CTET Notes on Learning Principles and Theories

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CTET Notes on Learning Principles and Theories

Learning is one of the primary functions of the brain that we continuously strive for. It is the acquisition of knowledge, behaviours, and skills, which occur as a result of experiences. It is a result of how people interpret their experiences and adds to what they already know. The definition of learning has three components, i.e. it takes place in the long-term; it is a relatively permanent change in an individual; and the cause of change is environmental. This blog has compiled CTET notes on learning principles and theories to help you with your upcoming CTET exam!

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Also Read: CTET Notes and Study Plan

Forms of Learning

Here are the forms of learning covered under the CTET Syllabus:

  • Perpetual Learning

This is the type of learning in which an individual perceives various incidents, and objects through their sense organs and is able to understand and improve their response to stimuli. For example, distinguishing between various odours, able to separate different shades of colours.

  • Conceptual Learning

This form of learning refers to understanding the concepts and ideas more extensively and perceiving the object without it being in its concrete form. After this, individuals start thinking in abstract terms. For example, maths is a subject that teaches you concepts rather than rote learning formulas and equations.

  • Appreciative Learning

Appreciation and learning go hand in hand to build capacity. In this type of learning, ideas, attitude, and mental disposition that is related to a positive feeling of mind play a role in enhancing values. For example, if a child is appreciated for behaviour or value that he has acquired, he will tend to repeat it to get a similar positive feeling in his mind. 

  • Associative Learning

This type of learning states that ideas and experiences are mentally linked to each other. An individual tries to relate the mental image of past experiences with new experiences. For example, if a child touches a hot iron, he will associate it with pain and will be conditioned to not touch it again.

Check out: CTET Child Development Theories 

Principles of Learning

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Principle of Readiness

This implies the degree of willingness with which an individual is eager to learn something new. The basic needs of an individual, whether it is mental, physical, or emotional, need to be met before they are capable of learning. This means that the person must be willing to learn the task at hand, and the teacher’s task should be to motivate the learner by making the subject matter interesting. Students show a strong interest in acquiring knowledge only if they find a clear reason to do so.

Principle of Exercise

This principle states that learning is strengthened if it is followed by repetition and regular practice. Practice leads to improvement and the individual is able to retain the information for longer. If practice is discontinued, the connection of learning is weakened, thus, the teacher can strengthen the learning process by repeating the subject matter at regular intervals, while directing it towards learning something new.

Principle of Effect

The principle of effect is that learning is strengthened when followed by a pleasant experience and weakened when associated with negative feelings. Positive reinforcement tends to motivate the learner and is more apt to lead to success. Thus, a teacher should recognize the importance of appreciating the progress of the students to ensure that they strive to continue learning.

Principle of Primacy

Primacy, the state of being first, lays a strong foundation that becomes difficult to erase. This is the reason that it is imperative that the students must learn correctly the first time. Teachers should ensure that the first learning experience should be positive because incorrect information is harder to erase than teaching the correct one in the first place.

Principle of Intensity

The principle of intensity implies that a more intense, exciting learning experience is likely to be retained for a longer time. Learning connected to a real-life scenario creates a more vivid and unforgettable experience rather than the dull experience of merely reading them.

Principle of Recency

This principle implies that subject matter learned more recently, is the best remembered. The further a learner gets from a fact, the harder it gets to retain that information. Thus, teachers recognize the importance of the principle of recency while making lesson plans and re-emphasize important points at the end of a lesson to help the learner remember them.

Principle of Freedom

Freedom constitutes growth and responsibility. Compulsion and force are more likely to be counterproductive for the students to learn and grasp facts. This principle states that things that are learned freely and on their own will, are better remembered by the learner.

