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Learning Definition

Developing new knowledge, skills, actions, attitudes, values, and preferences is the learning procedure. Humans, animals, and even robots can all learn new things; some plants have even been shown to learn in some capacity. While some learning is quick and brought on by a single occurrence (such as getting burned by a hot stove), many skills and knowledge are developed over time through repeated experiences. Learning typically results in changes that last a lifetime, making it difficult to tell the difference between knowledge that seems to be "lost" and knowledge that cannot be recovered.

Learning Definition

Human learning begins at birth, yet it may actually begin earlier because an embryo has to interact with and be free in its surroundings while in the womb and endures through death as a result of continual interactions between individuals and their surroundings. Many well-established disciplines (such as educational psychology, neuropsychology, experimental psychology, cognitive sciences, & pedagogy), as well as newer ones (such as those with a common interest in the subject of learning from safety events like incidents and accidents or in collaborative learning health systems), are studying the nature and processes involved in learning. Numerous learning types have been identified due to research in these areas. For example, habituation, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, or more sophisticated activities like play, only found in reasonably intelligent animals, can lead to learning. Learning can take place consciously or unconsciously. Learned helplessness is a state that might develop after discovering that an unpleasant occurrence cannot be prevented or escaped. The brain's central nervous system is mentally capable. It sets up for memory and cognition to occur extremely early in development, as evidenced by the observation of habituation in human behavioural learning during pregnancy as early as 32 weeks.

Many thinkers have looked at play as a way for children to learn. Children explore the world, discover laws, and develop social skills through play. Lev Vygotsky concurs that play is essential for children's growth because they make sense of their surroundings by engaging in educational activities. However, Vygotsky believed that play was the child's initial method of acquiring language and communication and the stage at which they started to comprehend rules and symbols. This has given rise to the idea that learning in living things is constantly connected to semiosis and frequently linked to representational systems and activity.

Types of learning

1. Non - associative learning

The term "relatively permanent alteration in the strength of reaction to a single stimulus because of repeated exposures to that stimulus" describes non-associative learning. This description does not include changes brought on by sensory adaptation, exhaustion, or injury. The two types of non-associative learning are:

(i) Habituation

Habituation is a type of non-associative learning when one or more aspects of a natural response (such as response likelihood or duration) are reduced with repeated exposure to the stimulus. Thus, extinction, an associative process, must be differentiated from habituation. For instance, a reaction falls into operant extinction because a reward is no longer given in response. Small songbirds are a good illustration of habituation since they initially react as though a stuffed owl or another predator in their cage is a real predator. As they become accustomed, the birds start to respond less. The birds behave as though it is a predators if a different stuffed owl is presented (or the same one is withdrawn and reintroduced), showing that only a very precise stimulus may get accustomed to (namely, one particular unmoving owl in one place). The habituation process occurs more quickly when stimuli occur frequently compared to whether they do so infrequently, as well as when they are mild or powerful. Almost all mammal species, including the delicate plant Mimosa pudica and the huge protozoan Stentor cerulean, have demonstrated signs of habituation. Sensitization is directly opposite to this idea.

(ii) Sensitization

In non-associative learning, sensitization, a response is gradually amplified after the stimulus is administered repeatedly. This is predicated on the idea that a defensive reflex to a stimulus, such as withdrawal or escape, becomes stronger after exposure to new harmful or frightening stimuli. The repetitive tonic stimulus of peripheral nerves when someone constantly rubs their arm is a common illustration of this mechanism. This stimulation eventually results in a warming sensation that could eventually become uncomfortable. The peripheral nerves' synaptic reaction becomes further intensified, causing this agony. This signals to the brain that the stimulus is dangerous. Sensitization is believed to underlie the organism's adaptive and maladaptive learning processes.

2. Active education

People engage in active learning when they take charge of their educational process. Knowing what you comprehend and what you don't is crucial for learning because comprehending information is the main learning component. They can keep an eye on their own subject expertise this way. Active learning allows students to express their understanding verbally in an internal conversation. This and other metacognitive techniques can be gradually taught to a child. Active learning has been deemed valuable by studies in metacognition, which also indicate that learning is typically stronger as a result. Additionally, when students have influence over both the process and content of their education, they are more motivated to study. A crucial aspect of student-centred learning is active learning. On the other hand, teacher-centred learning is characterized by direct instruction and passive learning (or traditional education).

3. Associative learning

The process through which a human or animal learns to associate two stimuli or occurrences is called associative learning. According to classical conditioning, a previously unconditioned stimulus is repeatedly matched with a stimulus that causes a reflex until, finally, the neutral stimulus causes a response on its own. According to operant conditioning, an action that is rewarded or punished when it occurs in the presence of a stimulus changes its likelihood of happening.

Conditioning operations

Operant conditioning involves modifying a behaviour's frequency and/or shape by reinforcing it (via a reward) or punishing it (instead). These behavioural changes are controlled by the stimuli available when the act or consequence happens.

