Saturday, February 21, 2009



Dr.E.Ramganesh M.Sc(maths),M.A.(Psy),M.Ed.,M.Phil.,PGDCA,Ph.D
Department of Educational Technology
Bharathidasan University
Khajamalai Campus Tiruchirappalli-620 023
E-Mail :
Mobile : 0-94430 85415
Phone :0431-2331743

TeleFax :0431-2420227

Dr.E.Ramganesh is a Reader in the Department of Educational Technology,Bharathidasan University,Tiruchirappalli.He has specialized in Mathematics Education, Educational Technology and cognitive Psychology.He is recipient of NCERT Award(National) for his Research work on Cognitive Psychology.He has authored three books on Mathematics Education and Psychology of Education.He has published more than 20 articles in the National and International Journals.He is also doing projects on Multimedia development and E-Learning modules sponsored by UGC and ICSSR.He hasbeen associated with National and State academic bodies.



Department of Educational Technology,
Bharathidasan University ,

I have created a blog on Advanced Educational Psychology.Blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic.

I explain the Learning Theories

I hope that it is useful to every individual.



1. Which of the following learning theory is called instrumental learning?

a. Trial & error learning

b. Operant conditioning

c. Classical conditioning

d. Contiguity learning

2. The book "principles of behavior” was written by

a. Clark hull

b. Watson

c. Thorndike

d. Edwin Ray

3. Maslow’s self actualization theory arranged from the

a. Highest to the lowest

b. Lowest to the highest

c. Individual needs

d. All the above

4. Which of the following technique was used by Guthrie?

a. Fatigue technique b. Incompatible response technique c. Threshold technique

d. All the above

5. Who uses the word “life space” ?

a. Tolman and lewin

b. Lewin

c. Hull

d. Tolman

6.What is the aim of reinforcement in Hull’s learning theory?

a. reduction of needs

b. Reduction of drive

c. Reduction of desire

d. None of these

7. Which one is the energizing behaviour?

a. Need

b. Motive

c. Urge

d. Drive

8. Which one is the highest stage of Gagne’s Hierarchical structure of learning?

a. Rule learning

b. Chaining

c. Problem solving

d. None of these

9. Which approach was followed by Gagne’s theory of learning?

a. Inductive to deductive

b. Deductive to inductive

c. Eclectic Approach

d. All of these

10.How does lewin define learning?

a. Distinctions between reality & unreality

b. Distinction between good & bad

c. Distinction between creativity and imaginative

d. None of these

11. Who is the father of behaviourism?

a. Ivan Pavlov

b. Hull

c. John Watson

d. Freud

12. Which stage ranges from 4-7 years in piaget’s cognitive development?

a. Pre-conceptual stage

b. Inductive stage

c. conceptual stage

d. None of these

13. Which of the following is the basic way of attaining concepts according to Bruner?

a. Successive scanning

b. Focus gambling

c. Conservative focusing

d. All the above

14. Which one is the most efficient method to produce learning, according to Ausbel?

a. Expository learning

b. Instructional learning

c. Problem solving

d. None of these

15. Which of the following means operant according to skinner?

a. An act which constitutes an organism’s doing something

b. Abnormality in one behaviour

c. Behaviour is shaped

d.Process of learning

16. Which learning is known as blind learning ?

a. Classical conditioning

b. Operant conditioning

c. Trial & error learning

d. None of these

17. The field theory of learning by lewin is based on

a. Level of aspiration

b. Dynamics of memory

c. Reward and punishment

d. All the above

18. What source of motivation are drived incentives?

a. Intrinsic

b. Extrinsic

c. Both a& b

d. Neutral

19. The theory of insight learning is used in education as

a. Self action encouragement

b. Stepwise progress

c. Generalization of contents

d. All the above

20. "purposive behavior in animal and men" who wrote this book?

a. Clark Hull

b. Tolman

c. Ivan Pavlov

d. Curt Lewin

Thursday, February 19, 2009



  • Born: 1 April 1908
  • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
  • Died: 8 June 1970 (heart attack)
  • Best Known As: Creator of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow developed the theory of human motivation now known as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. A psychologist, Maslow noted that some human needs were more powerful than others. He divided those needs into five general categories, from most urgent to most advanced: physiological, safety, belonging/love, esteem, and self-actualization. Maslow first published his theory in the 1940s, and it became a widely accepted notion in the fields of psychology and anthropology. Maslow was a professor at Brandeis University from 1951 until 1969; his major texts included Motivation and Personality (1954) and Toward a Psychology of Being (1962).

