Learning

Learning

Overview
Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

, behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

s, skill
Skill
A skill is the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills...

s, value
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

s, or preference
Preference
-Definitions in different disciplines:The term “preferences” is used in a variety of related, but not identical, ways in the scientific literature. This makes it necessary to make explicit the sense in which the term is used in different social sciences....

s and may involve synthesizing different types of information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines
Machine learning
Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, is a scientific discipline concerned with the design and development of algorithms that allow computers to evolve behaviors based on empirical data, such as from sensor data or databases...

. Progress over time tends to follow learning curve
Learning curve
A learning curve is a graphical representation of the changing rate of learning for a given activity or tool. Typically, the increase in retention of information is sharpest after the initial attempts, and then gradually evens out, meaning that less and less new information is retained after each...

s.

Human learning may occur as part of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, personal development
Personal development
Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitates employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations...

, school or training
Training
The term training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at institutes of...

. It may be goal-oriented
Goal-oriented
The concept of goal orientation was developed to describe variability in dispositional or situational goal preferences that an individual implicitly sets for him/herself in achievement situations. GOs assist in providing a motivational framework for how individuals perceive, interpret, and judge...

 and may be aided by motivation
Motivation
Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...

. The study of how learning occurs is part of neuropsychology
Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and behaviors. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied to efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in...

, educational psychology
Educational psychology
Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students learn and develop, often focusing...

, learning theory
Learning theory (education)
In psychology and education, learning is commonly defined as a process that brings together cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences and experiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changes in one's knowledge, skills, values, and world views . Learning as a process focuses on what...

, and pedagogy
Pedagogy
Pedagogy is the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction....

.
Learning may occur as a result of habituation
Habituation
Habituation can be defined as a process or as a procedure. As a process it is defined as a decrease in an elicited behavior resulting from the repeated presentation of an eliciting stimulus...

 or classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

, seen in many animal species, or as a result of more complex activities such as play
Play (activity)
Play is a term employed in ethology and psychology to describe to a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment...

, seen only in relatively intelligent animals.
Discussion
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Quotations

"A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did?' Don't do that.'" ~Douglas Adams

"A man spends the first year of his life learning that he ends at his own skin, and the rest of his life learning that he doesn't" ~Saul Gorn

"A samurai once asked Zen Master Hakuin where he would go after he died. Hakuin answered 'How am I supposed to know?' :'How do you know? You're a Zen master!' exclaimed the samurai. :'Yes, but not a dead one,' Hakuin answered." ~Zen mondo

"At the moment you are most in awe of all there is about life that you don't understand, you are closer to understanding it than at any other time." ~Jane Wagner

"Education that consists in learning things and not the meaning of them is feeding upon the husks and not the corn." ~Mark Twain

"Enlightenment is intimacy with all things." ~Jack Kornfield

"First, master your instrument. Then forget all that $&%& and play!" ~Charlie Parker

"For every person who wants to teach there are approximately thirty who don't want to learn - much." ~W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman

"I am still learning." ~Michelangelo's motto

Encyclopedia
Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

, behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

s, skill
Skill
A skill is the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills...

s, value
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

s, or preference
Preference
-Definitions in different disciplines:The term “preferences” is used in a variety of related, but not identical, ways in the scientific literature. This makes it necessary to make explicit the sense in which the term is used in different social sciences....

s and may involve synthesizing different types of information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines
Machine learning
Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, is a scientific discipline concerned with the design and development of algorithms that allow computers to evolve behaviors based on empirical data, such as from sensor data or databases...

. Progress over time tends to follow learning curve
Learning curve
A learning curve is a graphical representation of the changing rate of learning for a given activity or tool. Typically, the increase in retention of information is sharpest after the initial attempts, and then gradually evens out, meaning that less and less new information is retained after each...

s.

Human learning may occur as part of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, personal development
Personal development
Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitates employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations...

, school or training
Training
The term training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at institutes of...

. It may be goal-oriented
Goal-oriented
The concept of goal orientation was developed to describe variability in dispositional or situational goal preferences that an individual implicitly sets for him/herself in achievement situations. GOs assist in providing a motivational framework for how individuals perceive, interpret, and judge...

 and may be aided by motivation
Motivation
Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...

. The study of how learning occurs is part of neuropsychology
Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and behaviors. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied to efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in...

, educational psychology
Educational psychology
Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students learn and develop, often focusing...

