2 Learning Theories, Principles, and Quality Health Care Melissa Godoy St. Thomas University NUR 501: Philosophical and


Learning Theories, Principles, and Quality Health Care

Melissa Godoy

St. Thomas University

NUR 501: Philosophical and Theoretical Evidence-Based Research

Professor Mary Richards

May 23, 2024

Learning Theories, Principles, and Quality Health Care

Theories and learning principles are like tools in the hands of APNs for excellence in providing care to clients. Specific strategies can be employed to promote learning, education, counseling, and health care. These strategies include understanding what motivates the learners, how knowledge is acquired, how skills are learned, and how the behavior change process works. All this information can help inform APNs in creating specific strategies that will help promote learning.

The theory used in this study was that of Malcolm Knowles and his andragogy, which is learning for adults. Knowles also summarizes that adults are different from children – such distinction can be observed in how adults are more self-directed in their approach to learning, are more experienced, are motivated to learn when there is a need to, and are problem-based in their approach to the process (Nallaluthan et al., 2023). This understanding enables one to design educational interventions to identify these patients by understanding their motivation for learning health behaviors, learning styles, and life situations to develop a better rapport.

The Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) theory of human behavior and experience developed by Albert Bandura is functional for APNs. This theory is often used to describe how a person’s personality, the environment where he or she lives, and the actions the individual does are interconnected. APNs can apply it by envisioning that patients are in settings that encourage the adoption of positive health practices, that they are being exposed to positive examples or mentors, or that they build their self-efficacy, which is their ability to manage and advance their health status.

The Health Belief Model states that a person’s beliefs about the seriousness of the condition and the consequences of not preventing the condition, his or her beliefs about the benefits of avoiding the condition, and his or her beliefs about the barriers to such behavior are critical factors in the health decision. APNs can then use this model to understand how the patients perceive the disease and then find ways of creating communication and intervention modes that address the existing myths and misconceptions as well as the possible benefits of the disease and how this could help the patients and overcome the possible barriers that they may encounter.

An Experiential Learning Theory was developed by David Kolb, who believes that learning can be achieved through ‘concrete experiences,’ observations and reflections, forming abstract concepts, and testing new behaviors (Passarelli & Kolb, 2023). APNs can use this theory to make patients more engaged in processes like discussions, reflecting on their experiences, explaining principles behind why they are doing something, or even teaching them new tasks or behaviors.

Jack Mezirow founded Transformative Learning Theory, which implements critical reflection and dialogue into learning (Kurnia, 2021). APNs can benefit from this theory when working with patients who need to drastically change their lifestyle or perception of their condition so that they can change the way they think.

These theories and principles constitute tools–and sources of power and empowerment – for APNs. They offer a better explanation of how people learn, process information, and change their behavior. In the context of APNs, these concepts enable them to educate the patient, motivate the patient to manage his or her behaviors and maintain the changes in health behaviors. In addition, APNs can utilize these theories to guide their understanding of the practice and professional practice development, contributing to the development of their level of confidence in this role and their competence as educators and healthcare providers.


Bandura, A. (2023). 
Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective on human nature. John Wiley & Sons.

Kurnia, R. P. (2021). A case for Mezirow’s transformative learning. 
Diligentia: Journal of Theology and Christian Education
3(1), 73-82.

Nallaluthan, K., Masran, M. N., Thurasingam, V., & Kanapathy, K. (2023). Malcolm Knowles’ Theory of Andragogy at Research Management and Innovation Centre Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (RMIC-UPSI): Work-Based Learning Model. 
Evaluation Studies in Social Sciences
4(2), 30-50.

Michael Vande Berg, R Michael Paige, & Kris Hemming Lou. (2012). 
Student learning abroad : what our students are learning, what they’re not, and what we can do about it. Stylus Publishing, Llc.

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