Monday, February 16, 2009



We are probably all familiar with Abraham Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchical Needs; Psychological Needs, Safety Needs, Belongingness and Love Needs, Esteem Needs, Need to Know and Understand, Aesthetic Needs, and Self-Actualization Needs. And we probably all remember that according to Maslow’s theory, needs that are in the lower hierarchy must be at least partially met before a person will try to satisfy higher-level needs. Although ultimately our goal is to aid students in self-actualizing or becoming “all that one can be,” they must first achieve the level of Need to Know and Understand.

But what does this mean for teachers and how does it impact student performance and learning in the classroom?

Schools and government agencies have long realized that if students’ basic needs are not met student performance will suffer. The advent of free breakfast and lunch programs were a direct result of such considerations. Unfortunately, these measures address only part of the first tier of Maslow’s theory; physiological needs. Addressing basic physiological needs is still a key concern in today’s classroom. Lack of proper nutrition, personal hygiene and even sleep affect many of today’s students. In lower socioeconomic areas these concerns are further accentuated. These basic needs must be met before the student can reach the next level.

Student safety needs play a critical role in achieving student success. The need for a structured and safe classroom is essential for student growth and progression. A structured classroom provides psychological safety for the student. By having knowledge of clearly defined and established processes, procedures, rules and practices you eliminate students’ fear of the unknown. By gaining knowledge of the expected dynamics of the classroom the student gains more control of their environment simply by being aware of what is going to happen before it happens.

A safe environment is not limited to physical parameters. Students must not only feel safe in the classroom physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well. An environment must be provided and maintained where students feel free to take risks – such as answering a question or sharing thoughts without concern for ridicule or teasing by other students. Additionally, students must trust that the teacher will not ridicule, use sarcasm, or otherwise berate the student when answering questions or addressing issues. The student must feel a degree of safety in all aspects of the classroom and school environment before progressing to the next step in Maslow’s theory – belongingness and love needs.

Robert Slavin, in his book, Educational Psychological notes, “The most important…needs, however, may be those for love and self-esteem.” The student must feel that he/she is important as an individual – that he/she is lovable and is deserving of being loved and cared about. Oftentimes the only time that these attributes are reinforced may be by the teacher at school. Students must be made aware that teachers value them as individuals as well as the work they perform. We as teachers must take advantage of each and every opportunity to reinforce each student’s self esteem in the manner in which we treat them in the classroom. This reinforcement of positive attributes of the student in turn aids in developing respect or a favorable impression of oneself.

Once these needs are met, the student may then move to the next level; need to know and understand. It is at this level that the student is most receptive to learning. Our challenge is to aid the student in achieving this level.

What we can do as teachers to aid students in moving up Maslow’s Hierarchy:

1) Understand that each student brings his/her own unique background to the classroom. A student’s readiness to learn is not solely dependent upon existing knowledge and skills. We must develop a relationship with the student in order to determine their current readiness level. Once determined, we must develop a strategy to address current needs as well as the needs in the next level. In many instances this may involve additional community and governmental resources, especially at the lower levels.

2) Create a safe classroom environment. Develop rules and procedures which provide a structured environment rich in routine and shared expectations. Develop and enforce rules prohibiting sarcastic, degrading, and berating remarks and comments by students directed at other students. In my classroom I implemented a “No Hunting” rule. No student may physically or verbally hurt another. Additionally, learn to use positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement to correct student behaviors. Lastly, provide copious amounts of praise and reinforcement for student risk taking. Become an advocate for each of your students. Take time out to let each student know how well they are doing. This could take the form of a short handwritten note on their papers, or verbal comment. The key is to focus on the students’ positive attributes and aid the student in developing an increased level of self-esteem.

3) Let students know that you care about them. Although many of us assume our students know this it’s not necessarily the case. Let the students know that you want them to succeed, whether it be to pass your latest test, or class, or graduate from college and get a good job. Let them know that you appreciate the work they do on classwork, or a test, or homework. Take the time out to explain issues and concerns with them. When feasible, provide student participation in the class decision making process. Opportunities include scheduling tests, methods for teaching material, and scheduling blocks of instruction.

