Case Study Assessing the Developmental Level and the Learning Strategies

CaseStudy: Assessing the Developmental Level and the Learning Strategies

CaseStudy: Assessing the Developmental Level and the Learning Strategies

Humanbeings engage in the process of learning throughout their lives, buttheir approach to learning and styles of learning differs with age orthe developmental stage that they have reached at any given moment.The educator should be able to assess the learning needs as well asthe characteristics of the targeted learner, all of which depends onthe maturational level of the learner (Bastable &amp Dart, 2007).This paper will analyze the case study of four family members, wherethe boy (10-years old) suffers from diabetes, his mother (35-yearold) works a teacher, his maternal grandmother (66-years old) worksas a housewife, and the grandfather is a retired engineer and at theage of 68 years. The paper will establish the effect of thedevelopmental stages on the learning process, identify the learningstyle, and the theory of learning that is suitable for Jakes. Thefact that learners acquire different levels of cognitive andpsychosocial development at different developmental stages impliesthat different learning styles, strategies, and learning theoriesshould be selected for each individual learner.

Table 1: Developmental level assessment


Developmental level

Learning characteristics associated with level

Projected learning strategies


Stage four of Erickson’s developmental stages, 10-year old (industry vs. inferiority)

-Able to compare events and objects

-More objective and realistic

-Inductive and deductive reasoning

-Looking for concrete information

-Subject-centered focus

-Use analogies to make invisible visible

-Use objects, videos, and drawings for illustration


Stage six of Erickson’s developmental stages, 35-year old (intimacy vs. isolation)


-Able to analyze critically


-Intrinsic motivation

-Can relate learning with personal experience

-Problem-centered focus

-Draw from relevant experience

-Invite active participation

-Encourage role-playing


Stage eight of Erickson’s developmental stages, 66-year old (Ego integrity vs. despair)

-Decline in ability to reason abstractly

-Decline in short-term memory

-Decline in hearing and sight

-Feeling intimidated by formal learning

-Selective earning

-Using concrete examples

-Verbal coaching and exchange

-Encourage active involvement

-Brief, but clear explanations

-Combine verbal and visual aids

-Provide pertinent material

-Provide time to reminisce

-Offer informal teaching sessions

-Use analogies to explain verbal teaching

-Draw from past experiences

-Teach a concept at a time


Stage eight of Erickson’s developmental stages, 68-year old (Ego integrity vs. despair)

-Decline in ability to reason abstractly

-Decline in short-term memory

-Decline in hearing and sight

-Feeling intimidated by formal learning

-Selective earning

-Using concrete examples

-Verbal coaching and exchange

-Encourage active involvement

-Brief, but clear explanations

-Combine verbal and visual aids

-Provide pertinent material

-Provide time to reminisce

-Use analogies to explain verbal teaching

-Draw from past experiences

-Teach a concept at a time

FromTable 1, the first two family members (Jake and Jenifer) fall indifferent Erickson’s developmental stages. Jake is in the fourthstage of human development, where he is struggling with industryversus inferiority. Jake’s mother, Jenifer, is in the six stage ofdevelopment, where she is struggling with intimacy versus isolation(McLeod, 2008). Jenifer’s mother, Sandy, her father, Frank, are inthe eight stage of human development, which means that they facingthe crisis of ego integrity versus despair. At Jack’s age, childrenhave attained a reasonable progress in cognitive, psychosocial, andphysical development and their natural curiosity increases theirdesire to learn (Bastable &amp Dart, 2007). Therefore, Jake islikely to be more objective and eager to learn realistic ideas. AtJenifer’s age, the cognitive and psychosocial is at the peak andthe young adult can make healthy and reasonable decisions (Bastable &ampDart, 2007). Jenifer is likely to be an autonomous learner who willanalyze the content critically. Older adults experience a decline incognitive ability and common senses (such as hearing), which meansthat Sandy’s and Frank’s learning process might be affected bythe shortness of memory and inability to inability to reasonabstractly among other challenges.