, learning theory
Learning theory (education)
In psychology and education, learning is commonly defined as a process that brings together cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences and experiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changes in one's knowledge, skills, values, and world views . Learning as a process focuses on what...

, and pedagogy
Pedagogy
Pedagogy is the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction....

.
Learning may occur as a result of habituation
Habituation
Habituation can be defined as a process or as a procedure. As a process it is defined as a decrease in an elicited behavior resulting from the repeated presentation of an eliciting stimulus...

 or classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

, seen in many animal species, or as a result of more complex activities such as play
Play (activity)
Play is a term employed in ethology and psychology to describe to a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment...

, seen only in relatively intelligent animals. Learning may occur consciously or without conscious awareness. There is evidence for human behavioral learning prenatally, in which habituation
Habituation
Habituation can be defined as a process or as a procedure. As a process it is defined as a decrease in an elicited behavior resulting from the repeated presentation of an eliciting stimulus...

 has been observed as early as 32 weeks into gestation
Gestation
Gestation is the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside a female viviparous animal. Mammals during pregnancy can have one or more gestations at the same time ....

, indicating that the central nervous system
Central nervous system
The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterian animals—that is, all multicellular animals except sponges and radially symmetric animals such as jellyfish...

 is sufficiently developed and primed for learning and memory to occur very early on in development
Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology, also known as human development, is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to...

.

Play has been approached by several theorists as the first form of learning. Children play, experiment with the world, learn the rules, and learn to interact. Vygotsky agrees that play is pivotal for children's development, since they make meaning of their environment through play.

Habituation



In psychology, habituation is an example of non-associative learning in which there is a progressive diminution of behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

al response probability with repetition stimulus
Stimulation
Stimulation is the action of various agents on nerves, muscles, or a sensory end organ, by which activity is evoked; especially, the nervous impulse produced by various agents on nerves, or a sensory end organ, by which the part connected with the nerve is thrown into a state of activity.The word...

. An animal first responds to a stimulus, but if it is neither rewarding nor harmful the animal reduces subsequent responses. One example of this can be seen in small song birds—if a stuffed owl
Owl
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions . Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish...

 (or similar predator) is put into the cage, the birds initially react to it as though it were a real predator. Soon the birds react less, showing habituation. If another stuffed owl is introduced (or the same one removed and re-introduced), the birds react to it again as though it were a predator, demonstrating that it is only a very specific stimulus that is habituated to (namely, one particular unmoving owl in one place). Habituation has been shown in essentially every species of animal, including the large protozoan Stentor coeruleus
Stentor Coeruleus
Stentor coeruleus is a protist of the Stentor genus. It belongs to the Stentoridae family which is characterized by being a very large ciliate that measures 0.5 to 2 millimetres when fully extended....

.

Sensitization



Sensitization is an example of non-associative learning in which the progressive amplification of a response follows repeated administrations of a stimulus
Stimulation
Stimulation is the action of various agents on nerves, muscles, or a sensory end organ, by which activity is evoked; especially, the nervous impulse produced by various agents on nerves, or a sensory end organ, by which the part connected with the nerve is thrown into a state of activity.The word...

 (Bell et al., 1995). An everyday example of this mechanism is the repeated tonic stimulation of peripheral nerves that will occur if a person rubs his arm continuously. After a while, this stimulation will create a warm sensation that will eventually turn painful. The pain is the result of the progressively amplified synaptic response of the peripheral nerves warning the person that the stimulation is harmful. Sensitization is thought to underlie both adaptive as well as maladaptive learning processes in the organism.

Associative learning


Associative learning is the process by which an element is taught through association with a separate, pre-occurring element. It is also referred to as classical conditioning. Honeybees display associative learning through the proboscis extension reflex
Proboscis extension reflex
Proboscis extension reflex is when a bee extends her proboscis as a reflex to antennal stimulation. It is evoked when a sugar solution is touched to a bee's antenna.- Use of PER :...

 paradigm.

Operant conditioning
Operant conditioning
Operant conditioning is a form of psychological learning during which an individual modifies the occurrence and form of its own behavior due to the association of the behavior with a stimulus...

 is the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior. Operant conditioning is distinguished from Pavlovian conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

 in that operant conditioning uses reinforcement/punishment to alter an action-outcome association. In contrast Pavlovian conditioning involves strengthening of the stimulus-outcome association.