Although many issues pertaining to student progress in Maslow’s Hierarchy emanate from outside the school environment, as teachers we are in a position to strongly influence student outcomes. However, to change outcomes we must first understand that we must assess the whole child to include not only student knowledge of material but more importantly, student readiness levels based on Maslow’s theory and obstacles to learning. Only when we address both of the issues will student learning be enhanced and maximized.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Deprivation Needs

The first four levels are considered deficiency or deprivation needs (”D-needs”) in that their lack of satisfaction causes a deficiency that motivates people to meet these needs. Physiological needs, the lowest level on the hierarchy, include necessities such as air, food, and water. These tend to be satisfied for most people, but they become predominant when unmet. During emergencies, safety needs such as health and security rise to the forefront. Once these two levels are met, belongingness needs, such as obtaining love and intimate relationships or close friendships, become important. The next level, esteem needs, include the need for recognition from others, confidence, achievement, and self-esteem.

Growth Needs

The highest level is self-actualization, or the self-fulfillment. Behavior in this case is not driven or motivated by deficiencies but rather one’s desire for personal growth and the need to become all the things that a person is capable of becoming (Maslow, 1970).


While a useful guide for generally understanding why students behave the way that they do and in determining how learning may be affected by physiological or safety deficiencies, Maslow’s theory has its share of criticisms. Some have noted vagueness in what is a “deficiency”; what is a deficiency for one is not necessarily a deficiency for another. Secondly, there seem to be various exceptions that frequently occur. For example, some people often risk their own safety to rescue others from danger.



Ø The relationship between deficiency needs and growth needs

Ø Obviously, students who are very hungry or in physical danger will have little psychological energy to put into learning

Ø Schools and government agencies recognize that if students' basic needs are not met, learning will suffer

Ø They have responded by providing free breakfast and lunch programs. The most important deficiency needs, however, are those for love and self-esteem.

Ø Students who do not feel that they are loved and that they are capable are unlikely to have a strong motivation to achieve the higher-level growth objectives, such as the search for knowledge and understanding for their own sake or the creativity and openness to new ideas that are characteristic of the self-actualizing person.

Ø A teacher who can put students at ease and make them feel accepted and respected as individuals is more likely (in Maslow's view) to help them become eager to learn for the sake of learning and willing to risk being creative and open to new ideas.


The word locus means location

A person with an internal locus of control is one who believes that success or failure is due to his or her own efforts or abilities

Someone with an external locus of control is more likely to believe that other factors, such as luck, task difficulty, or other people's actions, cause success or failure

Internal locus of control is often called self-efficacy, the belief that one's behavior makes a difference

Locus of control or self-efficacy can be very important in explaining a student's school performance

It is important to note that locus of control can change and depends on the specific activity or situation

One difficulty in studying the effects of locus of control on achievement is that achievement has a strong effect on locus of control


In the classroom, students receive constant information concerning their level of performance on academic tasks, either relative to others or relative to some norm of acceptability

This feedback ultimately influences students' self-perceptions

Attribution theory is important in helping teachers understand how students might interpret and use feedback on their academic performance and in suggesting to teachers how they might give feedback that has the greatest motivational value


Tasks for students should be neither too easy nor too difficult

If some students believe that they are likely to get an A no matter what they do, then their motivation will not be at a maximum

Similarly, if some students feel certain to fail no matter what they do, their motivation will be minimal

Therefore grading systems should be set up so that earning an A is difficult (but possible) for as many students as feasible and so that earning a low grade is possible for students who exert little effort

Success must be within the reach, but not the easy reach, of all students

How can achievement motivation be enhanced?

Achievement motivation = the generalized tendency to strive for success and to choose goal-oriented, success/failure activities

Even after they experience failure…

Ø Achievement-motivated students will persist longer at a task than will students who are less high in achievement motivation and

Ø Will attribute their failures to lack of effort (an internal but alterable condition) rather than to external factors such as task difficulty or luck.

Achievement-motivated students…

Ø Want and expect to succeed;

Ø When they fail, they redouble their efforts until they do succeed.

Something to Think About…???

Does high achievement motivation lead to success in school, or does success in school (due to ability or other factors) lead to high achievement motivation?

