What is Learning?

So, in undertaking a study of the Human Learning — and how it is done — I spent some time wondering just exactly where I should begin. Then I realized that I should probably approach the topic right from the beginning. I decided that the best approach would be to start with no assumptions. In order to increase our understanding here, lets all just take a moment and forget everything we think we know.

There we go, now were all starting on page 1.

Which brings us to the first question we are going to need to ask about learning: “What is Learning?”

Wikipedia defines Learning as “the process of acquiring knowledge or skill through study, experience or teaching. It is a process that depends on experience and leads to long-term changes in behavior potential. Behavior potential describes the possible behavior of an individual (not actual behavior) in a given situation in order to achieve a goal.”

Seems pretty clear. Another good definition, found in Marilyn vos Savants Book “Brain Building”, is that learning is what allows us to make sense of the confusing array of stimuli that reach us from every part of our environment. So, essentially learning is what allows us to be who we are, and live the lives that we live. Seems pretty darn important, no wonder we all do it so much.

It is through learning that we are able to define who we are and what we want to accomplish with our lives. If we were unable to learn, then we would be unable to gain anything significant from the experiences that we all have each day. Everything that happens to us on a daily basis would lose all significance if we were unable to learn from it. Every tiny little thing that happens to you in the course of your day is in fact a learning experience, whether you realize it at the time or not.

It is our ability to learn that makes life so very interesting.