The relative permanent change in behaviour or expected behaviour as a result of direct or indirect experience. Learning is thus a change in behaviour as a result of experience.
10 components of learning are;
- The changed must be ingrained. Temporary changes may be only reflexive and may not represent learning. Therefore the requirement that learning must be relatively permanent in nature.
- Learning involves change. Change may good or bad from an organizational point of view. People can learn unfavorable behaviors to hold prejudices or to restrict their output.
- Some form of experience is necessary for learning. Experience may be acquired directly through observation or practice, or it may be acquired indirectly, as through reading.
- There is no specific time for learning. A person can learn different things in his total lifetime.
- Learning is concerned with behavior. A change in an individual’s thought processes or attitudes, if not accompanied by a change in behavior, would not be learning.
- Learning involves concentration and participation. It usually is quicker and long-lasting when the learner participates actively. As a result of participation, people learn more quickly and retain that learning longer.
- Learning does not occur in a specific place like in a classroom. It is informal and it can be acquired anywhere, at any time.
- Learners benefited more from constructing deep explanations of the material than memorizing the facts. If there is no explanation in learning than the learning will be difficult for learners.
- There are multiple ways to learn things. But the learner should know which one is the best way of learning and select this one.
- It is related to frequent feedback which learners should get from instructors and peers throughout the learning process. Without it, even well-learned abilities will go away. Ewell emphasizes that the feedback will be most effective if it is delivered in an enjoyable setting that involves personal interactions and a considerable level of personal support.
The Components of Learning process are:
- Drive: Learning frequently occurs in the presence of drive – Any strong stimulus that impels action. Drives are basically of two types; primary (or physiological); and secondary (or psychological). These two categories of drives often interact with each other. Individuals operate under many drives at the same time. To predict a behavior, it is necessary to establish which drives are stimulating the most.
- Cue Stimuli: Cue stimuli are those factors that exist in the environment as perceived by the individual. The idea is to discover the conditions under which stimulus will increase the probability of eliciting a specific response. There may be two types of stimuli with respect to their results in terms of response concerned: stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination.
Generalization occurs when a response is elicited by a similar but new stimulus. If two stimuli are exactly alike, they will have the same probability of evoking a specified response. The principle of generalization has important implications for human learning. Because of generalization, a person does not have to completely relearn each of the new tasks. It allows the members to adapt to overall changing conditions and specific new assignments. The individual can borrow from past learning experiences to adjust more smoothly to new learning situations.
Discrimination is a procedure in which an organization learns to emit a response to a stimulus but avoids making the same response to a similar but somewhat different stimulus. Discrimination has wide applications in organizational behavior. For example, a supervisor can discriminate between two equally high producing workers, one with low quality and other with high quality.
- Responses: The stimulus results in responses. Responses may be in the physical form or may be in terms of attitudes, familiarity, perception or other complex phenomena. In the above example, the supervisor discriminates between the worker producing low quality products and the worker producing high quality products, and positively responds only to the quality conscious worker.
- Reinforcement: Reinforcement is a fundamental condition of learning. Without reinforcement, no measurable modification of behavior takes place. Reinforcement may be defined as the environmental event’s affecting the probability of occurrence of responses with which they are associated.
- Retention: The stability of learned behavior over time is defined as retention and its contrary is known as forgetting. Some of the learning is retained over a period of time while others may be forgotten.