Meaning of Learning

Concept of Learning

Learning is another important psychological process determining human behavior. It is a term frequently used by people in a wide variety of contexts. Learning is a continuous process. It occurs all the time. Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience. We can say that the changes in the behavior indicate that the learning has taken place and that learning is a change in behavior.

In other words, learning may be defined as the process of acquiring, assimilating, and internalizing cognitive, motor, or behavioral inputs for their effective and varied use when required, leading to an enhanced capability for further self-monitored learning. It is a change in behavior through education and training, practice and experience. It is accompanied by acquisition of knowledge, skills and expertise which are relatively permanent. Temporary changes may be only reflexive and fail to represent any learning. If reinforcement does not accompany that practice or experience, the temporary changes in behavior will eventually disappear. It is reinforcement which makes learning or change in behavior enduring by strengthening and intensifying certain aspects of an individual’s behavior. Some definitions are presented by the experts are as follows:

“Learning is the process by which new behaviors are acquired. It is generally agreed the learning involves changes in behavior, practicing new behaviors, and establishing permanency in the change.” – T. R. Mitchell

“Learning is a process within the organism which results in the capacity for changed performance which can be related to experience rather than maturation.” – Ribeaux and Poopleton

“Learning is the process by which an activity originates or is changed through reacting to an encountered situation, provided that the characteristics of the change in activity cannot be explained on the basis of native response tendencies, maturity or temporary status of the organism.” – E. R. Hilgard

“Learning is a relatively permanent change in the frequency of occurrence of a specific individual behavior.” – Hellriegel

From the above definitions, learning may be described as the process of acquiring the ability to respond adequately to a situation which may or may not have been previously encountered, as the favorable modification of response tendencies consequent upon previous experience, particularly the building of a new series of complex co-ordinated motor response; the fixation of times in memory so that they can be recalled or organized; the process of acquiring insight into situation. Thus, learning can be defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of prior experience.

Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience. We can say that the changes in the behavior indicate that the learning has taken place and that learning is a change in behavior. The definition of learning highlights few characteristics of learning:
  1. Learning involves change. This may be good or bad from an organizational point of view. People can learn unfavorable behaviors as well as favorable behaviors.
  2. The change must be relatively permanent. Temporary changes may be only reflexive and fail to represent any learning.
  3. Learning takes place when there is change in actions. A change in an individual's thought processes or attitudes, if accompanies by no change in behaviors and would not be learning.
  4. Some form of experience is necessary for learning. This may be required directly through observation or practice or if may result from indirect experiences such as that acquired through reading. 

Features of Learning

Features and characteristics of learning are as follows:
  1. Leaning takes place when there is a change in actions. A change in an individual’s thought processes or attitudes, if accompanied by no change in behavior, would not be learning.
  2. The practice of experience must be reinforced in order for learning to occur. If reinforcement does not accompany the practice or experience, the temporary learnt behavior will disappear and hence no learning would be there.
  3. Learning involves change. This may be good or bad form an organizational point of view. People can learn unfavorable behaviors as well as favorable behaviors.
  4. Some form of experience is necessary for learning. This may be required directly through observation or practice or it may result from indirect experiences such as those acquired through reading.
  5. Learning occurs throughout one’s life and hence it is a continuous process.
  6. The change must be relatively permanent. Temporary changes may be only reflexive and fail to represent any learning.

Learning is the process of acquiring the ability to respond adequately to a situation which may or may not have been previously encountered. It is an important aspect of personality of an individual. Learning is any change in behavior, resulting from behavior. Learning has its certain process. The process of learning has following steps. 
Process of Learning

1. Acquiring Knowledge or Input 

The first step in learning is the acquiring of new inputs in terms of knowledge and understanding (Cognition); some physical (Motor Activity) or a new behavior (including values and attitudes). Stimuli are basis or initial sources for acquiring knowledge. These are any objects existing in the environment as perceived by the individual. In the workplace, unless the employee understands the messages communicated by the management, he is unlikely to the affected in the appropriate direction as intended by the communication. When this process is quick and clear, learning is effective. 

2. Assimilation or Retention 

The second step of learning process is the assimilation of new input. It should not only be acquired quickly but should also be retained for a length of time. The stability of learned behavior over time is defending as retention and course in forgetting. If input that is acquired is short-lived in the memory, learning will not be effective. 

3. Internalization of New Knowledge 

Effective learning is characterized by the internalization of new inputs. New inputs are acquired from the outside environment. But after these are assimilated, they should become a part of the individual’s personality, lifestyle and psychological words. Internalization also means that inputs get transformed according to the individual’s own psychological and cognitive system. 

4. Application of New Learning 

Once the acquired inputs are internalized, they should be available to the individual for their effective use when the need arises. If what is learnt is only ‘ornamental’ and not effectively used, learning cannot be said to be effective. For example, the learning of management techniques and skills should result in better management of the various activities and fields with which the person works. 

5. Using Learning in all Situations 

Learning should have transfer value. What one has learned in one field, one should be able to apply and use in another field. One should be able to use one’s knowledge and skills in the new situation. This would mean being creative, making one’s own contribution to what one has learnt. Thus, there is continuous enrichment of knowledge and practice. Learning must contribute to this process of development of creativity, generation of new knowledge, development of new field of application and building of new theories and conceptual models. In fact, creativity would also imply improvement of practice with new knowledge and skills, and the development of new knowledge from improved action and practice. 

6. Self-monitored Learning 

Learning should in addition, increase a person’s capability for learning more on his or her own. This does happen in effective learning. After a child has learned to take the first few steps, he learns to walk and balance himself on his own. Similarly, initial learning in a particular field enables a person to organize further learning on his or her own. Without such self-learning, an individual’s growth would remain limited a dependent on external resources.

Factors influencing Learning

There are lots of factors that influence learning. To be more specific, the following are some;
  1. Psychological factors: The psychological factors that influence learning includes an individual's interest, values, perception, beliefs, needs and motives etc. Therefore, the organization must be familiar about individual psychological factors in order to make learning more effective. 
  2. Physiological factors: Another influencing factor of learning are human physiological difference. This includes intelligence, age, sex, and health and memory power. It is well known fact that healthy and intelligent people can learn more than dull and physically unfit people.
  3. Learning method: What are the learning principles and method followed by organization play vital role in learning. So to say, learning depends in organization fund, qualified hired resource person, two way openly communication between trainee and trainer etc. influence learning.
  4. Environmental factors: Environmental factors consist of sound and healthy organizational environment. That is, clean, bright and peaceful environment play a dominant role in learning. The major barrier for learner is noise and air pollution, massive hot weather or cold that influence for learning.
  5. Appropriate feedback system: These should be set of feedback rules to enhance learning. Some examples are, be specific, non judgmental, express your own feeling etc. With the application of these sets of effective feedback, one can learn in the organization.
You may also like this:

No comments:

Post a Comment