Instructional Design Foundations: Learning Theories

Instructional Design newcomers will promptly become familiar with the most popular learning theories as they are the foundation to becoming an effective designer.  Understanding learning theories will assist with understanding individuals in your audience.  This is imperative to the learning process because knowing how individuals learn and what influences their actions and reactions will help the instructor understand how to change and adapt material that will maximize the learning experience.

This article also outlines and discusses the 3 most popular Learning Theories in Instructional Design which are Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism.  There is not a set of rules that says that one theory is better over the other.  Deciding which theory to use is dependent upon a couple of factors such goals of the instructional designer, business objectives of the organization, the audience, and subject matter.  There are instances where a mix of learning theories are incorporated into the material order cohesively and thoroughly cover the material.  Please view the following link for details:

The basic learning theories, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism as it relates to adult learning and training is discussed in the blog, “All about: Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective

This blog provides very specific details on the differences between the theories and also provides a high level outline of how to determine differentiate between the theories and when to utilize which theory during course development.  The article also compares theories and provides examples of scenarios of when the theory is used.   Please review the following link for details:


The next article, “Learning theory: Models, Product, and Process” discusses the definition of learning and provides descriptive models to outline how individuals learn, which is broken down into five categories:

  1. Learning as a quantitative increase in knowledge. Learning is acquiring information or ‘knowing a lot’.
  2. Learning as memorizing. Learning is storing information that can be reproduced.
  3. Learning as acquiring facts, skills, and methods that can be retained and used as necessary.
  4. Learning as making sense or abstracting meaning. Learning involves relating parts of the subject matter to each other and to the real world.
  5. Learning as interpreting and understanding reality in a different way. Learning involves comprehending the world by reinterpreting knowledge.

Please click on the following link for details:


I think each of these articles will be referenced repeatedly in my Instructional Design career because they provide vital foundational information for  course design.


2 thoughts on “Instructional Design Foundations: Learning Theories

  1. Judi Pochran says:

    Vasheti, I enjoyed reading your article. I really liked the elearningnews site. It was scholarly and professional and I could see how it will be very beneficial in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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