Behaviorism is a psychological movement that seeks to alter behavior by arranging the environment to elicit successful changes and to arrange consequences to maintain or diminish a behavior. Behaviorists study behaviors that can be measured and changed by the environment. However, they do not deny that there are thought processes that interact with those behaviors (see Relational Frame Theory
Relational frame theory
Relational frame theory, or RFT, is a psychological theory of human language and cognition. It was developed largely through the efforts of Steven C...

 for more information).

Delayed discounting is the process of devaluing rewards based on the delay of time they are presented. This process is thought to be tied to impulsivity. Impulsivity is a core process for many behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, problematic gambling, OCD). Making decisions is an important part of everyday functioning. How we make those decisions is based on what we perceive to be the most valuable or worthwhile actions. This is determined by what we find to be the most reinforcing stimuli. So when teaching an individual a response, you need to find the most potent reinforcer for that person. This may be a larger reinforcer at a later time or a smaller immediate reinforcer.

Classical conditioning



The typical paradigm for classical conditioning involves repeatedly pairing an unconditioned stimulus (which unfailingly evokes a reflexive response) with another previously neutral stimulus (which does not normally evoke the response). Following conditioning, the response occurs both to the unconditioned stimulus and to the other, unrelated stimulus (now referred to as the "conditioned stimulus"). The response to the conditioned stimulus is termed a conditioned response. The classic example is Pavlov and his dogs. Meat powder naturally will make a dog salivate when it is put into a dog's mouth; salivating is a reflexive response to the meat powder. Meat powder is the unconditioned stimulus (US) and the salivation is the unconditioned response (UR). Then Pavlov rang a bell before presenting the meat powder. The first time Pavlov rang the bell, the neutral stimulus, the dogs did not salivate, but once he put the meat powder in their mouths they began to salivate. After numerous pairings of the bell and the food the dogs learned that the bell was a signal that the food was about to come and began to salivate when the bell was rung. Once this occurred, the bell became the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the salivation to the bell became the conditioned response (CR).

Another influential person in the world of Classical Conditioning is John B. Watson
John B. Watson
John Broadus Watson was an American psychologist who established the psychological school of behaviorism. Watson promoted a change in psychology through his address Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it which was given at Columbia University in 1913...

. Watson's work was very influential and paved the way for B. F. Skinner's radical behaviorism. Watson's behaviorism (and philosophy of science) stood in direct contrast to Freud. Watson's view was that Freud's introspective method was too subjective, and that we should limit the study of human development to directly observable behaviors. In 1913, Watson published the article "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views," in which he argued that laboratory studies should serve psychology best as a science. Watson's most famous, and controversial, experiment, "Little Albert," where he demonstrated how psychologists can account for the learning of emotion through classical conditioning principles.

Imprinting



Imprinting is the term used in psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 and ethology
Ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

 to describe any kind of phase-sensitive learning (learning occurring at a particular age or a particular life stage) that is rapid and apparently independent of the consequences of behavior. It was first used to describe situations in which an animal or person learns the characteristics of some stimulus, which is therefore said to be "imprinted" onto the subject.

Observational learning



The learning process most characteristic of humans is imitation; one's personal repetition of an observed
Observation
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

 behavior, such as a dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

. Humans can copy three types of information simultaneously: the demonstrator's goals, actions, and environmental outcomes (results, see Emulation (observational learning)
Emulation (observational learning)
-General:In emulation learning, subjects learn about parts of their environment and use this to achieve their own goals. First coined by child psychologist David Wood , in 1990 “emulation” was taken up by Michael Tomasello to explain the findings of an earlier study on ape social learning...

). Through copying these types of information, (most) infants will tune into their surrounding culture.

Play



Play generally describes behavior which has no particular end in itself, but improves performance in similar situations in the future. This is seen in a wide variety of vertebrates besides humans, but is mostly limited to mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s and bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s. Cats are known to play with a ball of string when young, which gives them experience with catching prey. Besides inanimate objects, animals may play with other members of their own species or other animals, such as orca
Orca
The killer whale , commonly referred to as the orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas...

s playing with seals they have caught. Play involves a significant cost to animals, such as increased vulnerability to predators and the risk of injury
Injury
-By cause:*Traumatic injury, a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident*Other injuries from external physical causes, such as radiation injury, burn injury or frostbite*Injury from infection...

 and possibly infection
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

. It also consumes energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

, so there must be significant benefits associated with play for it to have evolved. Play is generally seen in younger animals, suggesting a link with learning. However, it may also have other benefits not associated directly with learning, for example improving physical fitness
Physical fitness
Physical fitness comprises two related concepts: general fitness , and specific fitness...

