What are the types of Learning? Greek philosopher Aristotle concluded that we learn by association. Our minds naturally connect events that occur in sequence; we associate them. Simple animals can learn simple associations. More complex animals can learn more complex associations, especially those that bring favourable consequences. There are various types of learning. Very complex animals, like chimpanzees, can learn behaviour by merely observing others perform them. We humans can learn by all these ways; and through language, we can learn things we have neither experienced nor observed. It includes learning of moral ideas, self-concept, depth perception etc.
The following are the four types of Learning. These are also considered as methods of learning.
1. Learning by Observation
2. Learning by Cognition/insight
3. Learning by Trial and Error
4. Learning by Conditioning
Humans and animals utilize these methods according to the need and their capacity. Most often, we apply more than one method at a time.
TYPES OF LEARNING
1.LEARNING BY OBSERVATION
It is the first types of learning. When we observe and imitate others, behaviour, that is called learning by observation. The process of observing and imitating by observation is often called modelling. Bandura believes that much of our learning takes place through observation. We learn by watching others perform, and then, we imitate what we observe. The process of learning by watching others is called observational learning, also known as social learning. We learn all kinds of social behaviour observing and imitating models. Models are most effective when their actions and of words, adults are and consistent. Peers’ role of Children models are particularly influenced by the behaviours.
The fact that people can learn by watching or the another, the behaviour most of people’other does not mean that they always will. At one time ignore the experience of others and must find out something else for themselves. What determines whether observational learning will occur? What determines whether we will imitate a model? look, Bandura, as and similar we believe learn, to ourselves part We imitate of and the answer is reinforcements and punishments. We those we respect and admire, those we perceive those we perceive as successful.
Observational learning may involve self-reinforcement, which are thoughts and statements that we make to ourselves. That is we are deliberately controlling or reinforcing our learning process. We learn much through observation of models, both pro-social and anti-social behaviours So, observational learning can be positive and negative, as well. Children may learn to perform helpful behaviours by watching their teachers, i.e. to help other students with school problems.
According to Bandura, there are four requirements in Observational learning.
a.Attentional Process Close attention is necessary to what is happening around. People cannot learn unless they are able to observe model’s behaviour. Attention paid to model depends upon several factors of observational learning. A child may be more likely to imitate an uncle than a father.
b.Retentional Process The learner organizes and retains what has been observed, reliving experiences, mentally rehearsing future experience. Through imagination and language, the learner builds a cognitive map.
c. Motor Reproduction Process It is related to the reproduction of behaviour which is observed. Learner converts the cognitive representation into actions; it depends on the physical capability of leaner.
d. Motivation The actual or imagined rewards of imitated determine whether the behaviour will extinguish or not. People are most likely to imitate those whom they see rewarded for their behaviour and whom they like. Liking tends to be enhanced if the model is similar to the observer in gender, age or other characteristics or is attractive or powerful.
Observational learning seems to be a powerful source Of the socialization. Experiments show that children are more willing to help and share after seeing a demonstration of helping by a warm, powerful model’ even after some months have elapsed. Studies show that following general conclusions play an effective role in observational learning.
Vicarious Learning Often observation of behaviour includes an awareness of consequences of behaviour, whether an action by someone else incurs a reinforcer or an aversive stimulus. Whatever type of modelling occurs, researchers have discovered that imitation can be inspired by either alive or symbolic model. In live modelling, the model can be another person. In general, the more similarity between model and learner, the more learning will occur. Studies indicate that the higher the status of a model, the more the observer will imitate behaviour. That is why celebrities are booked for advertisements.
2.LEARNING BY COGNITION (INSIGHT)
It is the second types of learning. Tolman was one of the earliest researchers to underline the importance of cognitive processes in learning. Cognitive learning means using thought processes while learning. Cognitive theorists assign a major mental activity to any learning. They argue organisms do not always within a precise pattern defined by stimulus and response.
