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Theory Essay (B.F.Skinner And Jerome Bruner) Essay

Wednesday, October 10, 2001 This essay is based on the two theories by Jerome Bruner and B.F. Skinner. In this essay B.F.Skinners’ theory on Operant Conditioning is compared to that of Jerome Bruners’ theory on cognitive learning. This states the ideas and opinion’s of the two persons’ and their theories on learning.

Jerome Bruner had a great effect on cognitive learning. Bruners’ theory states, ” to perceive is to categorize, to conceptualize is to categorize, to learn is to form categories, to make decisions is to categorize.” Bruner maintained that people view the world in its similarities and differences and suggested a coding system which people can have a “˜hierarchical arrangement’ of related categories. Each level of categories becomes higher and more specific.

People interpret the world through similarities and differences that are found in objects and events. Objects that are seen as similar are placed in the same category. The major part of Jerome Bruners’ theory of learning is the coding systems where the learner organizes these categories. The organizing is meant to be involved in the information processing and decision-making.

This theory of Bruners’ emphasizes the formation of these coding systems. He believed that the systems ease transfer, enhance retention and increase problem solving and motivation. He recommended the discovery oriented learning methods in school which he believed helped students discover the relationship between categories.

B.F. skinners’ theory is based on the idea that learning is the function of the change in obvious behavior. In response to events that occur in the environment, there are changes in a behavior. A response results in consequences such as defining a word, hitting a ball, or solving a math problem. When a particular S-R pattern is rewarded, the person is trained to react. Skinner’s is usually taken to be the most enveloping, but not the only form of behaviorism. One of the characteristic features of Skinner’s theory is that it attempts to provide behavioral clarification for a wide range of Cognitive occurrence. Support is the key element in Skinner’s S-R theory. This strengthens the preferred reaction. It could be verbal praise, a good grade or a feeling of increased accomplishment or satisfaction. The theory also covers punishments that result in the fall of undesired reactions.

Operant conditioning has been widely applied in clinical settings as well as teaching and instructional progress. Consider the suggestions of this theory for the development of programmed instruction: 1. Practice should take the form of question-answer frames that expose the student to the subject in steady steps. 2. Guarantee the learner makes a response for every frame and also receives immediate advice. 3. Arrange the difficulty of the questions so the response is always correct and that’s why there is a positive back up. 4. Ensure that a good presentation in the lesson is paired with secondary support such a verbal praise, rewards, and good grades.

Behavior that is positively supported will reoccur; constant support particularly effective. Information should be presented in small amounts so that responses can be reinforced. Reinforcements will simplify across the same “˜stimulus generalization’ giving secondary conditioning.


Jerome Bruner http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/g2699/0000/2699000048/p1/article.jhtml http://snycorva.cortland.edu/~ANDERSMD/COG/bruner.html B.F. Skinner http://education.yahoo.com/search/be?lb=t&p=url%3As/skinner__b__f_ http://ww2.lafayette.edu/~allanr/biblio.html http://snycorva.cortland.edu/%7eandersmd/oper/skinner.html

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