Learning-Essential Characteristics and Types of Learning

  • Anagha Vallikat
    Anagha Vallikat

Learning is a continual process that begins at a person's birth and continues until death. We are all engaged in learning activities to improve our adaptive capacities in response to the changing environment's demands. Two things necessary for learning to occur are the presence of a stimulus in the background and natural innate dispositions, such as emotional dispositions. People continue to learn throughout their lives from experiences while being influenced by dispositions. This is a general phenomenon of learning, but there is a definition of learning and key characteristics that you must understand to conceptualize it better.

We also discuss various types of learning and types of behavioral learning.

What Is Learning?

Learning is a set of permanent behavioral changes that occur as a result of experiences. This general definition given by psychologists emphasizes three key aspects of learning:

  • It entails a behavior change, which can be both good and bad.
  • This behaviour change occurs as a result of experience and practice. Learning does not include changes that occur as a function of growth and development.
  • This behaviour change must be reasonably durable and endure for a long period.

In simple terms, learning is a process that changes the behaviour of the person, which can be for the better or, the worse. There are some characteristics of this behavioural change or learning.

Key Characteristics Of Learning

  • Learning is a process of acquiring, modifying and retaining experiences.
  • It restores the connection between response and stimuli.
  • It's a problem-solving strategy that's concerned with making alterations to the surrounding environment.
  • It encompasses a wide range of actions that may have a long-term impact on an individual.
  • The acquisition, retention and development of experiences step-by-step and synthesis of old and new experiences to create a unique pattern are all part of the learning process.
  • The cognitive and emotional aspects of learning are essential, where the process of acquiring knowledge is cognitive, and behaviour change is considered emotional.

Advantages Of Online Learning

Greater flexibility: When you opt to pursue online learning, you will have more freedom to balance your profession, education, and home life without being bound by a schedule.

Customised learning schedule: Being able to learn and study in a setting that is comfortable for you is one approach to make learning easier. When you study from home, you can build a unique environment suitable to your learning needs. This can include removing distractions, creating a comfortable workplace, and having the resources you need to work with near at hand without having to bring a lot of stuff to class.

Self-motivation: Self-motivation is another skill that you will develop when learning online. You will need to establish effective time management skills, keep yourself motivated to finish activities, and stay on track in an online setting to complete the course work on time. This will entail creating your assignments and deadlines and structuring your day to fulfil those objectives.

Now that we know the key characteristics and advantages of the learning process let us understand the various types of learning.

Types Of Learning

1. Motor learning is necessary to perform daily activities, such as jogging, walking, driving and must be learned to live a happy life. Motor learning requires a tremendous deal of physical coordination and activities.

2. Verbal learning is related to the language we use to communicate and other types of non-verbal communication such as symbols, sounds, and signs.

3. Concept learning is linked to higher-order cognitive functions such as reasoning, thinking and intelligence, which we learn from a young age. Concept learning involves abstraction and generalisation processes, which are highly beneficial for recognising and identifying objects.

4. Discrimination learning is defined as learning that distinguishes between diverse stimuli and their appropriate and different responses.

5. Principles-based learning is founded on principles that aid in the most effective management of tasks. The relationship between various concepts is explained via this learning.

6. Attitude Learning is important, as our positive or negative behaviour is founded on our attitudinal predisposition. Our attitude impacts our behaviour to a large extent, and in turn, our learning process.

Behavioral Theory Learning And Types of Behavioral Learning

Knowledge of behavioral learning theory is essential for teachers for understanding, assisting and encouraging students. Information is passed from teachers to students as a result of a response to the proper stimuli. In behavioural learning, students are passive participants who receive information from teachers as a stimulus-response system. Teachers teach students how to react and respond to various stimuli using behaviorism. The behavioral learning theory emphasizes positive rewards and motivation, where positive rewards motivate the students. There are three types of learning under behavioral learning theory:

  • Classical conditioning: The classical conditioning learning process is described as a stimulus-response connection. Pavlov's classical conditioning experiment was used to explain classical conditioning theory. Food was utilised as the natural stimulus and was combined with previously neutral stimuli, in this case, a bell. The desired reaction can be triggered by creating a link between the natural stimulus and the neutral stimuli.
  • Operant conditioning: According to this learning process, the strength of response is either raised or lowered due to positive reinforcement and punishment. Skinner explained how one could improve behaviour with reward and lessen or curb behaviour with discipline. It was also discovered that reinforcement schedules greatly influence behavioural change, particularly the timing and rate of reward.
  • Observational learning: This learning approach emphasizes learning through imitation or observation of other people's actions. Four critical factors necessary for efficient observational learning are attention, motivation, motor skills, and memory.

Behavioral Theory Teaching Strategies

Teachers can use behavioral learning method strategies in a variety of ways in the classroom, including:

Drills: Teachers can utilize drill patterns to practice skills and show students how behavioral learning theory uses repetition and reinforcement.

Question-answer session: To assist students, teachers can utilize a question as a stimulus and an answer as a reaction, gradually increasing the difficulty of the questions.

Guided Practice: Teachers might directly guide the students with challenges. This is an excellent way to demonstrate behavioral learning.

Reviews: In behavioral learning theory, reviews are crucial. Students will recall information much better if they go over the material again and receive positive reviews.

Positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is used frequently in behaviorist classrooms. It can take the form of verbal reinforcement, reward systems, or increased privileges.

As discussed, learning is a continuous process and teachers have to incorporate various strategies and methods in the classroom to ensure that the learning environment is active and positive.