The Concept of Learning and Change


Learning is a vital tool for implementing change; as a point of interest, learning is the very element that creates the change in most all living beings. Effective learning is how people grow, develop, or change mentally.

According to the text, Learning and Memory: Basic Principles, Processes, and Procedures (4th ed.), (Terry, 2009), learning is the acquisition of knowledge or encoding of knowledge or behavior. The text also defines learning as relatively permanent changes in behavior, or behavioral repertoire, which occurs as a result of experiences (Terry, 2009). Learning includes a number of styles such as visual, which is learning from seeing, auditory, which is learning from listening, and kinesthetic or tactile, which is learning by touching, doing, or moving.

According to Terry, (2009) as a person learns he, or she will become more competent, more confident, or more committed as a result of his, or her learning. Ultimaely, for many, learning offers the opportunity of not only attaining knowledge but learning also allows a person’s attitude to grow, or develop. Learning is the tool that affords individuals the opportunity and competence to tackle new challenges. According to the text, learning offers the potential for changes in behavior, which can be revealed clearly when conditions incite the display of this newly acquired knowledge (Terry, 2009).

Difference Between Learning and Performance
When distinguishing between learning and performance, it may be important to remember that learning is a knowledge that is recorded in a person’s mind, and that learning fosters what a person can do. Performance, on the other hand, reveals how well a person can do what he, or she has learned. Learning is designed to develop the skills or knowledge that under girds long-lasting understandings (University of Missouri St. Louis, n. d.). Learning usually demonstrates a comprehensiveness of application or knowledge of a skill; performance, on the other hand, assesses long-lasting understandings of a skill (UMSL, n. d.). Ultimately, only those who develop a desired level of understanding will be able to perform successfully.

Comparison and Contrast of Conceptual Approaches to the Study of Learning

Learning has four basic approaches: social learning, non-associative learning, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning, (also known as instrumental learning). Classical conditioning is the method of learning that is the result of learning that certain factors or elements go together. Operant conditioning is yet another type of learning. Most learning is the result of operant conditioning. Behaviors produce events through this method of learning (Kodat, 2002). Simply put, operant conditioning learning can be either a rewarding or negative experience. Non-associative learning, which is the most basic form of learning, is often called single event learning. With this method of learning a person will learn that some occurrences are irrelevant and unrelated. Next is social learning, although more prevalent in animals that may be the most similar to human beings, this type of learning is the result of being in social groups (Kodat, 2002). No matter the learning approach there will most likely be behavioral changes.

Conclusion
As mentioned previously, learning is defined as the experience or act of acquiring skills or knowledge through instructions or studies. Learning has also been defined as a modification of behavioral tendencies through experiences (Kodat, 2002). Learning has even been described as permenant. However, in order for individuals to tackle or demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge there must be a different or new plan of action designed at achieving a desired goal; therefore, a change must occur. Simply put, before changes can be implemented some learning must occur. Meaning that it may be extremely difficult for an individual to try to fulfill a task when he, or she has not learned how to perform the task.

No matter the definition of learning, the overall concept of learning involves assisting people through the learning process. Basically, learning is whatever can be done to make learning happen. When it comes to learning there may be extreme differences in how a person processes the information he, or she is trying to learn (Terry, 2009); thankfully, diverse learning styles do indeed exist. No matter the approach or learning style both learning avenues provide features that cater to various types of learners. Ultimately because of the various approaches and learning styles, students are afforded amazing accomplishments from their learning experiences.

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