Learning Theories

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Academic Technology Services has created a collection of informational documents on a variety of learning theories to help answer these and other teaching and learning questions.  From Behaviorism to Flow Theory, we will provide you with an overview of each theory and connect it to teaching practice.

Multiple Intelligences

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1985) hypothesized that all human beings, barring any physical disabilities, have seven types of intelligences: logical-mathematical, linguistic, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.


Behaviorism is a learning theory with a focus on purely objectively observable behaviors. It discounts any independent activities of the mind.


Jean Piaget (1896-1980) is considered the father of the constructivist view of learning. As a biologist, he was interested in how an organism adapts to the environment and how previous mental knowledge contributes to behaviors.


The key point of social constructivism is that the locus of knowledge does not lie solely within the individual. Instead, learning and comprehension are inherently social, and collaboration is needed to create deeper understanding for both the individual and the group.


Cognitivism focuses on inner mental activities , so looking inside the mind is essential in order to understand the process of human learning. Learners themselves are seen as living informational processing systems.

Social Cognitivism

Social Cognitivism is a learning theory developed by Albert Bandura in the 1960’s in response to the extremist behaviorist views and psychoanalytic views of learning.


The idea of being connected through technology has brought a change in learning environments, innovations, and changes in the disciplines of study themselves

Experiential Learning

The Experiential Learning Theory (ELT), accredited to David A. Kolb, is a four-stage, holistic learning process that places emphasis on the role of experience in development.

Multimedia Learning Theory

Mayer and Moreno’s (1999) Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning states that deeper learning can occur when information is presented in both text and graphics than by text alone.