What is Learning? All of us, from day one, try to adapt our environment, at homes and everywhere. The entire process of development from birth to death involves adapting to increasingly complex, ever-changing environments, using continuously updated knowledge gained through experience. The ability to adapt to changing environments appears in animals and human adaptation follows the principles of learning. Many of creatures are born with a genetic blueprint for life. We struggle to find the life direction, we learn from experience. Our learning gives us flexibility. We can learn a lot and adapt to almost any environment. Indeed, Nature’s most important gift to us may be our adaptability. It is our capacity to learn new behaviour that enables us to cope with ever-changing circumstances.
Learning is the modification of pre-existing behaviour and understanding; it may have been present at birth, acquired through maturation or learned earlier. People learn primarily by identifying relationships between events and noting the regularity in the world around them. When two things repeatedly occur together, people can predict the occurrence of one from knowledge of the other. What relationships do people identify? How do they do it? What determines whether and how people learn? These and other basic questions about learning are among the most frequently and intensively studied topics in psychology.
DEFINITION OF LEARNING
It is defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour resulting from experience. The term behaviour is defined very broadly to include reflexes, voluntary behaviours, verbal behaviours, unobservable behaviours, such as thinking, or even neural activities in the brain.
It is not observed directly but is inferred from changes in Observable behaviour. Learning occurs when we demonstrate new skills to Ourselves; swimming, driving, dancing etc. Learning is apparent from improvements in our performance.
CHARACTERISTICS OF LEARNING
- Learning can take place only through experience. Experience means something that happens to us during our lifetime, usually involving interaction with our environment. that Experience affect the includes environment, taking as in information and making responses practising the skill of driving a car. Psychologists are especially interested in discovering what aspects Of behaviour can be changed through experience and how such changes come about. Some lasting changes in behaviour require a combination of experience and maturational readiness.
- It is defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour. So to qualify as learned, a change in behaviour must be relatively permanent. When one learns swimming, probably always be able to do so. Those changes caused by fatigue, drug or any disease are transient, so cannot be called as learning.
- It is the most important factor in behaviour. Learning means for more than acquiring academic information or skills. Learning is discussed and studied to understand the effects of environment on behaviour.
- It pervades our lives. It is involved in mastering a new skill or academic subject as well as in emotional development, social interaction and even personality development. We learn what to fear what to love, how to be polite, how to be intimate and so on. It is pervasive in our lives. Children learn to perceive the world around them, to identify with appropriate sex, and to control their behaviour according to adult standards.
- The change in behaviour potential is traceable to experience and practice, which is caused by learning. Learning is closely related to knowledge, skill and intention. Knowledge and intention are usually thought to be acquired through experience and skill through practice.
- It is never really observed directly, but it is inferred from observation of a change in performance.
- It shapes our thoughts and language, motivations and emotions, our personalities and attitudes.
- It in all such realm breeds hope. What is learnable we can potentially teach. This fact encourages parents, educators, athletic coaches and animal trainers.
- What has been learned that can potentially be changed by new learning. It underlies counselling, psychotherapy and rehabilitation.
- Of all the world’s creatures, we humans are the most capable of changing our behaviour through learning.
Learning and performance are closely related, but performance is not always an accurate reflection of the amount learned. For example, when our cricket team performs poorly, that does not mean that the team had lost any of their skills. Other factors such as tensions or distractions prevented them from performing at the level of their true ability.
Learning of school teachers frequently report that students do not perform up to their capabilities. The students may have the necessary knowledge and skill, but for some reason, these are not reflected in their performance, Their poor performance is often attributed to lack of motivation.
In short, learning covers a multitude of activities from an inner struggle to understand a complex object or an academic subject. On a grand scale, several theorists think personality results mainly from learning. On a small scale, classical conditioning experiments prove that learning can impinge on behaviOUrs as fleeting and slight as the blink of an eye, Change is the common ground in these activities. These changes often last a lifetime. Like motivation and personality, learning is an elusive research subject. Sometimes the learner is unaware of the learning. As psychologists cannot observe learning directly they have to infer it from a performance.