Learning is a complicated and time-consuming process. In the course of this process, a person acquires certain knowledge and skills and goes through “measureable change in behavior that continues over time.” (Stanhope & Lancaster 2006) There exists a number of learning theories that can be applied in a group or separately, depending on the instructor’s objectives. (Pont 2003) All of them can tangibly facilitate the learning process for students and the educational process for the instructors. The major learning theories are behavioral theory, constructivism, and multiple intelligence theory all of which can find their theoretical and practical application in CEHF (Level 1).
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To begin with, the behavioral theory is one of the most important learning theories, because it approaches the process of study from the perspective of human behavior. The main goal of this theory is to observe, measure, and study the behavioral change concentrating on the target behavior and modifying it by means of a reinforcer. (Stanhope & Lancaster 2004) Positive and negative reinforcers can be used by the instructor to achieve the desirable results. Thus, behavioral theory can be applied in CEHF practically through using rewards or punishment: those students who succeed in learning the theoretical part of the subject can be admitted to the practical classes, while those who fail, will have to go through the theoretical part again.
Constructivism is another learning theory that can be helpful in the learning process. From the perspective of this theory, “learning is the creation of meaning that occurs when an individual makes connections, associations, and linkages between new knowledge and existing knowledge.” (Villa & Thousand 2005) According to this theory, children (and students) construct their knowledge in the process of learning while encountering new information and experiences. This theory can be applied in the CEHF course both practically and theoretically; in the theoretical module, the subject can be delivered through revising the information, organizing activities in sharing information, and allowing the students to apply theoretical knowledge practically. In the practical module, the students can work out their own groups of exercises on the basis of theoretical knowledge, link theory and practice while developing their own health improvement programs, and correcting their programs with respect to the results.
Lastly, multiple intelligence theory can also be used to assist the students in the learning process. This theory helps the tutors define the students’ strengths and then use these strengths to improve their knowledge indefinite subjects. (Hoerr 2000) According to this theory, the task of the instructors is to “assist students in developing higher levels of understanding through their multiple intelligences” (Armstrong and Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development 2000) and provide students with a variety of ways in which they can learn. This theory is also applicable to CEHF courses. Theoretically, the instructors may utilize audio, videos, and visual aids to make clear the information about the skeletal system and physiology of the human body. Practically, group learning (where students will interact and learn by their own mistakes), using video recording in gym and then discussing mistakes in class, and combining several types of activities will help the students improve their knowledge.
In sum, implementing behavioral, constructivist, and multiple intelligence learning theories in CEHF course will help the students to better understand the information, build their knowledge, link it to their past experiences, and then apply this knowledge in practice.
Armstrong, T & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development 2000, Multiple intelligences in the classroom, ASCD, New York.
Hoerr, TR 2000, Becoming a multiple intelligences school, ASCD, New York.
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Pont, T 2003, Developing Effective Training Skills, CIPD Publishing, London.
Stanhope, M & Lancaster, J 2004, Community & public health nursing, Elsevier Health Sciences, New York.
Stanhope, M & Lancaster, J 2006, Foundations of nursing in the community: community-oriented practice, Elsevier Health Sciences, New York.
Villa, RA & Thousand JA 2005, Creating an inclusive school, ASCD, New York.