It is defined as any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience. We can infer that learning has taken place if an individual behaves, reacts, and responds at a result of experience in a manner different from the way he formerly behaved. Learning involves change. This change may be good or bad. Learning can be achieved through experience, observation or practice.

What is Learning

Theories of Learning

There are 3 theories that explain the process by which are acquiring patterns of behavior. They are:

Classical Conditioning

This theory was given by Pavlov, a Russian physiologist while conducting an experiment on a dog. It exhibited increased salivation. The dog did not salivate when a bell was rang. Pavlov proceeded to link the meat and ringing of the bell. After repeatedly hearing the ringing of the bell before getting the food, the dog began to salivate as soon as the bell was rang. After a while the dog started to salivate at the sound of bell even if no food was offered. The dog had learnt of salivate to the bell.

Here, the meat was an unconditioned stimulus. Whenever the unconditioned stimulus occurred, there was an unconditioned response (i.e.) salivation. The bell is an artificial stimulus in the conditioned stimulus. Although initially it was neutral, after it was linked to meat, it caused the dog to salivate. This response of the dog (salivation) to ringing of bell is called conditional response.


Operate Conditioning

This theory states than behavior is a function of consequences. People leant to behave to get what they want or to avoid something they doesn't want. People will most likely engage in desired behavior if it is followed by rewards. A behavior that is not rewarded or is punished will never be repeated. This theory was put forth by skinner, Harvard psychologist.

Example: If an employee is rewarded for this overtime duty, he is likely to overwork willingly again.

Social Learning

By observing what happens to other people or hearing experiences of other people by direct experience is called social learning. People learn from watching parents, teachers, peers, motion picture, television performance, bosses etc. People learn observing others using the following process.

1. Attention process: People learn from their model only when they recognize and pay attention to them.

2. Retention process: The models influence will depend on how well the individual remembers the models action after the model is no longer readily available.

3. Motor reproduction process: After a person has seen a new behavior by observing the model, the watching should be converted into doing.

4. Reinforcement process: Individual will be motivated to exhibit the model behavior if positive incentives or rewards are provided.

Next Chapters

Organizational Culture
Value System
Job Satisfaction

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