Blog Post #1

Describe an example from your life of when you were taught using each method described in this article: behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to become a lifeguard. The course ran over 5 days that were 8-hours long, with most of the time consisting of completing physical requirements in the pool. It was unlike anything I had ever done before. However, after reading about three learning theories known as behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism (Ertmer & Newby, 2018), I realized that all 3 of these theories benefitted my learning and lead to me to becoming a lifeguard.

To start, utilizing behaviourism as a learning strategy involves reinforcement and feedback to develop necessary habits within the learners so an association between a stimulus and a response can be created. Within this strategy, students are passive participants in their learning and an instructor demonstrates how the student should respond and react to specific stimuli Behaviour learning theory involves immediate feedback and repetition and can be used to teach chaining. Chaining, for example, is when a participant completes a task in a specific step-by-step way (Ertmer & Newby, 2018). In my lifeguarding course, chaining was used when we were taught specific instructions in a step-by-step nature for removing a swimmer who has had a spinal injury from the pool. When learning skills, an emphasis was placed on repetition and continuous feedback at each step. This meant that we did not move on to the next step or new task until mastery was achieved. For example, the first step of a successful removal would be to calmly slip into the water to not create major waves because our goal with a spinal injury is to stabilize the swimmer and not create further harm. If for instance, one of the students in my class forgot about this procedure and jumped or dove into the water, they would immediately be given feedback and asked to start over and repeat the same step until mastery. 

Secondly, cognitive learning is when the learner is actively engaged in the learning process. This strategy involves making the information meaningful and helping the learner organize new learning alongside their original understandings (Ertmer & Newby, 2018). In the lifeguarding course, we were asked to reflect on our experiences and were often challenged to explore how specific first aid and lifesaving practices could be connected by justifying and explaining our thinking. These exercises allowed me and my peers the ability to combine the new knowledge being taught with our existing knowledge. For example, when we were taught CPR, we were told to perform our compressions to the beat of Staying Alive by Bee Gees, because doing this will maintain the correct tempo of beats per minute, roughly 100-120. This is an example of using cognitive learning because it combined existing knowledge (a well-known song) with new knowledge (performing CPR) which allowed us to have a new understanding (how to properly perform CPR compressions).

Finally, constructivist learning is based upon the idea that knowledge is open to change therefore learners are tasked to create meaning based on their personal experiences and interactions. In this practice, students build understandings and then use social negotiation to validate them (Ertmer & Newby, 2018). An example used in my course was the use of experimentation to problem solve. The group was tasked with building a formation to ensure that all pools in the facility were appropriately covered and watched over by lifeguards. To complete this task, we had to each individually reflect on our personal experiences of how we have seen lifeguard formations in the past when swimming at a pool or any previous knowledge about how to effectively watch a large group of people. After this, through social negotiation, we discussed our thoughts with one another and practiced our suggested formations to test their effectiveness before the instructor debriefed common formations with us. This practice was very characteristic of constructivism because it allowed my class to be active participants in our learning and problem-solve with our peers using our previous experience.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. (2018). Behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism. Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology. Retrieved from 


Hello and welcome to my EDCI 335 blog!

I am so excited to be a part of this class and to work and learn from everyone. I am in my 4th and final year of my Psychology degree and I have decided to pursue a minor in Education! I am looking forward to creating future blog posts throughout the semester… all of which will be fueled by caffeine.