The concept of learning was extensively discussed by Bruner, a prominent scholar in the psychological field. However, several intellectuals considerably contributed to the subject, by employing several experiments and research projects, thus modifying the concept (Kellogg, 2002). They studied the concepts of learning beginning from immaturity stage until the adult periods. Ultimately, they represented their findings in writing, which was later published for other educational purposes.
Concept learning begins at a child’s birth and proceeds all through its lifetime period. It is further noted that concept learning only happens in the following ways i.e. concept formation and assimilation. Concept formation entails how an infant struggles to learns and recognize shapes, color and names of things.
For instance, under normal circumstances, a child should be able to learn all these, by the age of three. Concept acquisition often results from what we bump into such as new words, thus learning them. For instance, one may encounter a new word from a dictionary thus finding out its meaning.
There are certain issues associated with concept learning, for instance, determining whether there is single or numerous mechanisms, and the issue of determining what was done before an individual attain the knowledge. Concept learning is extensively influenced by certain types of knowledge i.e. the casual and the schemas (Eysenck & Keane, 2005).
Concept learning is also characterized by several problems; for instance, lack of knowledge theories that may assist in inferring knowledge impacts. Additionally, it is tricky to have an extensive conceptualization of the factors that led to the attainment of knowledge.
There exist a considerable difference between learning and performance. Learning is influenced by factors such as training, rewards, partial reinforcement, and interstimulus time; whereas, performance is influenced by motivations and individual effort (Benjamin, 2007).
Tolman, a prominent psychology, contributed on the difference by insisting that learning is unobservable, and it’s exclusively evaluated and deduced by performance. Tolman also insinuated that learning is an internal process; whereas, on the contrary, he regarded performance as a behavior (external).
There exist two types of conceptual approaches, which are noted as ecological and nonecological approaches. These approaches are directly linked to the study of learning, with different extensive explanations from several psychologists. It is noted that these two approaches consist of certain qualities; some of them are common to both approaches, while others are not.
Ecological approach is considered as a product of traditional learning theory; in other words, the traditional learning theories played a vital role in developing the approach. However, despite its traditional origin, it is essential to acknowledge that, this theory approaches learning in a nontraditional perspective.
Ecological approach also stresses that learning has certain features, which are decided by either two of the following reasons i.e. previous happenings during development period or by preontogenic factors that existed in their ancestors.
The environment is one of the primary factors considered in defining and explaining the ecological factor. In fact, it plays a fundamental role in influencing the investigation and scrutiny of the learning process. Conclusively, ecological approach connects learning with behavior, which is also extensively influenced by the environment.
Nonecological approach assumes a dissimilar position regarding the hitches of environmental explanations. It describes environment as a collection of several stimuli and reinforcers. The application of stimuli on the approach utterly renders it nonecological, since it is unspecific to a particular person.
It is noted that nonecological approach pilots the formation of several theories, although they are exclusively nonecological. Ultimately, it is also imperative, not to forget that, tradition plays an extensive role in supporting the nonecological approach.
The concept of learning was initially discussed by Bruner, and then followed by several modifications by different scholars. The two concepts i.e. learning and performance are dissimilar in various capacities, despite the extreme associations between them. There exist two types of conceptual approaches i.e. in relation to learning; therefore, it is extraordinarily significant to understand the dissimilarity and the similarity within the terms, for a compelling understanding of the topic.
Benjamin, T. L. (2007). A brief history of modern psychology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Eysenck, W. M. & Keane, M. T. (2005). Cognitive psychology: a student’s handbook. New York: Taylor and Francis.
Kellogg, T. R. (2002). Cognitive psychology. California: Sage.