.

Enculturation


Enculturation
Enculturation
Enculturation is the process by which a person learns the requirements of the culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviours that are appropriate or necessary in that culture. As part of this process, the influences which limit, direct, or shape the individual include...

 is the process by which a person learns the requirements of their native culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviors that are appropriate or necessary in that culture. The influences which as part of this process limit, direct or shape the individual, whether deliberately or not, include parents, other adults, and peers. If successful, enculturation results in competence in the language, values and rituals of the culture. (compare acculturation
Acculturation
Acculturation explains the process of cultural and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures. The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both interacting cultures. At the group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, customs, and...

, where a person is within a culture different to their normal culture, and learns the requirements of this different culture).

Episodic learning


Episodic learning is a change in behavior that occurs as a result of an event. For example, a fear of dogs that follows being bitten by a dog is episodic learning. Episodic learning is so named because events are recorded into episodic memory
Episodic memory
Episodic memory is the memory of autobiographical events that can be explicitly stated. Semantic and episodic memory together make up the category of declarative memory, which is one of the two major divisions in memory...

, which is one of the three forms of explicit learning and retrieval, along with perceptual memory and semantic memory
Semantic memory
Semantic memory refers to the memory of meanings, understandings, and other concept-based knowledge unrelated to specific experiences. The conscious recollection of factual information and general knowledge about the world is generally thought to be independent of context and personal relevance...

.

Multimedia learning


Multimedia learning
Multimedia learning
Multimedia learning is the common name used to describe the cognitive theory of multimedia learning This theory encompasses several principles of learning with multimedia.-The Modality principle:...

 is where a person uses both auditory and visual stimuli to learn information . This type of learning relies on dual-coding theory
Dual-coding theory
Dual-coding theory, a theory of cognition, was first advanced by Allan Paivio of the University of Western Ontario. The theory postulates that both visual and verbal information are processed differently and along distinct channels with the human mind creating separate representations for...

 .

E-learning and augmented learning


Electronic learning or e-learning is a general term used to refer to Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

-based networked
Computer network
A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information....

 computer-enhanced learning. A specific and always more diffused e-learning is mobile learning (m-learning), which uses different mobile telecommunication equipment, such as cellular phones.

When a learner interacts with the e-learning environment, it's called augmented learning
Augmented learning
Augmented learning is an on-demand learning technique where the environment adapts to the learner. Instead of focusing on memorization, supplemental information is presented to the learner based on the current context. The augmented content can be dynamically tailored to the learner's natural...

. By adapting to the needs of individuals, the context-driven instruction can be dynamically tailored to the learner's natural environment. Augmented digital content may include text, images, video, audio (music and voice). By personalizing instruction, augmented learning has been shown to improve learning performance for a lifetime. See also Minimally Invasive Education
Minimally Invasive Education
Minimally Invasive Education is a term used to describe how children learn in unsupervised environments. It was derived from an experiment done by Sugata Mitra while at NIIT in 1999 often called The Hole in the Wall....

.

Rote learning



Rote learning is a technique which avoids understanding the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled
Recollection
Recall in memory refers to the retrieval of events or information from the past. Along with encoding and storage, it is one of the three core processes of memory. There are three main types of recall: free recall, cued recall and serial recall...

 by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard. The major practice involved in rote learning techniques is learning by repetition, based on the idea that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more it is repeated. Rote learning is used in diverse areas, from mathematics to music to religion. Although it has been criticized by some schools of thought, rote learning is a necessity in many situations.

Meaningful learning


Meaningful learning refers to the concept that the learned knowledge (lets say a fact) is fully understood by the individual and that the individual knows how that specific fact relates to other stored facts (stored in your brain that is). For understanding this concept, it is good to contrast meaningful learning with the much less desirable, rote learning. Rote learning requires only that the individual rembers the information without any regard for understanding, in other words learning by rote allows the individual to recite facts without truely understanding them. Meaningful learning, on the other hand, implies there is a comprehensive knowledge of the context of the facts learned.

