Theories of Learning

  • Operant conditioning
  • Social learning theory
  • Cognitive/insight learning
  • Classical conditioning
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  • Theories of Learning
    • Operant Conditioning
      • Thorndyke's Laws
        • Law of exercise - rehearsing the stimulus response connections helps strengthen them and reinforce the correct skill
        • Law of effect - if the skill is followed by a pleasant reaction, then the SR bond is strengthened but, if the following reaction is negative, then the SR bond is weakened
        • Law of readiness - the athlete must be both mentally and physically capable of performing the skill efficiently
      • Positive reinforcement
        • Rewards given out when desired response is shown e.g. coach giving a badminton player praise for performing the correct serve. Strengthens the SR bond, making the response more likely to be repeated in the same situationj
      • Negative reinforcement
        • Feedback in a negative form will stop giving negative feedback once the desired response is shown. Strengthens the SR bond as performer will see when the correct response is performed
      • Punishment
        • This can be used when the undesired response is shown e.g. coach sending a rugby player off the pitch for a reckless tackle. Weakens the SR bond so this action is less likely to be repeated in the future
      • Also mention: Trial and error Skinner's rats
    • Cognitive/Insight Learning
      • Performer learns from past experiences. Performer needs to understand the whole problem before performing the skill correctly. They then base their response on their previous experience and current situation
      • E.g. High jumper performing the whole skill to enable them to decide which foot is best to take off with
    • Social Learning Theory
      • Performers learn new skills by observing others e.g. tennis player watching a serve being demonstrated and then performing it them self
      • Attention
        • Performers need to be to watch clear demonstrations set to their ability level
      • Retention
        • Creating a mental picture and mental rehearsal take place when practicing the skill in the mind over and over so correct movements are performed in correct order
      • Motor production
        • Physical movements to perform the skill
      • Motivation
        • The learners need, want or desire to replicate the skilled action
    • Classical Conditioning
      • Athletes know what to do without having to think about it e.g. referee blowing the whistle and everyone stopping as it is the desired response
      • Pavlov's dogs


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