Informal Learning Experience Using Different Learning Theories
University of Phoenix
October 15, 2014
Throughout the past century, several theories of learning have developed in relation to associative learning, which is the most basic learning that there is. There are two types of associative learning: classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Later on in the mid 1900’s, another more advanced mode of learning was studied, that being observational learning. This paper will present an informal learning experience and use the different theories to break down how this learning could have occurred.
Informal Learning Experience
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For the next year, Anna would not eat hamburgers and stayed away from the kitchen or grill when they were cooking.
Applying different theories of learning: classical conditioning
Using the classical conditioning model of learning, the unconditional stimulus at first was the delicious smell and taste of cooked hamburger. This was a positive experience for Anna as she had had good experiences with hamburger prior to getting ill. Her unconditioned response was that she could feel her stomach rumbling and her mouth salivated. After Anna became ill, she associated hamburgers with symptoms of sickness, and the smell of cooked hamburger became a conditioned stimulus. Because of her negative experience with getting sick to her stomach the morning after eating the hamburger at the restaurant, she learned that the smell of hamburger gave her the conditioned response of feeling nauseous. She continued associating hamburger with a sick feeling. The smell had not changed, but her response was associated, so therefore, it became the conditioned stimulus.
Applying the next theory of learning: operant conditioning
Using the same experience of informal learning, and applying operant conditioning, Anna went through a behavior, which was eating her hamburger. The consequence in this model would be that she became sick to her stomach, whether by food poisoning or having contracted the flu. Prior to getting ill, the consequence was positive, which was Anna enjoying her hamburger. This was positively reinforced every time she had an enjoyable experience with hamburger – it encouraged her to continue ordering hamburgers. When Anna became ill, she stopped ordering hamburgers. This may have been reinforced by the action of her parents by not encouraging her to try hamburgers again, or by the fact that they kept the smell of cooked hamburger away from her. When she stopped eating the hamburgers, she no longer became ill, which in itself reinforced her behavior to not eat hamburgers.
Applying the third theory to the learning experience: observational
The observational learning theory involves a subject modeling behavior after someone that they hold in high regard or with an authoritarian attitude, such as Anna modeling her parents’ behavior and attitude. Anna looked up to her parents and believed that they knew...