Much of all instructional design and all curriculum development is based on three different learning theories: Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism. Depending on who you ask you may receive a different answer on which theories is the correct one to use, however, as an instructional designer it is important to have a firm understanding of all three and apply the one that best meets the needs of your audience.

Learning theories are an organized set of principles explaining how individuals acquire, retain, and recall knowledge. By studying and knowing the different learning theories, we can better understand how learning occurs. The principles of the theories can be used as guidelines to help select instructional tools, techniques and strategies that promote learning.