Comprehensive Essay for Psychology Students on Learning

Learning pervades our life from cradle to grave. It is the phenomenon with which we come across in almost every walk of our life. It occupies an important place in the field of education.

All educational processes appearing in formal, non-formal and informal contexts aim at development of learning. Learning influences our life at every turn, as parents in family, as the teacher in a school, as a friend in society, as a boss in an office, as a leader in a group.

Learning is not a thing that exists somewhere outside the individual. It is a process or product which results into some potential behaviour and capabilities or an activity which causes some change in the behaviour of an individual.

Learning means the modification of behaviour of an individual. It is said to be equivalent to change, modification, development, .improvement and adjustment. It is not confined to school learning, reading, writing, typing, cycling, cooking but it is a comprehensive term which leaves permanent effect on the individual.

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While approaching a burning match stick the child gets burnt and he withdraws. By this incident he learns to avoid not only the burning matchstick but also all burning things. Learning has been defined in many ways as follows:

According to Walker, “Learning is a relatively permanent change in performance that occurs as a result of experience.”

According to Jones and Simpson, “Any change of behaviour which is result of experience and which causes people to face later situations differently may be called learning.”


Garden Murphy, “The term learning covers every modification in behaviour to meet environmental requirements”.

Woodworth, “Any activity can be called learning so far as it develops the individual (in any respect, good or bad, and makes his behaviour and experiences different from what that would otherwise have been.”

Henry P. Smith. “Learning is the acquisition of new behaviour or the strengthening or weakening of old behaviour as the result of experience.”

Kingsely and Garry “Learning is the process by which behaviour (in the broader sense) is originated or changes through practice or training.”


Pressey, Robinson and Horrocks. “Learning is an episode in which a motivated individual attempts to adapt his behaviour so as to succeed in a situation which he perceives as requiring action to attain a goal.”

Crow and Crow: “Learning is the acquisition of habis, knowledge and attitudes. It involves new ways of doing things, and it operates in an individual’s attempts to overcome obstacles or to adjust to new situations. It represents progressive change in behaviour. It enables him to satisfy interests to attain goals.”

Nature of Learning

1. Learning is the acquisition of new behaviour.

2. Learning is the process by which an activity originates.

3. Learning is the perceptual reorganisation of the situation.

4. Learning is the total reaction of total situation.

5. Learning is goal-directed activity.

6. Learning is universal in nature. Man is rational and he learns the most.

7. Learning is the change in behaviour as a result of experience

All Animals Learn

1. Learning is motivated by adjustment.

2. Learning is a never ending growth. We always aspire to learn more and more.

3. Learning is acquisition, retention and modification of experience.

4. Learning is process and product.

5. Learning is a lifelong process. It starts with birth and comes to an end when the individual dies.

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