Behaviorism is a psychological theory of human development that claims humans can be conditioned to respond to specific stimuli. Given the proper stimuli, behaviors of learners can be controlled. Behaviorists believe human beings are shaped entirely by their external environment. If you alter a learner's environment this will influence his or her thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
A core concept of behaviorism is rewards and punishments. Behaviorists believe that if teachers provide positive reinforcement whenever students perform a desired outcome, they will learn to perform the behavior on their own. An example of behaviorism is when teachers reward their students with a special treat for good behavior or grades. Inversely, the same concept applies to punishments — the teacher can take away certain privileges if the student doesn't perform as expected or meet prescribed criteria.
Cognitivism is a learning theory that focuses on the mental processes involved in learning. Mental processes include thinking, remembering, knowing, observing, problem-solving, categorizing and reasoning. The basic building blocks of thinking are called schemata. Learning is defined as changes in a learner’s schemata and knowledge can be seen as schema. As learners make connections between schemas, learning occurs and information is stored in one's memory towards development of more complex mental constructions.
An important feature of cognitivism is the concept that learners actively process information by linking old information with new information. Maturation and on-going experiences throughout life lead to progressive reorganization of such informational linkages on to the development of higher order thinking skills.
Constructivism is a learning theory which argues that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences. Constructivists believe that learning is best achieved via self-directed activities — when information is constructed by the learner. Learning is affected by the environment in which a concept is taught as well as by human perception and social experiences. Learning involves language, real world situations, interactions and collaboration among learners.
Motivation is a key factor in learning. When motivated, the learners exercise their will to participate in their own learning. They will gather information, analyze it, formulate hypotheses, and apply their ideas in real-world applications when their interests and curiosities are aroused.