Yoakman and Simpson have enumerated nine general characteristic of learning which we discuss below:
1. Learning is Growth
The word growth is generally associated with the body which is growing, but through the mental growth of the learner. Although it is latent yet we can perceive its growth. Through his daily activities the child grows both mentally and physically. Therefore, we say that learning is growth through experience.
2. Learning is Adjustment
Learning helps the individual to adjust himself adequately to the new situations. Children meet with new situations which demand solution. Repeated efforts are required to react to them effectively. Life is full of experiences, and each experience leaves behind some effects in the mental structure. These effects modify his behaviour.
3. Learning is Organising Experience
Learning is not mere addition of knowledge. It is not mere acquisition of facts and skills through drill and repetition. It is the reorganisation of experience.
4. Learning is Intelligent
Meaningless efforts do not produce permanent result. Any work done mechanically is without any soul. When a child learns something unintelligently, he is likely to forget it Very soon. He does not assimilate but simply commits to memory. Only efforts made intelligently have lasting effects.
5. Learning is Purposeful
All true learning is based on purpose. Purpose plays a big part in learning. According to Ryburn, "This purpose is always connected with the use of some instinctive power, with the use of the energy with which we are endowed with birth."
We do not learn anything and everything that comes in our way, in a haphazard manner. All schools activities should be purposeful so that the child should feel real urge for learning.
6. Learning is Active
Learning does not take place without a purpose and self-activity. In the teaching-learning process, the activity of the learner counts more than the activity of the teacher. The principle of learning by doing is the sole principle and has been recommended by all modern educationists. It is the basis of all progressive methods of education such as the Dal ton, the Project, the Montessory and the Basic.
7. True Learning Affects the Conduct of the Learner
There is a change in the mental structure of the learner after every experience. By Colvin learning has been described as the "modification of the reactions of an organism through experience."
8. Learning is both individual and social
Learning is more than an individual activity. It is a social activity also. Individual mind is affected by the group mind consciously as well as unconsciously as individual is influenced by his friends, relatives, classmates, parents etc., and learns their ideas, feelings and actions. Social agencies like the family, church, and gangs of playmates have a tremendous influence on the child and are always moulding and remolding him.
8. Learning is a Product of the Environment
Environment plays an important part in the growth and development of the individual. Environment should be healthy and rich in educative possibilities.