Learning Meaning and Characteristics

20/04/2020 2 By indiafreenotes

According to E.R. Hilgard, “Learning is a relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of a prior experience.”

According to W.Mc Gehee, “Learning has taken place if an individual behaves, reacts, responds as a result of experience in a manner different from the way he formerly behaved.”

According to the Dictionary of Psychology

“Learning means the process of acquiring the ability to respond adequately to a situation which may or may not have been previously encountered, the favourable modification of response tendencies consequent upon previous experience, particularly the building of a new series of complexity coordinated motor response, the fixation of items in memory. So that they can be recalled or organized in the process of acquiring insight into a situation.” Therefore, in simple words, learning can be defined as a permanent change in behaviour through education and training, practice and experience.

Characteristics of Learning

  1. Learning is a Continuous Process

After birth, the child acquires skill from experiences obtained from the environment. Hence, leaning goes on throughout life. Learning can be formal or informal and it may be direct or indirect. When a learner learns he develop, knowledge, skills, habits, attitudes, and aptitudes.

  1. Learning is Change in behavior

The result of the Learning process can be measured as behavioral changes. This change can be in any form. It can be desirable or undesirable. But in desirable form, i.e. these changes should occur in a positive direction. Learning includes all three aspects of human behavior. So, it includes cognitive, affective and conative aspects of mental process.

  1. Learning is a universal process

Learning is a universal process. It can happen everywhere. Learning is a process for all living creatures. Human being across all cultures learn as it is a life long process.

  1. Learning is Purposive and Goal-oriented

Learning is always has a purpose. It is goal-oriented in the sense that the teacher always has learning objectives in mind while teaching. If we don’t have any aim and goal, then the process of learning will not show any effect. Through the process of learning, we can move towards pre-determined learning objectives. As the learner learn, he/she move towards a pre-determined goal.

  1. Learning is a process of progress and Development

Learning can occur in any direction. Theses directions can be desirable or undesirable. We want to bring the individual’s development in a desirable direction through learning. We do not want a child to learn in undesirable directions like stealing or pick-pocketing. So learning should bring progressive changes in the behavior of the learner.

  1. Learning is the Organization of Experiences

The basis of learning is the acquisition of new experiences. Behaviors of learners change as a result of new experiences. New learning experiences evolve as a result of past experiences acquired by the learner.

  1. Learning occurs due to Activity and Environment

Interaction with the environment is very essential for the learning process. The more children interact with their environment, the more they learn. The absence of activity and interaction hampers the quality of learning in the child. These interactions provide experience to the children. Due to these interactions changes occur in the behavior of the children.

  1. Learning Helps in Achieving Teaching-learning Objectives

Teaching and learning situations have different goals, aims, and objectives. Process of learning helps in achieving the objectives of teaching. With learning, we expect a change in the behavior of the individuals. This change happens with the development of knowledge, insight, interests, skills, and attitudes. So, for achieving teaching-learning objectives, the learning process plays an important role.

  1. Learning is the Fundamental process of Life

Without learning the progress of a person is not possible. It acts as the basis for the progress of society and civilization.

  1. Learning is the Relationship between stimulus and Response

Learning is generally, a relationship between stimulus and response. A person is considered as a learned-person if he reacts according to the task to be learned. Through learning, a person learns reactions according to the stimuli associated with the environment and other aspects of life.

  1. Learning is transferable

The learning acquired in one situation is capable of transfer to some other situation. The knowledge acquired in one situation proves helpful in acquiring knowledge in other situation. This is known as the transfer of learning. The learner should be careful not to let previously gained knowledge interfere in acquiring new knowledge and experiences.

Nature of Learning

  1. Change in Behaviour

Learning involves change in behaviour, although the change may be good or bad from an organization’s point of view. The change in behaviour need not be an improvement over the previous behaviour, although learning usually connotes improved behaviour. For example, bad habits like smoking, prejudice and stereotype are often learned by individuals.

  1. Change in Behaviour must be Relatively Permanent

All the changes do not reflect learning. To constitute learning, change should be relatively permanent. Temporary changes may be only reflective and fail to represent any learning. Any temporary change in behaviour caused due to fatigue or drugs or temporary adaptations are not covered in learning.

  1. Change Must Be Based on Some Experience, Practice or Training

The behavioural change must be based on some form of practice, experience or training. Any change in behaviour due to physical maturation, any disease or physical damages do not constitute learning. This change may not be evident until a situation arises in which the new behaviour can occur.

  1. Reinforcement

The practice or experience must be reinforced in order for learning to occur. If reinforcement does not accompany the practice or experience the behaviour will eventually disappear.

  1. Learning is Reflected in Behaviour

A change in an individual’s thought process or attitudes not accompanied by behaviour is not learning. Further learning needs to result in behaviour potentiality and not necessarily in the behaviour itself. For example, if a person is thinking of using drugs, but has not actually used them and he finds out that a friend of his has died because of drugs, he will never get involved with drugs. This experience has changed his behaviour potential.