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It goes without saying that learning is an endless process in one’s life. A human starts collecting knowledge from the very birth and till the last breath. Learning is also a vital aspect of a person’s well-being as it helps us constantly evolve our intelligence and wake up our consciousness. However, the notion of learning is quite disputable one. Every other person understands it in his or her own way. For example, a college student may suggest that he is learning while reading different textbooks. At the same time, a teacher may assume that his students are learning, because they absorb the material delivered by the teacher (Wirth, 2008, p. 1).
Almost all scientists agree upon the fact that learning is a complex process made up of a range of interconnected and interrelated smaller actions. There exists a certain hierarchy of these elements in which the receiving of information takes the primary place. The willingness of a person to accept a new information lays the basis for the further studying and contributes to the development of inner motivation. After the person gets information, he/she needs to work out special strategies and patterns in order to respond to the absorbed information. At this step, the learner develops a definitely new type of thinking and behavior, which will help him to cope with the task of valuing at the third stage. The process of valuing presupposes that the learner should switch on his critical thinking and decide the preciousness of the subject. After this, there goes the stage of organizing the obtained ideas, knowledge, and beliefs into a single set or structure. The last stage of the person’s learning activity is his ability to use the theoretical knowledge in practice; this stage is called acting. After achieving the top of the learning hierarchy, the learner obviously will not only get new knowledge but also develop new skills and experience (Wirth, 2008, p. 7).
By analyzing the abovementioned hierarchy, it may be said that, in fact, learning is a change of our behavioral pattern which is caused by the obtained experience (Houwer, 2013, p. 1). In order to explore the nature of learning, we should pay a special attention towards the existing learning theories. Scientists differentiate between the following popular theories: sensory stimulation, reinforcement, and facilitation theories. According to the sensory stimulating theory, the learning process is more effective when our senses are involved in studying. At the same time, our vision is the best helpful instrument for learning. Statistics claims that humans memorize approximately 75 percent of information through the vision, 15 percent due to the hearing, and the rest 12 percent through the smell, touch, and taste. Thus, with the help of our senses, we can make the process of learning not only more functional, but also more interesting and educational. The supporter of the other learning strategy B.F. Skinner suggests that in order to study effectively, the learner should be reinforced to do so. However, such reinforcements can be both positive and negative. Positive reinforcements in the form of awards enhance the motivation of the learner and thus force him to improve his knowledge. On the other hand, negative reinforcements or punishments do not bring the positive attitude towards learning although stimulate the person to study too. Carl Rogers and his adherents promote the facilitation theory which is the most common for our imagination. The theory presupposes minimum two objects taking part in the learning process. The first object is the very learner and the other is a teacher who fulfills the function of a facilitator and helps the first one to obtain new knowledge (Dunn, 2002, p. 2).
In conclusion, it may be said that the very nature of the learning process is not enough explored yet. However, many scientists suggest that the behavioral theory is the closest to explaining the mechanism of learning. To be more precise, learning is a complicated process which requires a range of mental skills and, at the same time, improves and trains human mental abilities. There are certain learning strategies and techniques with the help of which learning will be simpler and more effective.
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