Associative Learning


Associations between identifiable environmental stimuli and observable measurable behaviors

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … repertoire of behaviors
  • Knowing is … behaving (triggered by stimuli)
  • Learner is … a connection-maker (organism-in-context)
  • Learning is … changes in behavior (linking stimuli to responses)
  • Teaching is … training; engineering behavior (through deliberate conditioning)




Associative Learning refers to processes involving linking a stimulus and a response. Most prominently, it includes Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning. (Associative Learning should not be confused with Associationism, which refers to a much broader principle that is invoked across a wide array of discourses.)


See Behaviorisms.

Authors and/or Prominent Influences

See Behaviorisms.

Status as a Theory of Learning

See Behaviorisms.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

See Behaviorisms.

Status as a Scientific Theory

See Behaviorisms.

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Associative Learning” in Discourses on Learning in Education.

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