Learning and Learning Theories- Definitions, Features, Nature and Theories

Posted on Nov 27 2020 - 5:22pm by admin

Learning and Learning Theories

Definitions, Nature, Features, Components, Factors and Theories of Learning




In simple words, learning is a change in behavior as a result of experience. It is the change in behaviour due to practice, training and experience, It is a continuous process and occurs all the time. The changes in behavior confirms that learning has taken place.

Different psychologists and behavioural scientists have defined learning differently. Given below are a few important definitions of learning.

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

According to Munn et. al
The process of having one’s behavior modified, more or less permanently, by what he does and the consequences of his action, or by what he observes.

According to Steers and Porter
Learning can be defined as relatively permanent change in behavior potentially that results from reinforced practice or experience.

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

According to Stanford
Learning is a relatively enduring change in behavior brought about as a consequence of experience.

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

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

Nature of Learning

1. Learning involves change, be it good or bad.
2. The change in behavior must be relatively permanent. For that mater, a temporary change in behavior as a result of fatigue or temporary adaptations are not considered learning.
3. Only change in behavior acquired through experience is considered learning. Thus, any behavioural change because of physical maturation is not learning.
4. The practice or experience must be reinforced in order for learning to occur.


1. Learning is an important psychological process that determines individual behaviour.
2. It is the result of past experience or practice. Past experience may be in the form of study, experience, or practice.
3. Learning brings changes in the existing pattern of behaviour. It leads to improvement or deterioration in behaviour. Bad habits prejudice, hostility, etc., can also be learned.
4. It is a conscious and deliberate (not automatic) process.
5. It needs reinforcement (any aspect that can strengthen learned things). If learned skills, knowledge, etc., are not reinforced, learned aspects tend to extinguish.
6. Behavioural change resulting from learning is relatively permanent. A temporary change due to any other reasons cannot be called learning.
7. Behavioural change must be based on expertise plus practice. Behavioural change due to physical maturation is not learning.
8. Learning is an input to perception, personality, motivation and attitudes.

Difference between Learning and Maturation



Behavioural changes due to maturation are natural. For learning a person has to make efforts.
Changes in behavior due to maturation are racial. In case of learning the changes are only in the person who cares.
Practice is not necessary in the case of maturation. Practice of behavioural change is necessary in learning.
Generally, maturation takes place upto the age of 25 years. A person can go on learning throughout the life.
Maturation takes place irrespective of the conditions, favourable or unfavourable. Learning is possible only in the favourable conditions.
Since maturity is a natural process, it does not require motivation to change behavior. Learning is cognitive process which affected by motivation in some form.

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