My last article attempted to cover a few theories of learning in plain English. I hope new teachers, trainers and assessors found it useful.

This article will briefly cover four more theories, based on extracts from my book The Award in Education and Training (2014). Relevant references are at the end of the article if you wish to research the theories further.

  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  • The Peter Principle

  • Rogers' Humanist theory

  • Skinner's Behaviourist theory


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow (1987) introduced a Hierarchy of Needs in 1954 after rejecting the idea that human behaviour was determined by childhood events. He felt that obstacles should be removed that prevent a person from achieving their goals. He argued there are five needs which represent different levels of motivation which must be met. The highest level was labelled self-actualisation, meaning people are fully functional, possess a healthy personality, and take responsibility for themselves and their actions. He also believed that people should be able to move through these needs to the highest level, provided they are given an education that promotes growth. The figure below shows the needs expressed as they might relate to learning, starting at the base of the pyramid.

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