Saturday 25 February 2017

What is “Learning”?

What is Learning?
When we hear the word learning, most of us think of studying and school. The matter of the fact is that learning is not limited to school. We learn everyday of our lives. Babies learn to kick their legs, teenagers learn cycling or lyrics of their favorite song, middle-aged people learn to change their diet patters.
In the light of all these examples, it can be inferred that learning occurs when experience causes a relatively permanent change in an individual’s knowledge and behavior. Learning is a change that takes place through practice or experience, changes due to growth or maturation.
It is worth mentioning here that the change might be deliberate or unintentional; but the change must be relatively permanent; it must be for a long time.
In other words, learning is the acquisition of habits, knowledge and attitudes. It involves new ways of doing things. When learning occurs, a more or less permanent change is experienced in the learner’s behavior.
Learning is an active process that needs to be stimulated and guided towards desirable outcomes. External stimuli that induce learning include, particularly the influence of the teacher through the assignments he/she makes, the questions he/she asks, the visual aids and other procedures that he/she utilizes to arouse learning interest and activity.

Definitions of Learning:

The following definitions have been given from different perspectives. These are:

1. Learning is a Change in Behavior:
According to J.P. Guilford, “Learning is any change in behavior, resulting from behavior”. In this definition, a distinction between change in behavior due to maturity and change in behavior due to learning is not clear; though both these activities take place simultaneously.

2. Learning is an Organization of Behavior:
According to Garrett, “Learning is that activity by virtue of which we organize our response with new habits.” In the light of this definition, it is evident that the element of organization in learning is very much important. For example, in learning to ride a cycle, we have to organize the activities of turning the pedal, balancing the handle, etc. in order to be reasonably safe with the vehicle. Learning of the activity of cycling will be complete, only when he/she accomplishes this organization.

3. Learning is the Reinforcement of the New Activity:
Learning of a new activity is an addition to the person’s store of experience. Reinforcement too is an vital element in the act of learning; it helps in forming only successful responses and weeding out the unsuccessful one. According to R. S. Woodworth, “An activity may be called learning in so far as it develops the individual in any way, good or bad and makes his environment and experiences different from what it would otherwise have been.”

Characteristics of Learning:
  • Learning is growth
  • Learning is purposeful
  • Learning is intelligent
  • Learning is both individual and social
  • Learning affects the conduct of the learner
  • Learning is adjustment
  • Learning is experience
  • Learning is active