off in a match, could cause resentment and have an overall negative effect on the individual.
    • Observational learning
      • Based on the work of Bandura
        • Bandura suggested that both unacceptable and acceptable behaviour can be learned by watching then copying other people.
          • Bandura suggested that you are more likely to copy a model demonstration if the coach uses four processes:
            • Attention= A performer takes note of the relevant cues. The more attractive the ‘demo’ is to the player, the more likely it is to be copied.
              • Retention= Retention is the ability to remember information and is able to recall it from the memory system.
                • Motor production= Having the mental and physical ability to do the task.
                  • Motivation= Motivation is the drive needed to copy the demonstration.
      • A03- Helps form a motor programme due to demonstrations and breaking down information.
        • Someone significant showing the demonstrations is more effective as the performer is motivated to listen.
        • A03- A player could pick up bad habits if taught wrong.
          • The skill could be copied not taught.
          • Could be hard to apply to other environments
    • Insight learning
      • Based on the work of the Gestalts and Kohler
        • Insight learning is using experience and understanding to solve problems.
          • It relates to the whole skill, rather than learning specific movement patterns in sub-routines.
      • It aims to provide self-satisfaction and provide intrinsic motivation to the learner as they have understood something for themselves.
        • It makes an individual question themselves and visualise to solve a problem, rather than just using trial and error.
        • A03- Insight learning is a fairly effective theory as it generates pure understanding of the skill and the cognitive process allows for adaption in various settings.
          • The individual becomes more independent and doesn't have to rely on extrinsic feedback from their coach.
          • It provides self-satisfaction and intrinsic motivation.
            • A03- It could be considered ineffective if a performer doesn't have the ability to think for themselves in a situation
              • It can be very time consuming.
    • Social development theory
      • Based on the work of Vygotsky
      • Vygotsky looked at the development of young children and decided that the interaction with others plays a vital role in learning.
        • He suggested that both acceptable and unacceptable behaviour can be learnt through watching and copying others.
        • Skills can be learnt from others such as coaches and these are known as 'more knowledgeable others'.
          • During development, skills are learnt from the coach by a process called inter-psychological learning. This learning is external and is absorbed for learning to take place. The learner then has to use their cognitive abilities to internally analyse and construct ideas based on what they have learnt.
            • When learning takes place from within it is known as intra-psychological learning
            • Vygotsky also suggested that learning can be constructed in stages, allowing an individual to build on what they already know.
              • During intra-psychological learning the performer assesses what they can do alone, what they can do with help and what they can not yet do.
                • What they can not yet do is the next stage of learning - this is known as their zone of proximal development.
                • A03- Vycotsky assumes cognitive development varies across cultures he does not universalise his theory.
                  • A03- It could be argued that people develop in different stages or may not need as much help- meaning they would develop differently to his model.
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