E.L. Thorndike propounded the theory of trial and error. He believes that behavior is the result of a response to a stimulus. According to him, learning is associated with responses, impressions, and a sense of action. Thorndike’s views are often referred to as connectionism as it believes in the connection of stimulus and response. Thorndike referred to it as connecting and selecting or trial and error theory since learning results from repetition.

Thorndike proposed three laws of learning. These laws are as follows:

  • The law of readiness
  • The law of effect
  • The law of exercise

The educational implications of Thorndike’s trial and error theory are as follows:

Readiness to Learn

According to this theory, readiness to learn is essential. A child is able to learn better when he or she is prepared to learn and shows a readiness towards learning.

Stimulus and Response are Connected

In this theory, the teacher tries to produce a conception between the stimulus and response through various methods like repetition, reinforcement, and the like.


It is essential to encourage learners so that they learn to appreciate learning and develop an interest in learning.


Giving positive reinforcement to learners is important because they can be motivated to learn and giving negative reinforcement occasionally is important too.


According to this theory, repetition strengthens learning and helps learners to learn faster and better.