Table 2: Learning style assessment


Potential learning style

Learning characteristics associated with style

Associated learning strategies



-Attention to details

-Not really talkative

-Needs visual directions

-Well organized

-Good concentration

-Thoughts wander during the lecture

-Overhead projector

-black or white board

-Flip chart



-Paper handout



-Enjoy reading

-Prefer reading for themselves

-Do not hesitate to look for definition in dictionaries

-Work well in quiet areas

-Prefer receiving information in notes

-Provide well-written notes

-Provide bullet point lists

-Converting charts and diagrams into words

-Taking notes during the lesson

-Re-writing notes



-Like to talk

-Easily lose concentration

-Enjoy music

-Prefer verbal praise

-Like listening

-Like spoken directions

-Organized approach to task

-One-on-one class


-Voice recorders

-Computer recordings

-Audio books

-Reading aloud




-Slow talkers

-Slow to make decisions

-Learn by solving real-life problems

-Prefer hand-on-approach

-Tend to more around while learning

-Do not prefer sitting still-Like participating in the learning process.

-Talk with gestures

-Like touching objects

-Like trying new things

-Practice repeating motions

-Doing things as they are said

-Moving and lecturing the walls

-Using flash cards

-Making study tools to hold

-Using computer

Differentlearning styles are selected for the four members of the family areselected because they have different learning needs. The visuallearning style has been selected for Jake because children in his ageprefer learning with the help of visual aids, such as artifacts(Bastable &amp Dart, 2007). In addition, competency (Bastable &ampDart, 2007) is the key strength that children of Jake’s age seek toacquire, which means that he is likely to have a good concentrationand be well organized. The read/write learning style is suitable forJenifer, who a young and literate woman is working as a Frenchteacher. Given her language teaching job, Jenifer is likely to be alady who enjoys reading look for definitions on her own, receiveinformation from the notes. The Auditory is the preferred learningstyle for Sandy, who is a housewife. Given the nature of her work andage, Sandy is likely to prefer learning from listening to an educatorand talking to them when seeking for clarification. Kinesthetic is alearning style of choice for Frank. Frank is a retired engineer,which means that he is likely to learn through the hand-on approach.

Effectof the developmental level on Jake’s learning

Atthe age of 10 years, Jake is in his late childhood, where he isfacing the crisis of industry versus inferiority. Individuals in thelate childhood demonstrate an increase in ability to understandinformation, the desire to control their own lives, and activeinvolvement (Bastable &amp Dart, 2007). This implies that Jakes isready to learn issues pertaining to his health and get involved inthe treatment process. Although children at Jake’s age are able toreason in a logical way, they have a limited capacity for abstractthought. This implies that children at Jake’s developmental stagelearn better from materials prepared step-by-step, concrete terms,and with the help of illustrations (Bastable &amp Dart, 2007). Theneed for illustrations justifies the use of artifacts and handoutswith bullet points as well as illustrative diagrams to help Jakecomprehend whatever he is taught. At Jakes developmental stage, peersbecome significant sources of self-esteem. The significance ofself-esteem may be considered in the case of Jake by providing videosof children at Jakes age group undergoing similar procedures ororganizing sessions that Jake will learn in the company of his peers.

Inaddition, children in the fourth stage of development feel the needto show their competencies as well as values that are highly valuedby the society (McLeod, 2008). This suggests that Jake needs to learnby getting engaged in the practical parts of the learning program inorder to offer him the opportunity to demonstrate his competence.Although children in the fourth stage of development gain thecapacity to do certain things (such as learning) on their own, theyneed to be encouraged by parents, health care providers, or teachersfor them to understand that whatever they are learning is valued bytheir society (McLeod, 2008). In the case of Jake, motivation fromparents and the health care providers may be required to give him anassurance that he is continually gaining competence.

Effectof visual learning style on Jake’s learning

Jake,who is a visual learner, is expected to learn through reading,seeing, and interpreting illustrations. Visual learning is associatedwith increasing in the recollection capacity (Smith, 2014), whichmeans that it will enhance Jake’s capacity to understand things byseeing objects or diagrams similar to those used in the learningmaterials. The enhanced recollection capacity can be attributed tothe improvement in memory skills and the ability to see the actionsof a given story happening in the learner’s mind when a visuallearning style is used to enlighten an individual on a particularissue. For example, Jake may be able to visualize activities thatinvolve self-management for patients with diabetes when suchknowledge is taught using a video is illustration materials.

Althoughthe visual learning style enhances learning by increasing memoryskills, ability to visualize, and recollect, it reduces the capacityof learners to understand unwritten or auditory instructions (Smith,2014). This implies that Jake might find it difficult to learn aboutdiabetes through a lecture-oriented learning program or requireinstructor to keep on repeating information. Therefore, visuallearning style can help Jake comprehend the information faster, butlimits his ability to learn and understand similar or differentinformation using different learning style.

