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Process of Learning Essay

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Learning is an invisible process in which the behaviour is modified in order to attain certain goals. It is a process in which an individual acquires and develops knowledge, understanding, skills, interests and attitude that are necessary to meet life’s situations. This paper briefly analyzes the process of learning. Introduction “Learning is the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his ‘cruiser’” (Mark K.


Learning can be considered as a product and also a process. It is the end product of the various experiences we come across in our life. At the same time it is a continuous never ending process as well. Even from the birth day itself the learning process starts. Learning and Behaviour Learning is observable through the behaviours of a person. An observable change in behaviour can be witnessed after a person learned something.

For example, we know that small kids do not know much about the dangers of fire and they will be usually attracted towards fire.

But once if they happened to come in contact with fire, they will experience the burning effect of fire and will never play with fire again. In this case we can say that the child learned to behave properly with fire and we can observe Process of Learning 3 the changes in behaviour of the child before and after experience with fire. So we can conclude that learning is characterised by change in behaviour. Behaviorism, as a learning theory, can be traced back to Aristotle, whose essay “Memory” focused on associations being made between events such as lightning and thunder.

The theory of behaviorism concentrates on the study of overt behaviors that can be observed and measured (Good & Brophy, 1990). It views the mind as a “black box” in the sense that response to stimulus can be observed quantitatively, totally ignoring the possibility of thought processes occurring in the mind. Some key players in the development of the behaviorist theory were Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike and Skinner. (Brenda Mergel) (James Atherton) Process of Learning 4 Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was the first to conduct experiments to study how learning and behaviour are connected.

The experiment was performed on a dog. He started to give food to his dog after ringing a buzzer. The experiment was repeated for 7 days and after 7 days he started to ring the buzzer alone and did not give any food to the dog. Still he found that the dog secreted saliva in the same measure as before. “Because a bell consistently rang before food appeared, Pavlov’s dog learned to salivate at the mere ringing of the bell; this is a conditioned response. ” (Michael g. Maxwell) So it is clear that our learning and behaviours are interconnected. Learning and Thinking

“Learning implies the acquisition of knowledge from experience, while thinking involves the conscious processing and use of knowledge. ” (Michael g. Maxwell) Learning has definite connection with thinking as well. Nobody can say that he has learned something without thinking. For example, we know that lightning and thunder, both occurs at the same time. But we have seen the lights of lightning first before hearing the thunder sound. Though we have learned that both lightning and thunder occurred at the same time, in order to explain the delay of thunder in reaching us, we must think in terms of the velocity of sound and velocity of light.

Only after we thought about the velocity differences, we can say that we have learned thunder and lightning properly. So learning definitely leads to thinking which may lead to the modification of behaviours Process of Learning 5 Behaviour and Thinking in terms of learning Learning leads to thinking. Thinking leads us to arrive at conclusions which will force us to change our behaviours. So in that sense both thinking and behaviour are interlinked with each other. Without thinking, no behavioural changes can happen. Same way without learning, no thinking can take place. For example, everybody knows that smoking is injurious to health.

If a smoker, happens to meet a person who is suffering from cancer because of his smoking habit, may think about the consequences of his smoking habits and hence times he may change his smoking behaviour. Thus we can conclude that both the learning theories with respect to thinking and behaviour are connected to each other. Conclusion Learning is a complex process which stimulates thinking which will be resulted in the modification of behaviours. Learning is a continuous process which starts from birth and ends at death. It can be considered as a process and a product.

Process of Learning 6 References 1. Mark K. Smith (1999, 2003), learning theory, Retrieved on February 8, 2009 http://www. infed. org/biblio/b-learn. htm 2. Brenda Mergel, Instructional Design & Learning Theory, Retrieved on February 8, 2009, http://www. usask. ca/education/coursework/802papers/mergel/brenda. htm 3. Michael g. Maxwell, Learning and thinking: what science tells us about teaching Retrieved on February 8, 2009, http://www. studentsfriend. com/onhist/learning. html 4. James Atherton, Behaviourism, Retrieved on February 8, 2009, http://www. learningandteaching. info/learning/behaviour. htm

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