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Like Most Concepts Dealing With The Human Mind, Learning Has Been Broken Down Into Different Types And Styles.

839 words - 3 pages

Learning is a complex process that not one scientist or group of other educated individuals has been able to accurately define in a one hundred percent universally accepted way. It is known that learning involves the absorption of new information and change in behavior; however, there are many different approaches to describing how, when, and why this process is carried through. Like most concepts dealing with the human mind, learning has been broken down into different types and styles.While there has not been just one entirely accepted definition of “learning,” several individuals have made attempts at making the process as clear as possible. The American Heritage Dictionary, according to Hergenhahn and Olson, (2005) defines learning as follows: “To gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery through experiences or study.” (p.3) While this definition is straight to the point and simple enough, others have felt the need to expand on the ideas of what is involved in this subject of learning. This is due, in part, to the fact that people have recently accepted the idea that learning involves changes in observable behavior. Kimble gave another definition that describes learning as “A relatively permanent change in behavior potentiality that occurs as a result of reinforced practice.” (p.3) Kowalski and Westen give yet another definition in the text, Psychology, (2005) which claims that learning refers to “any enduring change in the way an organism responds based on its experience.” (p.157) Behavior is often considered the result of learning because so many definitions conclude that the learning process must be able to be seen in observable behavior.Hergenhahn and Olson, (2005) explain that there is a process called conditioning which is the process that leads to change in behavior. It involves two separate types, or branches, each representing a type of learning. These two types are “Classical conditioning,” and “Instrumental conditioning.” Classical conditioning involves some sort of stimulus and has various steps which must be presented in sequence in order for a desired response to be learned. The textbook An Introduction to Theories of Learning by Hergenhahn and Olson (2005) summarizes this process as follows: A stimulus is presented to an organism that causes a natural response. This is called the unconditioned stimulus. The natural response is called the unconditioned response. A neutral stimulus is presented to the organism just before the presentation of the unconditioned stimulus. This neutral stimulus is called the conditioned stimulus. After both stimuli are presented together a number of times with the conditioned stimulus always coming before the unconditioned one, the conditioned stimulus can be presented by itself and will still cause the response. Instrumental...

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