Kohler In some learning, it appears that there is no connection sudden insights or understanding and external rewards. Gestalt psychologists use the term insight instead of cognition. Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Kohler illustrates this form of learning. Gestalt psychologists believed the learning must be treated as a whole. They argued that learning came sudden flashes or insight only when learner put pieces together in such a that the completed whole exceeded the mere total of those pieces,
Experiments Kohler conducted his experiments on chimpanzees, to reveal the essence of learning. He put them in cages. In a typical situation, a smart chimpanzee named Sultan was prevented from reaching a piece of fruit near the bars of his cage. Kohler gave Sultan a stick, but it was also short. Sultan gazed around. picked up the short stick; through the bars, it scratched another longer stick’ which was lying outside the cage; joined to the two his sticks and grabbed the fruit, Kohler explained that Sultan learned to solve a problem by putting several pieces together into a meaningful whole. The solution resulted from insight, a sudden realization following a period of mental activity. In other sets of experiments, Kohler put the food high above the reach of chimpanzees in a cage, along with a box. Kohler reported that as a result of insight, chimpanzees suddenly discovered that they could grab the food by jumping up on the box. Kohler believed that insight ability, demonstrated by his chimpanzees, differed from the trial and error learning described by Thorndike. Kohler argued that solution to problems occur when an individual can view the entire problem field and rearrange the elements of the problem into a new configuration. Solutions have a perceptual quality to them, and they occur quickly, once the components have been reconfigured. Kohler used the term insight to label such a process. Kohler criticized Thorndike’s work arguing that its experimental conditions were artificial and allowed the research animals to display only random behaviours. He viewed that an animal in a maze could not see the overall pattern or design, but only each alley, as it was encountered, Therefore, the animals could try one path at a time.
In the Gestalt’s view, the organisms must be able to perceive the relationships among the various parts of the problem before insight learning can occur. These studies supported the alt’s global connection Of behaviour. The research also reinforced the Gestalt idea that learning involves a reorganization of one’s psychological environment.
Tolman, He proposed a cognitive explanation of learning, suggesting that repeated performance of a task strengthens the learned relationship between environmental cues and the organism’s expectations. In this way, organisms get to know its environment. Tolman called these learned relationships.
3.LEARNING BY TRIAL AND ERROR
It is the third types of learning. Edward Lee Thorndike fashioned a mechanistic objective learning theory that focused on overt behaviour. He interpreted learning in terms of concrete connections between stimuli and responses. Thorndike introduced trial and error learning, although he preferred to call it trial and accidental-success. This learning is based on the repetition of response tendencies that lead to success. Thorndike introduced a law of effect and law of exercise in his series of experiments on animals. He named them laws of learning.
Experiment Thorndike devised an elaborate cage called a puzzle box. A hungry cat was placed in the puzzle box and had to learn some responses i.e. stepping on a small lever, in order to unlock the door and get out. When the cat succeeded, it was rewarded with food and then placed back inside the box. After several trials, the cat learned to open the door. After that, when put in the cage; the cat walked calmly to the lever; pushed it down with its paw; strolled through the door and ate the food.
Learning process by trial and error is not so complicated, rather it is simple. Learner tries many efforts again and again and by the time successful efforts are repeated and rest are left. Same is the case here, in the first few trials, the cat performed a great many responses randomly. Eventually stepped on the lever and the door opened. Any response that did not produce a rewarding effect became weaker over time and the response that did have a rewarding effect became stronger over time. At last, cat learned to open the door without any error.
Thorndike concluded that learning and problem solving was a process of trial and “accidental success” with unsuccessful behaviours gradually being eliminated in favour of behaviours that worked.
Law of Effect Thorndike stated that learning is governed by the law of effect. It is a basic principle of learning, which states that learning is controlled by its consequences. This law states that the power of a stimulus to evoke a response is strengthened when the response is followed by a reward and weakened if the response is not followed by a reward. According to this law, if a response made in the presence of a particular stimulus is followed by a reward, that response is more likely to be made next time the stimulus is encountered.
Law of Exercise This law states that any response made in a particular situation becomes associated with the situation. The more the response is used in a given situation, the more strongly it becomes associated with it Simply repeating a response tends to strengthen that response. Laws of learning given by Thorndike are widely applicable to human learning.
4.LEARNING BY CONDITIONING
It is the fourth types of learning. Learning by association is called learning by conditioning. Traditionally two kinds of associative learning have been of particular interest; Classical and operant conditioning. Psychologists who have studied conditioning usually take a behaviouristic approach. They operated following general assumptions.
i. Simple associations of the classical or operant kind are the building blocks of all learning, no matter how complex.
ii. The laws of learning are roughly the same for all species and can be revealed in experiments, even with lower organisms in relatively barren environments. Thus the laws that govern how a rat learns to run a maze presumably govern how a child learns long division (Skinner, 1938).
iii. Learning can be better understood in terms of external or environmental causes than internal, intentional ones. The ultimate causes of behaviour presumably lie in environmental events, particularly those that are rewarding or punishing.
The behaviourist approach has uncovered a wealth of findings of simple associative learning. However, behaviourists have faced two serious challenges. The ethnological approach disputes the behaviourists’ claim that laws of learning are the same for all organisms, and all situations, while laws of learning are the same for all organisms and all situations, while cognitive theory disputes the behaviourists’ assumption that associations are the only building blocks of learning, and that learning can be understood by considering only environmental factors.