Scenario: A high school social study teacher is planning a class on the Vietnam War


Behaviorism or behavioural learning theory focuses on how students learn. Learned behaviours develop through iterative stimulus and response in the given environment. In this example scenario, the teacher’s lesson would begin with the teacher leading the class on a particular topic (e.g. the countries involved in the war). Once the teacher has provided enough information, they may resume the lesson with a popular behavioural learning method, question, and answer. Question and answer is a great tool as it requires active participation from the class and it can be done in a fun manner such as Kahoot. Questions can be shown through text, images, and a combination of both. Teachers would provide reinforcement to the response building on the students’ learning, which allows them to encompass behaviorist learning theory.


The cognitivism learning theory focuses on the processes involved in learning rather than on the observed behaviors (My English Papers, 2011). This LT approach developed after the behavioural model as cognitivists opposed, and strongly believed learning requires more complex learning structures. These cognitive processes include thinking, problem-solving, language, concept formation, and information processing (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). In the above scenario, the teacher is concerned with how the taught information is being received, organized, stored, and retrieved from the mind (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). The teacher may begin their lesson similarly to the behaviourist LT approach by providing general information with instructional visuals, and building on previously taught lessons on Vietnam and the history of the country. Class discussions, films, and research projects are great activities the teacher could provide within their lesson plan. Once all the material has been taught, to initiate cognitive processes, the teach could provide assessments such as mind maps, pre-testing and hands-on-activities. These assessments will rely on students to gather information stored and problem solve. Overall, actively participating in the learning can show better results than other LT appraoches.


Constructivist learning theory is based on the idea that students create their own knowledge by utilizing their previous experience and knowledge. This theory allows students to have unique learning experiences, as they are able to use their experience to actively engage in their own learning and development (Western Governors University, 2020). For example, a teacher using constructivist learning theory to teach a class on the vietnam war could engage students in their learning by initially asking students to share their existing knowledge about war and vietnam. The teacher can provide information about the vietnam war (e.g. countries involved with the war) and then the students discuss why they think these countries were involved among themselves. By allowing students to share prior knowledge and their opinions on the topic, students will be able to learn from each other, understand additional perspectives and gain more  knowledge on the topic (Vietnam war), utilizing constructivist learning theory.



Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43-71.
My English Papers. (2011). Description of Cognitivison. Retrieved from,that%20take%20place%20during%20learning

Western Governors University. (2020). What is Constructivism? Retrieved from