There are several development theories including Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bronfenbrenner’s theories. Piaget’s theory suggests that children undergo distinct stages of development, which implies that cognitive development occurs alongside physiological growth (Saracho & Evans, 2021). Vygotsky’s theory holds that development is influenced by sociocultural factors. Learning is supported by parents, peers, teachers, and the wider society. Finally, Bronfenbrenner’s theory asserts the influence of environmental factors in the learning process (Saracho & Evans). It holds that a person’s development is affected by factors in their microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem.
Piaget’s theory is discontinuous since it implies that learning happens in stages. A child learns to do specific things during a particular stage of development. For instance, they can see things in symbols during the preoperational stage, implying that learning is a discontinuous process (Saracho & Evans). Vygotsky’s theory is continuous because it suggests that sociocultural interactions always exert influence on a child, leading to continuous learning. Bronfenbrenner’s theory is also continuous since an individual is always learning under the influence of ecological factors. The key concept associated with Piaget’s theory is the four stages of development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete, and formal. Vygotsky’s theory is associated with sociocultural factors and Bronfenbrenner’s theory with environmental factors.
Of the three theories, Bronfenbrenner’s theory has the biggest impact on intentional learning. This is because it recognizes the dynamic nature of learning, and it posits that it is possible to create an inclusive environment that supports learning. For example, it is possible to create an ecological system comprised of various professionals to support a child’s development. Under this theory, teachers, social workers, and psychologists work together with a child’s parents or caretakers to ensure the child learns in the best way possible. Bronfenbrenner’s theory can make learning more intentional and therefore, more productive.
Saracho, O. N., & Evans, R. (2021). Theorists and their developmental theories. Early Child Development and Care, 191(7-8), 993-1001. Web.