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Another aspect of CTET Notes on Learning Principles and Theories is the popular theories on Learning given by psychologists. Many major psychologists have shared their views on the learning principle. Following are the brief descriptions and implications of the most important ones. Apart from these theories, Gestalt’s theory of insightful learning and Karl Roger’s experiment learning also important topics:

Thorndike’s Theory of Trial and Error

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E.L Thorndike, one of the pioneers of educational psychology formulated three laws of learning in the early 20th century and very important for CTET notes on learning principles and theories

3 Laws of Learning

  1. Law of readiness
  2. Law of exercise
  3. Law of effect

His theory also includes 5 more subordinate laws, i.e,

  1. Law of Multiple Responses– This states that if the first response is not immediately reinforced, a new response will be initiated. For example, if a child can’t solve a puzzle in one way, he will try another variety of approaches to solving it.
  2. Law of Set or Attitude– Learning is guided by the attitude or perspective of the individual. It is affected more in the person if they are set to excel in it.
  3. Prepotency of Elements–  According to this law, the learner is more likely to react to situations that are more essential and tends to ignore irrelevant features.
  4. Law of Response by Analogy- According to this law, individuals combine the old experiences while learning new situations, one that might have common elements with the old ones.
  5. Law of Associative Shifting– According to this law, an individual may exhibit a response, of which he is capable, associated with any other situation to which he is sensitive.

Albert Bandura Social Learning Theory

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Social learning theory, proposed by Albert Bandura, emphasizes the learning that occurs by observing and imitating the social behaviour of others. It involves concepts such as observational learning, imitation, and modelling. This theory considers how environmental and cognitive factors influence human learning and behaviour.

Observational Learning

An observer’s behaviour can be affected by the vicarious reinforcement (positive)  or vicarious punishment (negative) – of someone else’s behaviour.

Mediational Processes

This theory acts as a bridge between traditional learning theory (i.e., behaviourism) and cognitive learning theories. The 4 mediational processes proposed by Bandura are:

  1. Attention: An individual cannot learn unless they pay attention to the subject matter
  2. Retention: This process depends on the individual’s ability to remember the observed behaviour.
  3. Production: This refers to the individual’s ability to imitate and perform the perceived behaviour.
  4. Motivation: The will to perform the behaviour. If the reinforcement outweighs the punishment, then the behaviour will be more likely to be imitated by the observer.

Pavlov’s theory of Classical Conditioning

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Classical conditioning arises when a biologically powerful stimulus and a  neutral stimulus are linked together to produce a new learned response in a person or animal. Pavlov proved this with the experiment that showed that when a bell was sounded each time the dog was fed, the dog learned to associate the sound with the presentation of the food.

Implications of Classical Conditioning

  • It emphasizes the principles of association.
  • Speech can be learnt with the help of conditioning.
  • The theory of rewards and punishments is also based on conditioning.
  • Teachers should work on developing positive attitudes, and habits with the help of conditioning.
  • This theory impacts a child’s ability to learn at an early stage.
  • Conditioning helps when a child is trying to make adjustments to the environment.

B.F Skinner’s Theory of Operant Learning

The theory of operant learning was developed by Skinner. Also known as instrumental conditioning, it is a common method of learning that employs rewards and punishments for good and bad behaviour. Skinner in order to develop his theory conducted an experiment with lab rats wherein if lab rats pressed a lever when the light was green, they would receive a food pellet as a reward but if pressed when the light is red, they would receive a mild shock. This conditions the rat to press the lever when the light is green and avoid the lever when it is red.

  • The bad behaviour of the students should not be strengthened. 
  • Reinforcement of desired behaviour by the parents or the teachers.

This theory is very useful for developing programmed instructional material and a systematic approach to teaching machines/aids. 

Also Read: Top 10 Toughest Exams in India


What are the learning theories for the ctet?

Some of the theories are – Erik’s Psychological Theory, Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory, Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory, Bandura’s Theory, Piaget’s cognitive and moral theory, etc.

What are the principles and theories of learning?

Alternatively known as laws of learning, principles of learning are intensity, readiness, exercise, effect, primacy, recency and freedom.

Who is the father of child pedagogy?

Pestalozzi is regarded as the father of child pedagogy.

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