An Introduction to Theories of Learning (6th Edition)

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9780130167354: An Introduction to Theories of Learning (6th Edition)

This proven, comprehensive volume defines learning and shows how the learning process is studied. It learning in its historical perspective, giving readers an appreciation for the figures and theories that have shaped 100 years of learning theory research. Presents essential features of the major theories of learning and examines some of the relationships between learning theory and educational practices. Offers a new chapter introducing Evolutionary Psychology and its approach to learning. Covers current topics including the neuropsychology of amnesia, the neuropsychological distinction between declarative learning and memory and procedural learning and memory, the neuropsychology of reinforcement and addiction, and on-line learning and distance education. Provides examples of theory in practice throughout. Features end-of-chapter evaluation sections that include conditions and criticisms. For administrators, educators, or anyone looking for information about how people learn.

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This comprehensive text is the only current text that utilizes the great theory/great theorist approach. Each chapter focuses on the contributions of influential theorists (e.g., Thorndike, Pavlov, Skinner, Hull, Piaget etc.), traces the historical development of their theories, and considers how they relate to educational practice.

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Preface

As in previous editions, the four main goals of this textbook are to define learning and to show how the learning process is studied (Chapters 1 and 2) ; to place learning theory in historical perspective (Chapter 3); to present essential features of the major theories of learning (Chapters 4 through 15); and to examine some of the relationships that exist between learning theory and educational practices (Chapter 16).

We have attempted to retain the best features of earlier editions while making revisions that reflect current research and scholarship. The most significant revisions include the following:

  • A new chapter introducing Evolutionary Psychology and the evolutionary perspective on learning has been added. The chapter features the work of Robert C. Bolles with non-humans and includes the work of contemporary evolutionary psychologists, like David Buss, who have examined human learning in an evolutionary context. Topics include a presentation of evolutionary theory, mating strategies, human aggression, and language learning.
  • Chapter featuring the work of Donald Norman and the linear approach to information processing has been deleted.
  • New information about the neuropsychology of amnesia has been added.
  • New information concerning the neuropsychological distinction between procedural and declarative memory is included.
  • Contemporary information discussing reinforcement and the brain and mechanisms of addiction has been added.
  • On-line learning and distance education are discussed in Chapter 16.
  • References and materials are updated throughout the text.

We would like to express our gratitude to the individuals whose contributions helped shape this edition. They include john W. Moore, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who gave freely of his time and expertise in many areas in learning theory; J. Thomas Head, Director of Instructional Services at Virginia Tech, who provided information concerning on-line education and distance learning; and David Buss, University of Texas at Austin, and John Garcia, UCLA, who provided photographs for the new chapter on Evolutionary Psychology.

We are particularly indebted to Edward Green, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Donna Larson, Grand Valley State University, William Potter, California State University at Stanislaus, and Randall J. Russac, University of North Florida, who provided extensive formative reviews of the fifth edition and made significant recommendations for the sixth.

We would also like to thank the outstanding faculty of the Psychology Department at Hamline University: Professors Dorothee Dietrich, R. Kim Guenther, Chuck LaBounty, and Robin Parritz, who made it possible for Olson to devote time to this project. And we would like to thank Production Editor Marianne Hutchinson who provided outstanding assistance on behalf of Pine Tree Composition and Prentice Hall. Finally we would like to express our gratitude to Marce SodermanOlson for her inspiration and encouragement.

Any questions, suggestions, or comments about this text should be directed to Matthew Olson in the Psychology Department at Hamline University, St. Paul, MN 55404 or by e-mail: molson@gw.hamline.edu.

B. R. Hergenhahn
Matthew H. Olson

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