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English Blog

Which learning theorie is supporting informal learning processes?

Learning theories represent models and hypotheses, by which learning processes will be explained and described psychologically.

The main learning theory approaches are the following:


  • Behaviorism:

Within the Behaviorism the behavior of an organism is investigated. The core of this learning theory is to describe learning through cues and control and to reinforce desired behaviors. Here it is assumed that learning will be controlled by reward and punishment and therefore behavior can be conditioned.

  • Cognitivism:

Within the Cognitivism learning is seen as information processing process. Here it is important to know that through learning operations such as perceiving, recognizing, understanding, awareness, thinking, imagining, interpreting, problem solving, decision-making or judgement are running.

  • Constructivism:

The Constructivism considers likewise the Cognitivism knowledge acquisition as an individual construction process and not alike the Behaviorism as a mechanical imaging process. In contrast to the Cognitivism the Constructivism considers imparting knowledge impossible, since in its opinion learning is primarily determined by the individual and not by the environment. The teacher plays the role of a learning companion, by supporting learners through feedback, hints and help to independently develop solutions.

  • Connectivism:

The Connectivism represents an extension of the Constructivism. This theorie also sees learning as a self-directed, active process in which the teacher acts as a learning guide. The Connectivism assumes that the learning process needs interaction and communication with others within e.g. study groups. By interaction with others, new knowledge and new competencies can be obtained.


Since informal learning requires interaction and communication, especially the Connectivism used to design informal learning processes to develop and expand competencies. Especially through the use of Web 2.0 tools, such as wikis and weblogs, interaction processes can be promoted within the company. These may be on the one hand learning materials, such as video-based e-learning, which can be integrated, on the other hand these can be commented by new knowledge approaches and therefore discussions will be triggered.


Source: Staatsinstitut für Schulqualität und Bildungsforschung München (





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