Learning and Learning Theories

Learning and Learning Theories

Topics covered:

i. Meaning of Learning

ii. Definitions of Learning

iii. Nature of Learning

iv. Characteristics of Learning

v. Difference between Learning and Maturation

vi. Elements/Components of Learning Process

vii. Advantages of Learning

viii. Factors affecting Learning

ix. Learning Theories

learning and learning theories

Meaning of Learning

Learning is defined as permanent change in behavior as a result of experience. Learning means acquisition of knowledge, skills, expertise etc. It is the process of acquiring insight into a situation so that they can be recalled. The changes in behavior confirm that learning has taken place.

Definitions of Learning

1. According to E.R. Hilgard
Learning may be defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of prior experience .

2. According to Udai Pareek
Learning is the process of acquiring, assimilating and internalizing cognitive, motor or behavioural inputs for their effective and varied use when required and learding to enhanced capability of further self-monitored learning.

3. According to N.L. Munn
Generally learning is described as the process of having one’s behaviour modified, more or less permanently, but what he does and the consequences of his action or by what he observes.

4. According to the Dictionary of Psychology
The process of acquiring the ability to respond adequately to a situation which may or may not have been previously encountered, the favourable modification of response tendencies consequent upon previous experience, particularly the building of a new series of complexly co-ordinated motor responses, the fixation of items in memory so that they can be recalled or organized, the process of acquiring insight into a situation .

5. According to Stephen P. Robbins
Learning is any relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of experience.

6. According to Richard M. Steers and Lyman W. Porter
Learning can be defined as relatively permanent change in behaviour potentially the results from reinforced practice or experience.

7. According to Sanford
Learning is a relatively enduring change in behaviour brought about as a consequences of experience.

8. According to Mitchell
Learning is the process by which new behaviours are acquired. It is generally agreed that learning involves changes in behaviour practising new behaviours and establishing permanency in the change.


1. Learning involves a change in behaviour, though this change is not necessarily an improvement over previous behaviour. Learning generally has the connotation of improved behaviour, but bad habits, prejudices, stereotypes, and work restrictions are also learned.
2. The behavioural change must be relatively permanent. Any temporary change in behaviour due to fatigue or any reason is not a part of learning.
3. The behavioural change must be based on some form of practice or experience. Thus, any behavioural change because of physical maturation is not learning. For instance, the ability to work which is based on physical maturation would not be considered learning.
4. The practice or experience must be reinforced in order for learning to occur. If reinforcement does not accompany the practice or experience, the behavior will disappear.

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