Laws of Learning
Edward L. Thorndike (1974-194)
- Based on his experiments on animal learning, Edward L.
ThoSeptember 18, 2013he laws of learning.
- Thorndike's laws are also called S-R learning.
- Laws (principles) of learning are:
Three primary laws of learning are:
- Law of effect
- Law of exercise
- Law of readiness
Law of effect.
- learning is strengthened when accompanied by a pleasant
or satisfying feeling.
- learning is weakened when associated with an unpleasant
- learning takes places properly when it results in
satisfaction and the learner derives pleasure out of it.
- The class room experiences should be satisfactory and
pleasant. The teacher must enjoy his teaching work.
- Learning experiences and other activities must be meaningful
and understandable in terms of the personal life of the
- School activities should be organized in increasing difficulty
order so that the students may progress without any failure..
The law of exercise
- This principle states that the S-R connection is strengthened
by use and weakened with disuse.
- It has two parts: law of use and law of disuse.
- Things most often repeated are best remembered.
- Students do not learn complex tasks in a single session.
- The instructor must repeat important items of subject matter
at reasonable intervals.
Law of readiness
- This principle states that motivation is needed to develop an
association or display changed behavior.
- Individuals learn best when they are physically,
mentally, and emotionally ready to learn, and they do not learn
well if they see no reason for learning.
Law of Primacy
- Things learned first create a strong impression.
- What is taught must be right the first time.
- “Unteaching” wrong first impressions is harder than teaching
them right the first time.
- What the student learns must be procedurally correct
and applied the very first time.
Law of Recency
- things most recently learned are best remembered.
- frequent review and summarization help fix in the mind the
- this principle often determines the sequence of lectures
within a course of instruction.
Law of Intensity
- the more intense the material taught, the more likely it will
- a student will learn more from the real thing than from a
- In the class room, demonstrations, skits, and role playing
increase the learning experience of students.
Law (Principle) of Freedom
- things freely learned are best learned.
- the greater the freedom enjoyed by the students in the class,
the greater the intellectual and moral advancement enjoyed by
- Knowledge of these laws helps the teacher for better
understanding of learning behaviours of the students.
Thorndike, E. (1932). The Fundamentals of Learning
New York: Teachers College Press.
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