Learning

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Learned redirects here. For the town in the United States, see Learned, Mississippi.
Image:LearningTheCountriesOfAsia.jpg
A supervised child learning the countries of Asia on the floor of the central hall of the Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois

Learning is the process of gaining understanding that leads to the modification of attitudes and behaviours through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and values, through study and experience. Learning causes a change of behavior that is persistent, measurable, and specified or allows an individual to formulate a new mental construct or revise a prior mental construct (conceptual knowledge such as attitudes or values). 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. But potential is not enough; if individual learning is not periodically reinforced, it becomes shallower and shallower, and eventually will be lost in that individual.

Education can be defined as the conscious attempt to promote learning in others (but see Education for other definitions.) Traditionally, analysis of this attempt has centered around direct teaching on the part of teachers. In what constitutes a paradigm shift, however, people now note that learning can be promoted in ways that go beyond direct instruction by a teacher -- education now centers around creating a viable, productive learning environment, regardless of how teacher-centric that environment might be.

When the term education is combined with entertainment, the term edutainment is coined. Edutainment also called 'e-learning' are new methods and practices that enabled learning in faster, more efficient and more entertaining ways. The idea is usually to combine games with learning, using software or interactive courses. There are also blogs on edutainment that keep up with the latest news and updates on software, videos, and lessons that use edutainment as a basis for teaching in a more efficient and faster way. E-learning is more specifically related to "electronic learning" this may or may not be edutainment. Many distance education programs use electronic teaching methodologies (courseware) to facilitate the educational process, these programs will often talk about doing "e-learning".

Contents

[edit] Learning - Neuroscience

Thinking can be thought of as a network of neurons firing in a very specific pattern. As neurons are used, they become thicker and more permanent. It follows then, that the stronger the stimulation, and the more common the stimulation, the more likely the stimulus is to be remembered. More so, memory comes easier when multiple parts of the brain (such as hearing, seeing, smelling, motor skills, touch sense, and logical thinking lobes; informal names given) are stimulated.

In order to learn a skill, such as solving a Rubik's cube 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 loss of skill

See also Forgetting curve

See also Cognitive Science

[edit] Basic learning processes

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Most people will smile back at babies who gaze at them and smile.

The most basic learning process is imitation, one's personal repetition of an observed process, such as a smile. Thus an imitation will take one's time (attention to the details), space (a location for learning), skills (or practice), and other resources (for example, a protected area). Through copying, most infants learn how to hunt (i.e., direct one's attention), feed and perform most basic tasks necessary for survival.

Bloom's Taxonomy divides the learning process into a six-level hierarchy, where knowledge is the lowest order of cognition and evaluation the highest:

  • Knowledge is the memory of previously-learned materials such as facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers.
  • Comprehension is the understanding of facts and ideas by organization, comparison, translation, interpretation, and description.
  • Application is the use of new knowledge to solve problems.
  • Analysis is the examination and division of information into parts by identifying motives or causes. A person can analyze by making inferences and finding evidence to support generalizations.
  • Synthesis is the compilation of information in a new way by combining elements into patterns or proposing alternative solutions.
  • Evaluation is the presentation and defense of opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas, or quality of work based on a set of criteria.

[edit] Learning methods

[edit] Intro

We learn through different ways. For example:

  • Informal learning is learning things in our day-to-day situations (if we don't look in front of us while walking, we learn that we run into things and that might be dangerous). It's what daily life practices teach us.
  • Formal learning is learning that takes place within a teacher-student relationship, such as in a school system.
  • Non-formal learning is organised 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 organisations, workshops.

The educational system may use a combination of formal, informal, and non-formal learning methods. The UN and EU recognise 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 proof this offered valuable new insights, helped to acquire new skills, a place to get experience in organising, teaching, etc.

[edit] Non-Formal learning methods

Learning outside the formal learning system. The European Union is actively promoting European Citizenship and offering several programs that enable its citizens to meet other citizens from other countries and cultures for non-formal learning sessions. Typically funding is offered to projects where groups, youth groups with a similar interest develop a joint workshop so that their members may be able to meet each other, exchange viewpoints during non-formal learning sessions and informal learning during a meal, for example. International instruments concerning non-formal education An overview of legal aspects of promoting and recognising training activities taking place outside of formal education systems in the EU and worldwide. http://www.logos-net.net/ilo/150_base/en/topic_i/t15_l.htm [EN] Links to key documents and legislation concerning non-formal education. Website of the European Commission. http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/doc/official/index_en.html [EN] Want to know how youth organisations contribute to non-formal education, or to find information about the recognition of non-formal education in Europe? On this site you will find the studies and reports carried out by this Forum. http://www.youthforum.org/en/our_work/citizenship2.html [EN][FR]

[edit] Informal learning methods

Learning from life, during a meal at table with parents...

[edit] Formal learning methods

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Traditional teacher-centred environments have a long history.

Are the methods used in the official education system, with a teacher-student relationship. Schools use a variety of methods to help pupils learn.

[edit] Learning by example

Example can be a motivation for learning. Imitation of a role model is a natural mechanism for infants and children, when learning from experience. Child's play is another method for learning by the example of other children, who naturally gain satisfaction by playing the role of teacher or mentor to a less-experienced child.

The sandbox (sandpit) in a playground is an example of a location where children can learn by experience. It is instructive to watch smaller children on a merry-go-round, for example, who naturally push it more slowly than the larger, older, more experienced ones. In order for a little one to get on the merry-go-round, they might simply grab a bar and drag their feet in the sand, while holding on. This slows down the rotation, which allows the little one to climb on, under the oversight of a supervisor, to ensure their physical safety.

Learning "how to learn" is a skill, which can be taught to others, by example.

[edit] Learning by teaching

Main article: Learning by teaching
Learning by teaching is a method of teaching which allows teachers to share new lesson content with little groups of students who prepare their part in order to teach this content to the rest of the class.

[edit] Learning by worked examples

Often there are worked examples in books that show exactly how the author solved, step by step, a particular problem, for example, in mathematics. Different books may help explain methods in different ways - some are easier to understand than others and supplement what the teacher taught. Homework can be a great help.

[edit] Learning 2.0

Main article: Learning 2.0
An emerging approach to learning and education where the role of the Learner becomes that of contributor and the role of the Teacher becomes that of facilitator and content shepherd.

[edit] Learning which alternative methods exist

Sometimes different methods can be applied to solve a particular problem. Often the student is not aware of alternatives until they are pointed out by the teacher, in which case the student should also be made aware of how to select the "best" method from among those available, and which textbooks are likely to be especially helpful.

[edit] Learning which shortcuts exist to solve specific problems

Sometimes shortcuts exist that can reduce by many hours the solution of practical problems. For example, Maxima and minima of functions can be obtained "the hard way" by a whole series of numerical calculations, while the use of calculus is often a shortcut.

[edit] Theories on Learning

Experiential learning Kolb's research found that people learn in four ways with the likelihood of developing one mode of learning more than another. In Kolb's 'experiential learning cycle' model, learning is through:

  • concrete experience
  • observation and reflection
  • abstract conceptualisation
  • active experimentation

[edit] Other dimensions of learning

Here are a few theories and subcategories of learning:

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[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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Learning

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