Learning is acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves. Learning is not compulsory; it is contextual. It does not happen all at once, but builds upon and is shaped by what we already know. To that end, learning may be viewed as a process, rather than a collection of factual and procedural knowledge.
Human learning may occur as part of education, personal development, schooling, or training. It may be goal-oriented and may be aided by motivation. The study of how learning occurs is part of neuropsychology, educational psychology, learning theory, and pedagogy. Learning may occur as a result of habituation or classical conditioning, seen in many animal species, or as a result of more complex activities such as play, seen only in relatively intelligent animals. Learning may occur consciously or without conscious awareness. There is evidence for human behavioral learning prenatally, in which habituation has been observed as early as 32 weeks into gestation, indicating that the central nervous system is sufficiently developed and primed for learning and memory to occur very early on in development.
Play has been approached by several theorists as the first form of learning. Children play, experiment with the world, learn the rules, and learn to interact. Lev Vygotsky agrees that play is pivotal for children's development, since they make meaning of their environment through play. The context of conversation based on moral reasoning offers some proper observations on the responsibilities of parents.
Famous quotes containing the word learning:
“The first man to discover Chinook salmon in the Columbia, caught 264 in a day and carried them across the river by walking on the backs of other fish. His greatest feat, however, was learning the Chinook jargon in 15 minutes from listening to salmon talk.”
—State of Oregon, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)
“Experiences in order to be educative must lead out into an expanding world of subject matter, a subject matter of facts or information and of ideas. This condition is satisfied only as the educator views teaching and learning as a continuous process of reconstruction of experience.”
—John Dewey (18591952)
“The best way of learning to be an independent sovereign state is to be an independent sovereign state.”
—Kwame Nkrumah (19001972)