Learning As Humans Survival Adaptation

Seminar Paper, 2018

12 Pages, Grade: 1





Types of Learning

Learning Theories

Stimulus-Response Theory with Reinforcement

Trial and Error Theory by E.L Thorndike

Operant conditioning by BF Skinner

Stimulus-Response Theory without Reinforcement

Classical Conditioning by Pavlov

Factors Affecting Learning

Maturation as a Learning Factor

Attention and Perception

Motivation Factor of Learning




Psychology of learning consists of two concepts: education and psychology. Educational psychology, therefore, is the application of pure science in education with the purpose of modifying and socializing the behavior of an individual. According to Mintz (2013), educational psychology is a description and explanation of the learning experience of a person from their birth to old age. It is that psychology branch dealing with learning and teaching. Krishna (2004) states that, the meaning of educational has been defined differently, but the notable definitions are by Stephen who defines educational psychology as the “systematic study of the educational growth and development of a child” (p. 22). On the other hand, Judd (2009) describes educational psychology as “the science that explains the changes that take place in the individuals as they pass through the various stages of development” (p. 11). In short, this is the science of learning.

This psychological branch is among the applied psychology branches, which is concerned with applying techniques, principles, and other psychological resources to the solutions of the confronted problems by the teacher who is trying to direct the children’s growth towards a set of defined objectives. More distinctively, we can say that this psychology attempts to understand:

- Children, their development, needs and potentials
- The learning situation, which includes group dynamics and their effect on learning
- The learning process, nature and means of ensuring that it is effective

Learning psychology covers five major areas: the learner, learning process, learning situation, teaching situation, evaluation of learning performance, and the teacher. Psychology of learning has important methods of studying it, which are essentially general psychology methods. The methods used to study psychology of learning include the introspection method, observation method and experimental method (Tyagi, 2011).


In psychology, learning is a process leading to a relatively permanent change in the potential behavior due to experience or practice. It is also the process of attaining modifications in the existing skills, knowledge, tendencies, and habits through practice, exercise or experience. Learning emphasizes four attributes, which are:

- As a process, learning brings about a lasting behavior change.
- Learning does not also change due to fatigue, illness, use of intoxicants, and maturation.
- Learning manifests in individual activities, therefore, it is cannot be directly observed.
- Learning is dependent of experience and practice.

Learning has definite characteristics. Mc Law (2013) identifies the following characteristics:

i. Learning happens throughout the life since it is a constant behavior modification.
ii. Learning reaches the human life in all aspects. Therefore, it is described to be pervasive.
iii. Learning is an engagement of the whole person, emotionally, socially, and intellectually.
iv. Time is among the elements of learning. It is a developmental process.
v. Learning often results to a behavior change.
vi. Learning is receptive to incentives. Usually, positive incentives, for example, rewards are motivational and effective to learning as compared to negative incentives like punishment.
vii. Learning and interest are positively related. An individual will be interested to learn the things he is attracted and interested. This is especially among sports such as most footballers are likely to learn playing football rather than adding fractions.
viii. Goals are of utmost concern in learning. The goals are articulated as observable behavior.
ix. Learning is dependent on motivation and maturation.

Types of Learning

Learning can be described in many ways. It can be formal, informal, and non-formal. Formal learning is organized and intentional. This form of learning occurs in a formal educational institution. Non-formal education is also organized and intentional. However, it is flexible as compared to formal learning. Informal is very different because it is incidental. This form of learning occurs throughout an individual’s life and it is never planned. Learning can also be classified as individual or group learning. It can be referred in these two dimensions depending upon the number of persons that are involved in the learning process (Mintz, 2013).

The other classification is dependent on the activity that is involved in learning. This classification includes motor learning where learning is specifically in the use of muscles such as walking and discrimination learning, which entails the discrimination act such as discrimination by an infant of milk and water. It also involves verbal learning where use of words is involved in learning; concept learning when concept formation is involved in learning; sensory learning, which entails the use of sense and perception for learning (Kirk, Macdonald & O’Sullivan, 2006).

Learning Theories

Learning is a process focusing on the happenings of learning to take place. These explanations of the happening are the learning theories. The learning theories, therefore, attempt to give a description of the process of learning in either animals or people, which is important in helping in understanding the intrinsic complex learning process. The theories according to Mintz (2013) have two identifiable values. They help in providing a conceptual framework and vocabulary used to interpret the learning examples observed and besides this, they are important in suggesting the places to look for solutions to learning practical problems.

Learning theories fall under three main philosophical frameworks, which are cognitive, behavioral and constructivism. Behaviorism focuses on the learning aspects that are objectively observable. Cognitive theories explain the brain-based learning. Additionally, constructivism examines learning as a process by which ideas and concepts are actively constructed by the learner (Dean & Jolly, 2012).

Cognitive theories cite that different learners have distinct styles leading to learning influence. It is believed that the most crucial thing is that the student has a promotion and prevention focus. When a student has a prevention focus, the negative outcomes are sensitive, the student seeks to avoid errors, and security concerns are the student’s drive. Promotion focus is more of the positive outcomes by the student. Once there is a fit in these two elements, learning is enhanced (Mintz, 2013).

Behavioral theories are discussed in two categories: the Stimulus Response (S-R) theory with reinforcement and Stimulus-Response theory with reinforcement.

Stimulus-Response Theory with Reinforcement

Trial and Error Theory by E.L Thorndike

The first psychologist to forward this theory was Edward Lee Thorndike. According to Lee, learning occurs because of the stimulus and response bond. Further, he identifies that learning occurs through an approximation and correction process. An individual makes different trials with some unsatisfactory responses but the individual makes more trials until the satisfactory responses are achieved (Law, 2013).


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Learning As Humans Survival Adaptation
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learning, humans, survival, adaptation
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Patrick Kimuyu (Author), 2018, Learning As Humans Survival Adaptation, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/431375


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