What is learning? What are its distinguishing features?
Learning can be defined as any relatively permanent change in behaviour or behavioural potential produced by experience. Changes that occur due to practice and experience, and are relatively permanent, are a component of learning. Its distinguishing features are:
(i) Learning always involves some kind of experience. For instance, a child gets lost at a place on leaving the hands of the parents, would learn not to leave the hand of elders the next time.
(ii) Behavioural changes that occur due to learning are relatively permanent and are different from temporary behavioural changes caused by habituation, drugs or fatigue. For example, feeling tired after studying is a temporary change and does not involve learning.
(iii) Learning is an inferred process that involves a series of psychological events. It is also different from a performance.
How does classical conditioning demonstrate learning by association?
Classical conditioning demonstrates learning by association as one stimulus signifies the possibility of the occurrence of another stimulus. Unconditioned stimulus and response are gradually conditioned. For example, in the experiment conducted by Ivan P. Pavlov on the dog, a bell was rung after which food was served to the dog. After some days, no food was served after the ringing of bell, but the dog still salivated to the sound of it and thus, associated the bell with the food. The association resulted in the
acquisition of the new response by the dog, i.e. salivation to the sound of bell. In this case, the bell was a conditioned stimulus and saliva secretion was a conditioned response.
Therefore, in classical conditioning, one stimulus signifies the possible occurrence of another stimulus.
Define operant conditioning. Discuss the factors that influence the course of operant conditioning.
Operant conditioning refers to the conditioning of behaviours and responses that are under the control of animals and human beings and are emitted voluntarily by them. The behaviour is learned, maintained or changed through its consequences called reinforcers. These refer to a stimulus or event that increases the probability of the occurrence of the response. The factors that influence the course of operant conditioning are as follows:
A good role model is very important for a growing up child. Discuss the kind of learning that supports it.
A good role model is very important for a growing up child as children learn social behaviour and acquire personality characteristics by observing and emulating adults. It is a form of learning that takes place by observing others. Hence it is called modeling which is a form of observational learning. The observers acquire knowledge by observing the model. Similarly, children learn various personality characteristics through observational learning. For instance, traits like aggressiveness, pro-social behaviour, courtesy,
politeness, diligence and indolence are acquired through observational learning.
A negative role model would lead to the development of negative personality while a positive role model would lead to the development of good personality of the child.
Explain the procedures for studying verbal learning.
The following are the procedures for studying verbal learning:
(i) Paired Associates Learning
(ii) Serial Learning
(iii) Free Recall
How can you distinguish between generalisation and discrimination?
The distinguishing features between generalisation and discrimination are as follows:
Generalisation refers to the phenomenon of responding similarly to similar stimuli. It represents the occurrence or elicitation of learned response by a new stimulus. For instance, in the absence of mother, a child is able to find the jar of chocolates. Furthermore, generalisation occurs due to failure of discrimination.
Discrimination on the other hand is a response caused by difference in stimuli. Discriminative response depends on the discrimination capacity of the organism. For example, a child who is scared of all men with moustache may not be scared of cleanshaved men.
How does transfer of learning takes place?
Transfer of learning refers to the effects of prior learning on new learning. It is considered to be positive when the earlier learning facilitates current learning. On the other hand, it is considered to be negative if the new learning is retarded. It takes place through general transfer and specific transfer.
Why is motivation a prerequisite for learning?
Motivation is a prerequisite for learning because it energises the organism to act vigorously in order to attain some goal. It provides a purpose to actions that continue till the goal is attained and the need is satisfied. It also provides impetus to the need for survival and growth that is essential for learning. Thus, an organism works harder when the motivation is high. For example, a student studies in order to achieve a good result. This is because the student is motivated towards a good result for which s/he learns to
achieve a specific goal.
What does the notion of 'preparedness for learning' mean?
The notion of 'preparedness for learning' means that an organism can learn only those associations that it is genetically prepared to acquire. It implies the biological constraints upon learning due to sensory capacities and response abilities. This is because the kinds of S-S or S-R learning an organism can acquire, depends upon the associative mechanism it is genetically endowed with. The dimension of preparedness consists of learning tasks that are easy for members of particular species to those tasks that they are unsuited to learn. Therefore, while on one hand preparedness for learning is a dimension where the members are prepared to learn tasks, on the other hand members are not prepared for the learning task. In the middle lie those learning tasks whereby people are neither prepared, nor unprepared.
Explain the different forms of cognitive learning?
The different forms of cognitive learning are:
(i) Insight Learning
(ii) Latent Learning
How can we identify students with learning disabilities?
The students with learning disability have some common symptoms through which they can be identified. These are as follows:
(i) They have difficulty in reading and writing letters, words, phrases and speaking. They suffer from hearing problems without any auditory
(ii) They have disorders of attention and get distracted easily leading to hyperactivity.
(iii) They have poor space orientation and inadequate sense of time. They also have difficulty in getting oriented to new surroundings and
feel lost. They get confused in following directions and misjudge right, left, up and down.
(iv) These children have poor motor coordination and manual dexterity.
(v) They are unable to understand and follow oral directions.
(vi) They misjudge relationships as to the classmates who are friendly and the ones who are not and are unable to comprehend various
(vii) They show perceptual disorders which includes visual, auditory, tactual and kinesthetic misperception.
(viii) Many learning disabled children suffer from dyslexia and fail to copy letters and words and do not learn to organise verbal materials.