Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Play and Learning Theory
Three main theoretical lines have aimed to clarify our understanding of how humans learn. All of the theories posit that learning may be a relatively permanent change in behavior brought about through experience or interactions with the environment. However, the theories differ in the relative importance that is placed on how passive or active individuals may be in the learning process. Some important terms associated with learning theories include stimulus, response, reinforcement, and punishment. Intuitively, childhood play is laden with these concepts as children at play appear to be regularly reacting to stimuli in the environment and deriving enjoyment or displeasure. The following will highlight key differences between the main learning theories and offer relevant examples. The first of these theories is a fundamental behavioral theory, which suggests that human (and animal) learning may be broken down into basic stimuli and responses. Any one bit of environmental data may carry ...