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  Before 1920:
Empirical Knowledge Base for Education
 

Thorndike: The Laws of Learning

A behavioral learning theory based on connectionism that studied increasing a behavior with the use of rewards, punishment, and practice. Three major laws in the theory inlcude:

The Law of Effect

strength of connection is dependent on what follows

"Of several responses made to the same situation those which are accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction to the animal will, other things being equal, be more firmly connected with the situation, so that, when it recurs, they will be more likely to recur; those which are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort to the animal will, other things being equal, have their connections to the situation weakened, so that, when it recurs, they will be less likely to occur. The greater the satisfaction or discomfort, the greater the strengthening or weakening of the bond."

The Law of Exercise

practice strengthens the connection, disuse weakens it

The Law of Readiness

if physically ready, the connection is satisfying for the organism