The term learning refers to the process of acquiring knowledge or skills through experience and teaching. For learning to be complete, certain factors must be in place, including a teacher, a learner, and an environmental activity or stimuli.
Learning can be achieved under various structures and settings across multiple stages. However, as much as learning structures exist, locations, ages, and periods can affect or change the manner and result of the learning process. The question is, to what extent do these factors redefine the concept of learning?
Forms of learning
The first thing to realize is that the concept of learning is much broader than the conventional classroom situation. Learning is achievable through:
- Formal education
- Informal education
- Action, response, and consequences
- Behavioral patterns
- Environmental events
- Repetition and patterns
According to the Management Study Guide, learning is not just motor, verbal, or visual. There also exists concept learning, discrimination learning, attitude learning, and the learning of principles. As such, the idea of learning comes in many diverse forms.
Learning across ages
Age is vital in how learning takes place and is received. Assimilation is generally easier in the younger years, mainly because cognitive abilities (retention and memory) decline as people age.
Age also determines the process and strategy of learning. Babies learn basic human, moral, and social skills informally. They are taught in a simplified and entertaining manner using various verbal, visual, and motor activities. For children, it is more about what they see and feel than explaining concepts and principles.
On the other hand, older students go to a formal setting to acquire academic knowledge. It gets less entertaining and more complex as they advance academically. At the university and graduate levels, students learn predefined concepts and principles. They also learn behavioral, visual, and verbal patterns.
Adults learn through social and cultural events and experiences in their everyday life. Learning at this point reverts to an informal mode based more on experiences from day-to-day activities. Grown-ups are exposed to social ideas on principles, concepts, attitudes, and discrimination.
Each learning approach is structured to fit how the brain can assimilate at each point. You can’t teach a baby about concepts and principles when they can’t recite the alphabet. And mature learners will find using visually appealing cues redundant and less progressive when learning subjects with extensive principles.
Besides, certain learning processes become unnecessary once you acquire them. For instance, learning fine motor skills is a task stipulated for children. Once acquired, there’s little chance you’d forget them. Suppose a child is unable to learn these skills the first time. The only solution would be to relearn, in this case, through the help of therapy like Applied Behavior Analysis.
Changes in learning through the years
Thousands of years ago, learning went from an informal, random setting to a more structured form. The modernization of humans over the years also affected how learning was achieved at different times. When countries began exploring science and technology, education was in the hands of parentship and visual monitoring.
As schools and academies came to the fore, learning became much more structured with a clearly defined instructor, a collection of students, and a learning guide. Books became a significant source of education. Even when academies had gender restrictions, books still served to educate those who could afford them.
In today’s world, learning is much more elaborate. There are several stimuli—visual, auditory, verbal,
and physical. Also, learning is not confined to a physical area but is now commonly practiced via virtual mediums. Today, academics can easily find and take an MA education online, like the one at Exeter University. This benefits not only students but also educational professionals looking to further their careers by acquiring higher certifications.
Modernization also played a role in cultural diversification, which opened the option to relearn. With more people communicating with others beyond their cultures and races, cultural and opinion-based respect is essential. Today, we see people relearning skills and experiences they have acquired. This modifies the definition of learning from acquiring knowledge and skill to developing knowledge and skill using a vast range of available teaching methods.
How various locations explore learning
Location often plays a role in the process of learning and assimilation. Take, for instance, South Korea, where students are exposed to a rigorous learning process targeted at academic and career prowess. Learning is not a matter of choice but an expectation through, and for many, a less than appealing process. On the other hand, Japan focuses more on morals and building excellent citizens. Hence, learning is focused more on morality and attitude or beliefs.
In China, retention and memorization are the basis of student learning. So, students are not technically assimilating but memorizing. In certain parts of Kenya and Nigeria, girls receive informal learning related only to domestic roles; formal education needs to be promoted. Learning in many world locations is less about the proper method and more about acquiring the most socially acceptable knowledge and experience in whatever way possible.
While location may appear to be the influencer in the broad sense, religion, culture, family values, and norms are the main factors that affect learning in different parts of the world.
However much the concept of learning differs, the underlying goal remains to acquire and retain knowledge and skill. Learning across every age, location, and era has always been a social event where an individual gains knowledge through the teachings of another to acquire a skill that is needed.
Positive knowledge is an essential point. If a child or adult does not acquire socially acceptable knowledge and skills, they cannot complete the learning process. Other crucial factors for the success or failure of learning include individual interest and determination. The desire, or lack thereof, to learn is at the basis of it all.