Rationalefor selecting the behaviorism theory

Behaviorismtheory of learning is a perspective that enhances learning byconditioning learners through the consequences or reinforcement. Thebehaviorism theory was selected as the suitable perspective forfacilitating Jake’s learning for four reasons. First, behaviorismtheory is based on observable behaviors that are easy to quantify(Smith, 2014). The theory makes it possible to measure the success orfailure of change in behavior during the process of learning.Secondly, the behavioral theory builds the confidence of learners byconditioning them to think in a positive way. Learners eventuallydiscover that they have the capacity to address their own problems,which boosts their confidence. Third, behavioral theory is positivelyassociated with an increase in the self belief of individuallearners, which is attributed to the theory’s capacity to helpthese learners discover that they have the ability to take actionsand drive their own development. Lastly, behavioral theory is apractical theory that leads to a successful change of behavior oflearners. Learners finds a reason and feels motivated to adoptappropriate behavior when they are given chances to win awards for asuccessful change.

Relevantpremises of behaviorism theory

Thetheory of behaviorism is based on several premises, but four of themare more relevant. First, the theory is founded on the premise thateverything that is done by human beings is related to behavior, andthere is mind/body dualism (INSYS Knowledge Base, 2016). Therefore,the success of the learning process should be determined by learner’sbehavior and not the invisible changes that occur in the mind.Second, the theory of behaviorism holds that human reactions can beobserved and measured, which implies that it is possible to observeand measure Jake’s reaction to the process of learning when usingthe theory of behaviorism. Third, the theory holds that learners areactive, as opposed to being passive, which implies that they takeactive roles during the learning process (INSYS Knowledge Base,2016). The tendency to desire for active engagement is among the keycharacteristics of a learner at Jake’s developmental stage. Fourth,behaviorism holds that a change in behavior is a result of theassociation between stimuli, which suggests that reward orconsequence stimulate learners to change and continue with a givenbehavior. Lastly, behaviorism is founded on the premise that the lawof learning is similar for all types of species. This means that thetheory can be successfully applied to facilitate learning for anyone,including Jakes.

Howto use the theory of behaviorism

Aninstructor can apply the theory of behaviorism in several ways inorder to facilitate and enhance the success of the process oflearning. For example, complimenting a good behavior or positivechange (such as Jake’s ability to recite part of the content in thelearning material) can act as a reinforcement that encourages theearner to keep trying (Cascio, 2015). The instructor should supportany praise or reinforcement with evidence. This is accomplished bygiving examples of the learner’s accomplishments (such as Jake’sability to interpret instructional diagrams) when praising thelearner. In addition, both positive and negative reinforcementsshould be used depending on situations in order to show the learnerthat the process of reviewing accomplishments is fair. Therefore,unpleasant consequences (such as denying Jake’s permission toattend a friend’s party in case he refuses to follow therecommended learning process) should be applied with the objective ofthe learner to get back to the learning process and to embarrass thestudent (Cascio, 2015).

Therole of learner (Jake) when using behaviorism theory

Boththe instructor and the learner have a role to play in the process oflearning whenever the theory of behaviorism is applied. The main roleof the learner is to perform different tasks when and in the way theyare described by the instructor (Whitlow, 2012). In addition, Jakeshould interpret the comments made by the instructor in order todetermine whether he is required to continue or stop certainbehaviors. This implies that Jake should differentiate betweennegative and positive reinforcement.


Individualsachieve different levels of cognitive, psychosocial, and physicaldevelopment, which explains the existence of different learningcharacteristics that is observed in learners at differentdevelopmental stages. Differences in the characteristics of learnersat different developmental stages calls for the use of differentlearning styles for different learners. Moreover, the process ofselecting the suitable learning theory should be influenced by thecharacteristics of an individual learner in order to enhance thesuccess of the learning process. For example, the theory ofbehaviorism is an effective perspective that can enhance learning forJake, who is in the fourth stage of Erickson’s developmentalphases.


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Smith,D. (2014). Advantagesand disadvantages of different learning styles.Santa Monica: Demand Media.

Whitlow,M. (2012). Advantages and disadvantages of behaviorist teaching.Prezi.Retrieved March 16, 2016, from

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