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The term learning refers to the mental processes of acquiring new knowledge, and skills by individuals, which involves combining diverse kinds of information through education and training. Learning is a goal-oriented activity aided by rewards and motivation. Learning tends to may occur both consciously and unconsciously.
Learning styles are the different ways and approaches used in acquiring information through a learning process. These styles involve the enlightening techniques, unique to every person that allows individuals learn effectively. For most individuals, they go for a particular learning style as a means of evaluating and processing the information they acquire. The manner in which individuals learn and process newly gained information either educational or otherwise is a major aspect that makes each person unique. Some are quick learners, while others are slow learners. (Kolb, 1983)
There are three main kinds of learning styles generally, though; environmental factors also influence every person’s learning style. The three major styles of learning are visual, auditory and tactile. The first style is the visual learning style, which indicates that visual learners retain information best from what they see. For these visual learners, they tend to retain more knowledge after using charts, colour highlighters and graphs. (Alan Mumford, 1982)
The auditory learning style is the second style of learning. These learners gain most of their knowledge from what they hear and for that reason; these learners are encouraged to read out aloud to assist them understand better what they read. Auditory learners are also encouraged to summarize orally information they have read immediately after reading it. An oral summary ensures that this learner hears the information, helping them get a better handle on it and assists the auditory learners to identify whether they have understood the text effectively or whether another reading is required.
Tactile learning style is the third style of learning. These learners retain information better when they learn it by using hands on tasks or moving around while learning. In addition, they are encouraged to tap their feet and move their hands while still sited to enhance their comprehension, since they have a small concentration span. Environmental factors also play a vital role in all learning styles. Factors like light, quiet, noise, movement, the type of setting one learns in and the temperature of the environment play significant roles in determining the learning patterns among the different readers. (Riding R, 1998)
Personally, I benefited more from the visual style of learning because I preferred to enhance what I read using diagrams, experiments and use of graphs.
Operant and classical conditioning are two of the numerous theories on learning which follow the behaviourist approach. Operant conditioning is learning that occurs because of behaviour reinforcement and association, while classical conditioning is the association of events, which results in behavioural patterns.
Through observational learning, it is obvious that rewards and punishments influence and change behaviour patterns among individuals. In my opinion, if a prize is pegged for certain conduct, I would condition myself to do it in order to earn the prize. Whereas, in case of a punishment for a particular behaviour, I would ensure I do not fall victim to the punishment.
The term reinforcement in psychology refers to any stimulus, which increases the probability of a specific response occurring. Punishment refers to doing something aversive to lessen occurrence of an action, like disciplining children who misbehave. The child tends to associate punishment with the negative behaviour, which the child avoids at all costs. On the other hand, rewards are positive enhancers of behaviour. For example, a prize would make a child to read harder and get better grades to win the prize.
Application of imitation is noteworthy in controlling children and television. Observational learning commonly referred to as modelling or imitation. After moving the object in question, to a relatively similar setting, the behaviour previously learned is easily transferable, solving the problem at hand almost instantly. This learning has a connection with penalties in order to achieve desired behaviour.