educational psychology theories
This article presents a brief overview of developments in educational psychology over the last twenty‐five years. It firstly presents an historical context by reviewing four basic emphases in educational psychology; cognitive psychology, behavioural psychology, social cognitive theory and humanism. The article then reviews the growth in cognitive psychology research by briefly examining developments arising from Piagetian, Vygotskian and information processing theories. The article examines the development of constructivist approaches to learning and teaching, and the growth in cognitive theories of motivation. Cross‐cultural, methodological and other developments in educational psychology are also briefly examined. The article concludes with five paradoxes to stimulate the reader to consider some implications of this 25 year overview.
I would like to thank sincerely Ray Debus, Martin Dowson, Herb Marsh, Andrew Martin, Mike Pressley, Phil Winne, and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. They kept my historicity in order and my idiosyncrasies in check.
Educational psychology commonly is described as “a mediating discipline” or “conduit” between academic psychology and the field of education, through which relevant psychological theorizing and research are developed and applied to educational aims and contexts. On its face, such a description appears noncontroversial. However, that in which psychology, educational psychology, education, and their relationships consist is multifarious, complex, and has mutated overtime, susceptible to shifts in the history of ideas, social practices and the structure and function of institutions that implement and sustain them. These considerations complicate the task of defining educational psychology.
Courses and programs in educational psychology populate universities worldwide. There are academic departments, international organizations, doctoral degrees, legion texts, and scores of academic journals devoted to the subject.
Classical conditioning hearkens back to Pavlov’s experiment with his salivating dogs. It’s basic premise is that behaviors can be conditioned by pairing stimuli with responses. Educational examples may include test anxiety or a general dislike or enjoyment of a subject. In classical conditioning, responses are involuntary.
Behavioral theories define learning as a “semi-permanent change in behavior.” In other words, learning has only taken place if a change in behavior is evident. Pure behaviorists are not concerned with internal process, but with external exibitions. There are two main theories involved: Classical conditioning and operant conditioning.