We’ll help you understand learning theories! This web resource features more than 80 learning theories, models, and frameworks that address how people learn. Each one is organized into categories, summarized and discussed in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand format. This site is useful for students, teachers, and scholars of various fields, including educational psychology, instructional design, digital media and learning, and more. Below is the index of learning theories, grouped into categories. We are always adding more theories, models, and frameworks. Hope you find this to be a valuable resource — please support us by sharing this page.
Click on any article link below to read full summaries!
Constructivist, Social and Situational Theories
- Constructivism Overview
- Anchored Instruction (Bransford)
- Cognitive Apprenticeship (Collins et al.)
- Cognitive Dissonance (Festinger) NEW!
- Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger)
- Connectivism (Siemens, Downes)
- Discovery Learning (Bruner)
- Multiliteracies (New London Group)
- Semiotics (deSaussure, Barthes, Bakhtin)
- Social Development Theory (Vygtosky)
- Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
- Situated Learning (Lave)
Descriptive and Meta Theories
Child Development Theories
Motivation and Humanist Theories
- Humanism Overview
- ARCS Model of Motivational Design (Keller)
- Emotional Intelligence (Goleman)
- Experiential Learning (Kolb)
- Flow (Csikszentmihalyi)
- Grit (Duckworth, Matthews, Kelly, Peterson)
- Intrinsically Motivating Instruction (Malone)
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow)
- Positive Psychology / PERMA Theory (Seligman) NEW!
- Self-Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan)
Miscellaneous Learning Theories and Models
- Cognitivism Overview
- Attribution Theory (Weiner)
- Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller)
- Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Mayer)
- Elaboration Theory (Reigeluth)
- Expertise Theory (Ericsson, Gladwell) NEW!
- Functional Context Theory (Sticht)
- Gestalt Theory (von Ehrenfels)
- Information Processing Theory
- Situated Cognition (Brown, Collins & Duguid)
- Stage Theory of Cognitive Development (Piaget)
- Theory of Mind, Empathy, Mindblindness (Premack, Woodruff, Perner, Wimmer) NEW!