learning and memory theories

Week 3: Learning Theories: Part 1


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Think about the learning experiences you have had as both a child and an adult. You surely have memories of particular teachers and the classes they taught. More than likely, the best teachers and the worst teachers are the ones that stand out in your mind. You have also had learning experiences and instructors outside of academic classes where you honed a particular skill—perhaps on the athletic field, in a dance studio, or a music class. When you consider your best teachers and learning experiences, was there a common thread that connected them all? Learning theories can help us to answer this question through a variety of perspectives on the roles and tasks of the educator, assumptions about learners, sources of motivation for learning, and what allows learning to be transferred to new situations.

Now, think about the actual knowledge and skills you have learned inside and outside the classroom. In many instances, what you learned is permanently etched in your memory, and you may use that knowledge every day. However, in some cases, you may have gone through the motions and later forgotten what you learned, regardless of how successful you were in the class. Similarly, some of the skills you have learned are like riding a bike, while others require constant practice to stay sharp. Again, learning theories help you, as a future Academic Nurse Educator or Nursing Professional Development (NPD) Practitioner, to understand these observations so you can adapt teaching strategies to promote memory and retention of skills.

This week, you will examine strategies for promoting memory and learning and explore the relationship between learning theories and educational practice. 

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Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze strategies for promoting memory and learning
  • Compare theories of learning and memory*
  • Analyze theories of learning and memory with respect to educational practice*
  • Analyze theories of learning and memory with respect to the role of the Academic Nurse Educator and the Nursing Professional Development Practitioner*

*Objective is introduced in Week 3 and assessed in Week 4.

Learning Resources


Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)

Dickerson, P. (2017). Core curriculum for nursing professional development (5th ed.). Chicago, IL: Association for Nursing Professional Development. 

  • Chapter 3, “Adult Learning” (pp. 28–37)
  • Chapter 4, “Educational Neuroscience” (pp. 38–47)

Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2020). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

  • Chapter 14, “Theoretical Foundations of Teaching and Learning” (pp. 247–268)

Credit Line: Teaching in Nursing: A Guide for Faculty, 6th Edition by Billings, D. M. & Halstead, J. A. Copyright 2020 by Elsevier Health Sciences. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Health Sciences via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Aliakbari, F., Parvin, N., Heidari, M., & Haghani, F. (2015). Learning theories application in nursing education. Journal of education and health promotion, 4, 1-10. 

Assignment (5–6 pages not including title and reference pages)

  • Complete the Theory Comparison Matrix for all listed theories. (Note: Include your notes in the cells provided. Also, should you require additional information related to a specific theory, search the Internet and/or the Walden Library for reliable sources to supplement your information.)
  • Using the completed Theory Comparison Matrix, select one theory from the “Psychological Learning Theoriescategory and all theories under “Additional Theories” and begin comparing each theory and its basic tenets in the area provided in the template.

In a 5- to 6-page paper, provide explanations for the following.

  • Describe one method for incorporating each of your selected theories into an educational activity. Note: Be as explicit as possible and provide detailed information.
  • Explain how each of your selected theories may be applied to the role of the Academic Nurse Educator and provide a rationale for each.
  • Explain how each of your selected theories may be applied to the role of the Nursing Professional Development Practitioner and provide a rationale for each.
  • Explain the conclusions you have drawn as a result of comparing your selected theories and explaining their applications to nursing education. Be specific and provide examples.

Use your resources to support your explanations. Use proper APA formatting and references.

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