Learning theories

Learning theories

Select a learning theories and the principles you think are most useful to Advanced Practice Nurses and why you think these theories are most effective. Describe how you would apply these theories in educating patients on how to manage a chronic disease in order to improve their quality of life and reduce hospital readmissions. (Examples of chronic diseases are Congestive Heart Failure or Kidney Disease).

  • Learning is gaining knowledge, understanding, or skills through experience.
  • Nurses spend much time involved in learning personally and teaching others.
  • For advanced practice nurses, this process is reflective of leadership, administration, and planning roles.
  • Success depends upon effective teaching and learning methods based on motivation.
  • Learning intends to describe, explain, or predict how learning occurs.
  • Four theories are widely recognized:

–Behaviorist theory

  • Focuses on what is directly observable in learning—stimulus conditions (S) and response (R) to them.
  • Learning is based on associations between stimuli and responses, or the S-R model.
  • Learning can be changed by modifying either the stimulus or the response.
  • S-R associations are often followed by reinforcement.

–Cognitive theory

  • Focuses on perceptions, reasoning, memory, development, and processing.
  • Thinking and reasoning develop in stages over the lifespan.
  • Individuals’ approaches to learning reflect their level of cognitive development and past experiences.
  • Information is incorporated, organized, and interpreted in relation to what the learner already knows.

–Psychodynamic theory

Evolved from Freud’s theory of personality development.

Emphasizes individual motivation to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

Personality conceptualized in three parts:

Id—primitive drives that seek gratification

Superego—internalized social values and norms

Ego—reality-grounded mediator

Erikson expanded on the theory by proposing eight stages of personality development.

–Humanistic theory

  • Healthcare data suggests that designing programs around learning theories enhances their success.

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