Orthodox conditioning

The usual classical conditioning experiment includes repeatedly matching an unconditioned stimulus (which invariably elicits a reflexive reaction) with another unconditioned stimulus (which does not normally evoke the response). In the aftermath of conditioning, the response happens to the unconditioned stimulus and another unrelated stimulus (now referred to as the "conditioned stimulus"). A conditioned response is a reaction to conditioned stimuli. Ivan Pavlov's dogs are a prime illustration. Pavlov gave his dog meat powder, and the dogs' natural reaction to the meat powder was to salivate, as Pavlov observed. The unconditioned response (UR) is salivation, and the unconditioned stimulus (US) is meat powder. Pavlov presented the meat powder after ringing a bell. When Pavlov originally rang the bell-a neutral stimulus-the dogs did not salivate, but they did so when he placed the meat powder in their mouths. After many bell-and-meal combinations, the dogs eventually realized that the bell meant that food was on the way and started to salivate as soon as they heard it. Once this had happened, the salivation in response to the bell became the reflex reaction (CR), and the bell became the conditioned stimulus (CS). Numerous species have shown evidence of classical conditioning. The proboscis extension reflex paradigm, for instance, demonstrates it in honeybees. Recently, garden pea plants were used as an example of it.

John B. Watson is another significant figure in the field of classical conditioning. Watson's research had a significant impact and helped B.F. Skinner establishes his radical behaviourism. Watson's behaviourism (and scientific philosophy) contrasted sharply with Freud's theories and other accounts that heavily relied on introspection. According to Watson, the introspective approach was too subjective, and studying human growth should be restricted to directly observable activities. Watson made the case that laboratory investigations would best assist psychology as a science in his 1913 article "Psychology as the Behaviourist Views." Watson's most well-known and contentious experiment, "Little Albert," showed how psychologists might explain the acquisition of emotion through the principles of classical conditioning.

4. Observation-based education

Learning that occurs from observing how others behave known as observational learning. It is a type of social learning that manifests differently and is based on different processes. Humans appear to learn this way without needing reinforcement; instead, they need a social model, such as a parent, sibling, friend, or instructor, together with context.


Imprinting is a type of learning that happens quickly and appears to be unaffected by the results of behaviour at a specific life stage. Young animals, especially birds, engage in a process known as filial imprinting in which they associate a different person or, in some circumstances, an object with which they behave similarly to their parents. Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian zoologist, found in 1935 that some birds will follow a sound-producing device and create a link with it.


In general, play is an activity that serves no purpose but enhances efficiency in similar future circumstances. Other than humans, a wide range of species exhibit this; however, it primarily occurs in mammals and birds. Cats are known to practice catching prey when they are young by playing with a ball of string. Animals can play with other creatures, even those of their own species, as well as inanimate items. An example of this is an orca playing with a seal it has trapped. Animals pay a considerable price for playing, including increased susceptibility to predators, risk of injury, and infection. Play must offer substantial advantages for it to have evolved, as it also uses energy. Younger animals frequently engage in play, which may be associated with learning. However, it might also provide advantages unrelated to learning, such as enhancing physical fitness.

A child's growth and development are heavily reliant on the play, which is a form of education for humans. Children develop social skills like sharing and cooperation through play. Through play activities, children learn emotional skills such as how to control the emotion of anger. Play is a sort of learning that also helps kids develop their thinking and linguistic abilities.

Five different styles of play exist:

  1. Functional play, also known as sensory-motor play, is characterized by the repetition of an action.
  2. Roleplaying begins when a child is three years old.
  3. A game with rules and main adherence to authoritatively mandated conduct codes.
  4. Playing with construction entails creating and experimenting.
  5. Physical or movement play.


Enculturation is the process through which people pick up morals and conduct that are proper or required in the culture they are currently living in. The way that a person understands these principles is shaped by their parents, other adults, and peers. Enculturation can lead to competence in a culture's language, beliefs, and rituals if it is successful. This is distinct from acculturation, in which a person adopts the morals and customs of a society other than their own.

Episodic education

A behaviour change brought on by an experience is called episodic learning. An illustration of episodic learning is the fear of dogs that develops after being bitten by one. Since experiences are stored in episodic memory, one of the three types of explicit learning & retrieval (together with perceptual memory & semantic memory), episodic learning is given its name. Unlike semantic memory, which tries to remove facts from their experiential context or, as some have put it, a timeless arrangement of information, episodic memory retains events & history that are rooted in experience. An illustration of episodic memory is when someone recalls a recent trip to the Grand Canyon. He would use his semantic memory to respond to inquiries on things like the location of the Grand Canyon. According to a study, humans are good at recognising episodic memory even when not trying to memorize something. This is thought to show that the brain has a very big storage capacity for information that individuals pay attention to.

Multimedia learning

When learning information, a person may use both aural and visual cues (Mayer 2001). The dual-coding hypothesis is utilised in this kind of learning (Paivio 1971).

E-learning and supplemental learning

Computer-enhanced learning is known as electronic learning or e-learning. Mobile learning, often known as m-learning, is a distinct and constantly spreading form of e-learning that makes use of various mobile telecommunications devices, such as cell phones.

Augmented learning is when a learner engages in an online learning environment. Context-driven training can be dynamically customized to the learner's surroundings by adjusting to each person's needs. Text, photos, video, and audio can all be part of enhanced digital material (music and voice). Learning performance can be improved for a lifetime with augmented learning since it personalizes education. Minimally invasive education is another option.

Learning interactions include learner-learner communication, learner-instructor communication (student-teacher communication), and learner-content interactions (intellectual interactions with content that alter learners' comprehension, perspectives, and cognitive structures). Moore (1993) claimed in his theory of transactional distance that structure and interaction or dialogue fill the gap in comprehension and communication caused by geographic distances (known as transactional distance).

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