Each contributes to the other…!

Success breeds the desire for more success, which in turn breeds success.

In contrast, students who do not experience success in achievement settings will tend to lose the motivation to succeed in such settings and will turn their interest elsewhere (perhaps to social activities, sports, or even delinquent activities in which they might succeed)

Achievement motivation tends to diminish over the school years


Ø This trend is due to the nature of children???

Ø Or to the nature of middle and high schools???

Motivation and goal orientations

Some students are motivationally oriented toward learning goals (also called task or mastery goals)

Others are oriented toward performance goals.

Students with learning goals see the purpose of schooling as gaining competence in the skills being taught

Students with performance goals primarily seek to gain positive judgments of their competence (and avoid negative judgments).


Students with learning goals and those with performance goals do not differ in overall intelligence

But their classroom performance can differ markedly

When they run into obstacles, performance-oriented students tend to become discouraged and their performance is seriously hampered

In contrast, when learning-oriented students encounter obstacles, they tend to keep trying, and their motivation and performance might actually increase


Teachers should try to convince students that learning rather than grades is the purpose of academic work…How???

This can be done by emphasizing the interest value and practical importance of material students are studying and by de-emphasizing grades and other rewards


Atkinson (1964), extending McClelland's work on achievement motivation, noted that individuals might be motivated to achieve in either of two ways:

Ø To seek success

Ø To avoid failure

He found that some people were more motivated to avoid failure than to seek success (failure avoiders)

Others were more motivated to seek success than to avoid failure (success seekers)

Success seekers' motivation is increased after a failure, as they intensify their efforts to succeed

Failure avoiders decrease their efforts after a failure

Failure avoiders is that they tend to choose either very easy or very difficult tasks

Understanding that it is common for failure avoiders to choose impossibly difficult or ridiculously easy tasks for themselves is very important for the teacher

For example, a poor reader might choose to write a book report on the classic epic novel but then, when told that was too difficult, might choose a simple children's book. Such students are not being devious but are simply doing their best to maintain a positive self-image

Learned helplessness and attribution training

An extreme form of the motive to avoid failure is called learned helplessness

a perception that no matter what one does, one is doomed to failure or ineffectuality: "Nothing I do matters."

In academic settings, learned helplessness can be related to an internal, stable explanation for failure: "I fail because I'm stupid, and that means I will always fail"

Learned helplessness can arise from…

Ø A child's upbringing

Ø Inconsistent, unpredictable use of rewards and punishments by teachers (a pattern that can lead students to believe that there is little they can do to be successful)

Teachers can prevent or alleviate learned helplessness by giving students…

(1) Opportunities for success in small steps;

(2) Immediate feedback; and

(3) Consistent expectations.


Motivation-related personality characteristics can be altered

They are altered in the natural course of things when something happens to change a student's environment, as when students who have vocational but not academic skills move from a comprehensive high school in which they were doing poorly to a technical preparation program in which they find success.

Such students might break out of a long-standing pattern of external locus of control and low achievement motivation because of their newfound success experience

Late bloomers, students who have difficulty in their earlier school years but take off in their later years, might also experience lasting changes in motivation-related personality characteristics, as would students who are initially successful in school but who later experience difficulty keeping up

Several studies have found that learned helplessness in the face of repeated failure can be modified by an attribution training program that emphasizes lack of effort, rather than lack of ability, as the cause of poor performance



Edwin Ray Guthrie was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Nebraska where he obtained his bachelors degree in mathematics. He remained there and received his masters degree in philosophy. Guthrie then taught mathematics at several high schools, while he worked on his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.

After receiving his doctorate, he was hired as an instructor in the department of philosophy at the University of Washington. After five years, he moved to the psychology department where he remained for the remainder of his career. Dr. Guthrie was 33 years old when he made the transition from philosophy to psychology. He was the winner of the second gold medal awarded by the American Psychology Association for outstanding lifetime contributions.

During World War II, he worked with the overseas branch as both a chief consultant and psychologist. He later became Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Washington. The Psychology Department at the University is in a building named Gutherie Hall. Dr. Guthrie made contributions in the philosophy of science, abnormal psychology, social psychology, educational psychology and learning theory (Dallenbach, Bitterman & Newman, 1959). He is remembered best for his theory of learning based on association.