Learning brings a relatively permanent change in behavior or behavior potentiality. Changes in observable behaviors suggest that some amount of learning has taken place, but all forms of learning at all times may not be manifested in the form of a behavior that can be observed. Performance is the observable manifestation of learning. For example, the riding of a bicycle or driving a car is a performance indicator of the fact that learning has taken place.

The learning may not always be witnessed as performance. Suppose you listen to a lecture or read a book or read a map to plan your route for driving from one city to another. After listening to a lecture, we do not observe measurable changes in your behavior. You are observably the same now as you were before listening to the lecture. In other words, there is no change in your performance, because you have not been given a chance to perform. But, does it mean that learning has not taken place? Obviously, the learning of some internal nature has taken place. As a result of the lecture, some changes have occurred within you both physiologically and psychologically. The lecture has left its impression in you in the form of neural traces, and has changed some aspects of your knowledge. These changes, either neural or psychological, are lying hidden within you in the form of potentialities to behave differently, when needed. While performance always refers to overt behaviors, learning may be overt or covert.

Consulting a road map in one’s home to plan a trip results in learning, which is not converted to performance immediately? It waits until the right situation comes, that is, when you actually execute your plan of driving from one city to another. Your actual driving is performance. Even before this performance, learning has taken place, and has been available to the person as a behavior potentiality. While performance is a change in behavior, learning is a change in both behavior and behavior potentiality. Performance is not possible without learning, and all learning would go waste, if they were not translated into performance, as and when needed.