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Published by ttwahirwa

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Published by: ttwahirwa on Jul 18, 2009
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1. WHAT IS LEARNING? EXPLAIN BRIEFLY THE THEORIES OF LEARNING. Robbins (2003) defines learning as any relatively permanent change in behavior thatoccurs as a result of experience.Psychologists formally define learning as a process that produces a relatively enduringchange in behavior or knowledge as a result of an individual’s experience.Learning of new behaviors often reflects adapting to your surroundings. Learningtherefore, occurs in every setting and takes place at every age.The learning process therefore, enhances the knowledge, skills and attitude of individuals, to increase their willingness to adopt those newly acquired knowledge, skillsand attitudes to implement them at the work place.Learning is characterized by change in behavior, this change must be relatively permanent, there should be acquisition of a behavior and some form of experience isnecessary for learning.The very basic form of learning is called conditioning. This connotes the process of learning associations between environmental events and behavioral responses.Conditioning forms a theoretical background to various theories by various scholars.Important of these theories include the following;
Classical conditioning theory is one of these theories. The theory was proposed by aRussian psychologist Ivan Pavlov in 1927.classical conditioning is the basic learning process that involves repeatedly pairing a neutral stimulus with a response – producingstimulus until the neutral stimulus elicits the same response.In an experiment to teach a dog to salivate, Pavlov presented a bell as a neutral stimulus-neutral because dogs do not normally salivate to the sound of a ringing bell. He wouldalways ring the bell before presenting the food.After several repetitions the dog began to salivate on hearing the sound of the bell.This means that the dog had learnt a new association between the sound of the bell andthe presentation of the food.the sound of the bell is a conditioned stimulus because it wasoriginally neutral but comes to elicit a reflexive response, the dog’s salivation to thesound of the bell is a conditioned response as it is a learned reflexive response to a previously neutral stimulus.Operant conditioning is yet another theory of learning.coinned by Burrhus Fredrick Skinner in 1954; operant conditioning is based on the law of effect. The theory explainslearning as a process in which behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences.One possible consequence of behavior is reinforcement. Reinforcement is said to occur when a stimulus or an event follows an operant and increases the likelihood of theoperant being repeated.Operant conditioning is premised on the following principles. That the behavior islearned, behavior that is positively reinforced will re occur, information should be presented in small amounts so that responses can be reinforced, reinforcement will
generalize across stimuli , producing secondary conditioning, and that rewards are moreeffective if they immediately follow the desired response.Operant conditioning is most effective in shaping behavior through positive and negativereinforcement, punishment and extinction.Another theory of learning is social learning this theory was proposed by AlbertMandura in (1927).Bandura contends that most human behavior is acquired throughobservational learning rather than through trial and error or direct experience of theconsequences of our actions.wathcing and processing information about the actions of others, including the consequences that occur, influences the likelihood that behavior will be imitated.Bandura 1986suggests that four cognitive processes interact to determine whether imitation will occur. First you must pay attention to the other person’s behavior. secondyou must remember the other person’s behavior so that you can perform it at a later time.That is, you must form and store a mental representation of behavior to be limited. Third,you must be able to transform this mental representation into actions that you are capableof reproducing. Fourth, there must be some motivation for you to imitate the behavior.One is more likely to imitate a behavior if there is some expectation that doing so will produce reinforcement or reward.

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