Educational Implications of Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning Theory of Learning


Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist who discovered the classical conditioning theory which means learning through association. The process involves two stimuli which are linked to arouse a response from a person or an animal which is learned.

There are three stages of classical conditioning which are Before Conditioning (Stage 1) which involves a natural response or an unconditioned response of an organism produced by an unconditioned stimulus. The organism produces an unlearned response. The second stage is During Conditioning (Stage 2) which involves a stimulus that produces a neutral or no response and is associated with an unconditioned stimulus which then becomes a conditioned stimulus. The final stage is After Conditioning (Stage 3) in which the conditioned stimulus associates with the unconditioned stimulus to produce a new conditioned response.

Educational Implications of Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning Theory of Learning

The educational implications of Pavlov’s classical conditioning theory are as follows:

Reward and Punishment

When children receive a reward for an accomplishment, they feel motivated to become better.

Removes Superstitions

The teacher can use the classical conditioning method to eliminate superstitious beliefs children may hold.

Facilitates Language Learning

The classical conditioning can be helpful in teaching languages in the classroom.

Helps to Adjust

The classical conditioning method helps children to adjust in a new environment comfortably.

Attitude Development

The classical conditioning theory also facilitates the development of positive attitudes among learners and the elimination of negative attitudes.

Arouses Emotions

The classical conditioning theory is also useful for emotional development as it arouses feelings of happiness, joy, fear, and more in the classroom.

Facilitates Creativity

The classical conditioning theory facilitates the use of creative instructional methods like the use of audio-visual aids which can make the classroom environment more engaging and encouraging.


For the teaching-learning process to be successful, motivation is necessary. Therefore, it is important to take the above points into consideration when using the classical conditioning method in the classroom.

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