The Role of Heredity and Environment in Learning Theory The role of heredity and environment in the learning theory is one with varying views. Each view relies strongly on the developmental process of children. Urie Bronfenbrenner posits that a child’s environment plays the biggest role in the child’s development and learning experience (Ormrod, 2014). While Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky believe that a child’s cognitive development is most important to the learning experience (Ormrod, 2014). The purpose of this essay is to explore each of these theories and how they apply to my personal knowledge and understanding of the learning experience. I will begin with an overview of each theory and then move to how aspects of each apply to
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26 and p. 27); this learning process is continuous and relies on both the physical and psychological environment of the child. Piaget suggests that a child’s cognitive development happens in four stages and these stages generally happen as the child reaches a certain age: (1) Sensorimotor, birth to approximately 2 years old; (2) Preoperational, 2 to approximately 7 years old; (3) Concrete Operations, 7 to approximately 11 years old; and (4) Formal Operations, 11 years old and beyond (Artherton, 2013). Piaget also suggests that each stage “provides a foundation” for the next stage (Ormrod, 2014, p. 29). Piaget posits that a child’s social interactions, with both adults and peers, is essential in his development; however, he also believed that “children are largely in control of their own cognitive development” (p. 36). Because Piaget’s theory relies heavily on building knowledge through experiences, it is often referred to as constructivism.
Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, though never fully developed, shares many characteristics with both Piaget’s and Bronfenbrenner’s developmental theories. His theory primarily focuses on the role adults play in a child’s cognitive development (Ormrod, 2014). Through social interactions, both formal and informal children learn; first with the help of adults and gradually moving to independent thought (Ormrod, 2014). Vygotsky also believed that a child’s culture greatly influenced his or her development and