Informal learning



Informal learning occurs through the experience of day-to-day situations (for example, one would learn to look ahead while walking because of the danger inherent in not paying attention to where one is going). It is learning from life, during a meal at table with parents, play
Play (activity)
Play is a term employed in ethology and psychology to describe to a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment...

, exploring, etc.

Formal learning




Formal learning is learning that takes place within a teacher-student relationship, such as in a school system.

Nonformal learning



Nonformal learning is organized learning outside the formal learning system. For example: learning by coming together with people with similar interests and exchanging viewpoints, in clubs or in (international) youth organizations, workshops.

Nonformal learning and combined approaches


The educational system may use a combination of formal, informal, and nonformal learning methods. The UN and EU recognize these different forms of learning (cf. links below). In some schools students can get points that count in the formal-learning systems if they get work done in informal-learning circuits. They may be given time to assist international youth workshops and training courses, on the condition they prepare, contribute, share and can prove this offered valuable new insight, helped to acquire new skills, a place to get experience in organizing, teaching, etc.

In order to learn a skill, such as solving a Rubik's cube
Rubik's Cube
Rubik's Cube is a 3-D mechanical puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik.Originally called the "Magic Cube", the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp. in 1980 and won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that...

 quickly, several factors come into play at once:
  • Directions help one learn the patterns of solving a Rubik's cube.
  • Practicing the moves repeatedly and for extended time helps with "muscle memory" and therefore speed.
  • Thinking critically about moves helps find shortcuts, which in turn helps to speed up future attempts.
  • The Rubik's cube's six colors help anchor solving it within the head.
    • Occasionally revisiting the cube helps prevent negative learning or loss of skill.

Tangential learning


Tangential learning is the process by which people will self-educate if a topic is exposed to them in a context that they already enjoy. For example, after playing a music-based video game, some people may be motivated to learn how to play a real instrument, or after watching a TV show that references Faust and Lovecraft, some people may be inspired to read the original work.

Dialogic learning



Dialogic learning is a type of learning based on dialogue.

Domains of learning



Benjamin Bloom
Benjamin Bloom
Benjamin Samuel Bloom was an American educational psychologist who made contributions to the classification of educational objectives and to the theory of mastery-learning...

 has suggested three domains of learning:
  • Cognitive – To recall, calculate, discuss, analyze, problem solve, etc.
  • Psychomotor
    Psychomotor
    Psychomotor can refer to:* Psychomotor learning* Psychomotor retardation* Psychomotor agitation...

     – To dance, swim, ski, dive, drive a car, ride a bike, etc.
  • Affective – To like something or someone, love, appreciate, fear, hate, worship, etc.


These domains are not mutually exclusive. For example, in learning to play chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, the person will have to learn the rules of the game (cognitive domain); but he also has to learn how to set up the chess pieces on the chessboard and also how to properly hold and move a chess piece (psychomotor). Furthermore, later in the game the person may even learn to love the game itself, value its applications in life, and appreciate its history
History of chess
The history of chess spans some 1500 years. The earliest predecessors of the game originated in India, before the 6th century AD. From India, the game spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Southern Europe. In Europe,...

 (affective domain).

Transfer of learning


The transfer of learning can be defined as extending what has been learned in one context to new contexts. Determining if and to what extent a person can transfer their learned knowledge can be a strong indication of the quality of the learning experience itself. Effective memorization of information does not equal a meaningful learning experience, because the knowledge acquired might not be understood. The ability to understand and apply learnings, implies a deeper knowledge gained. The context of the original learning, time given to learn, motivation of learner, active participation, and progress monitoring of learning are all important factors that effect the degree to which learning is transferrable. New research within cognitive science has helped unfold the multidisciplinary nature of learning. Anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, psychology and neuroscience all play a role in learning. More importantly, these factors play a role in the level of understanding one person develops versus another person.

Active learning


Active learning occurs when a person takes control of their learning experience. Since understanding information is the key aspect of learning, it is important for learners to recognize what they understand and what they do not. By doing so, they can monitor their own mastery of subjects. Active learning encourages learners to have an internal dialogue in which they are verbalizing their understandings. This and other meta- cognitive strategies can be taught to a child over time. Studies within metacognition
Metacognition
Metacognition is defined as "cognition about cognition", or "knowing about knowing." It can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or for problem solving...

have proven the value in active learning, claiming that the learning is usually at a stronger level as a result.