Monday, June 3, 2013



Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge. Knowledge may be acquired and stored merely for information or may help in developing any skill or technique of doing various things in life. To learn according to the oxford Dictionary is to acquire knowledge of to commit to memory; to develop skill or technique by practice, to understand; experience, to Endeavour by practice. Learning in the dictionary means the act of studiously acquiring knowledge; information; scholarship, the whole body of knowledge possessed by a scholar.

Most of our actions are done with cognition and consciousness. The involuntary movements within the body are to a large extent governed by the autonomic nervous system and specially designed by nature for preservation of the life processes. The motor movements and reflex actions are either instinctive or purposeful and deliberate. Throughout our life w keep on learning what to do and how to do. All living beings including plant life learn many things for their survival and for adjustment with the environment.

Some of the primary and biological needs for existence and security are met by instinctive behaviour which is difficult to understand. Instinctive behaviour is something endowed by nature and it is in most cases difficult to explain how it happens. For instance a baby which was growing as a foetus in the womb knows how to such the breast of the mother as soon as it is born and put to the breast of the mother. Who taught it to suck the breast? How did the baby know that it would get milk by sucking? Why does the baby cry when it is hungry or when it is uncomfortable? How did the baby know that it would get milk by sucking? Why does the baby cry when it is hungry or when it is uncomfortable? How does the Kangaroo young one which is dropped into the ground climb through the tail and reach the abdominal pouch of the mother where the teats with milk are present? Beyond being a marvel and a wonder thins kind of a phenomenon in various life processes in this universe is difficult to explain. In submission to the working of the nature we call these things as instinctive behaviour.

Behaviour can become learned behaviour after experience gives a gain or reward or the result is painful or unpleasant. Any voluntary behaviour other than instinctive has got a component of learning in it. Apart from the discussion we have already had under Knowledge, Attitude and Behaviour, we have to recognize that every voluntary act occurs with the permission of the brain where there is essentially learning in it. Even the involuntary movements or action like defecation, micturition, vomiting, coughing, etc., which are totally involuntary in childhood become more or less voluntary acts as age advances. This is due to development of sphineteric action and also controlling influence within the brain to inhibit a particular action and execute the same action when it is required. They are also learned by experience

From birth to death there is a never ending process of learning going on which influences our every action and inaction. How to eat? How to move about? How to speak and what to speak? When to work and when to rest? All these are decided by the learning process. The answer to the questions raised by the mind on the what, when, where, why and how of anything concerned with the individual’s life in this world is derived by a process of learning.

Learning is undergone by the whole body whether unicellular or multi-cellular. The nervous mechanism is able to receive stimuli and impulses and perception enables the acquisition of knowledge which in other words is learning. Learning is governed essentially by perception. In the case of the individual we can call learning is the first step or stage in which information is drawn and absorbed. It must be appreciated that learning does not stop with acquiring information. It is an active process of transformation of ideas, translation of meaning, formation of attitudes, skills and values. It must also be appreciated in this context that behaviour, and learning are complementary to each other. Before the behaviour, learning process is supporting it and after the behaviour takes place it may further help the learning are complementary to each other. Before the behaviour, learning are complementary to each other. Before the behaviour, learning process is supporting it and after the behaviour takes place it may further help the learning from the experience gained from the behaviour. It is, therefore, a cyclical process of learning, predisposition to act, behaviour, experience, learning, change of behaviour and so on.

Another point to be appreciated is that all the senses are involved in learning. There can hardly be any difference between perception and learning because sum total effect of either perception or learning is to give meaning to the various sensory stimuli that are impinging on the sense organs and transmitted to the sensory cortex of the brain.
At the same time we have to differentiate between learning and perceiving in the sense that learning is the end point of perception.In other words the process of perception helps in gathering and storage of information which again helps the individuals to acquire skill, develop attitude, etc.

We can recapitulate by saying that perception precedes learning and for learning perception is inevitable or indispensable. While learning is facilitated by perception, perception is necessitated by learning; because of the need to learn, the mind perceives.
The living organism whether a tiny germ, a crawling animal or a flying bird or the four-footed animal or man all have to live together in this universe in their own group or in the community or in the midst of the species and classes. Within a particular society or group the ability to adjust or live is built up by the process of socialisation. The mind is constantly trying to perceive what is good for itelf from the selfish point of view and also in relation to others for the sake of secutity, acceptability, recognition and stability. It is constantly learning to live a life which will be accepted by others around.

It will be interesting to note that every cell in the body learns and the sum total of this learning is shown by the tissues and organs. If we take very hot food continuously the cells of the gastro-intestinal tract learn how to receive that food and they get used to hot irritant food. It is only when physiologically the cells become incapable of coping with and altered situation that there is a breakdown. Otherwise the cells in any part of the body or organ learn how to adjust to the environment and to the various influences that they are subjected to.

1 comment: