Living is learning. All living beings learn as they grow. Human beings learn more than any other creatures. A newborn human baby behaves like any other animal offspring. But he changes his behavior very quickly and shows a kind of behavior quite different from that of an adult. This difference in behavior is due to learning.
An individual lives in the society. He interacts with the society. He influences his environment and the environment influences him. This is called interaction. The change of behavior is the result of such interaction.
Learning is change. It is called modification of behavior. All changes in knowledge, skills, habits, interests, attitudes and tastes are the product of learning. That is, consists of all changes in thinking feeling and doing in course of life.
Every living being has its native behavior. The human being similarly has his own native behavior. But this behavior changes according to the needs and conditions of the environment. An insect has its fixed set of behavior and behaves similarly in all conditions. A dog barks when a stranger comes, but it plays with its master when he comes to it. This difference in its behavior is the result of its adjustment to the new situations or its varying behavior under different environments. In other words, adjustment to new conditions is a kind of learning. Those who can learn can adjust easily with the new situations.
An individual learns throughout his life. The human child is the most helpless of all creatures and such helplessness provides the best opportunity for his learning. He is also found helpless for a longer period than that of any other creature. This gives a greater scope for learning.
The world is full of problems. Human beings face problems in their every day life and try to solve them with their knowledge, understanding, reasoning, skills and techniques of adjustment. Human life is thus a continuous process of learning.
Learning is an essential as well as fundamental process of life. It is a process by which the individual acquires various habits, knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary to meet the demands of life. The ultimate aim of all learning is to change one’s behavior suited to the new situations. The existing behavior may change and new behavior may be formed.
According to Skinner learning is a “process of progressive behavior adaptations”. Munn has considered learning as “more or less permanent incremental modification of behavior which results from activity, special training or observations”.
Kimble has similarly said”, learning refers to a more or less permanent change in behavior which occurs as a result of practice”. Crow and Crow defined learning as “the acquisition of habits, knowledge and attitude”.
According to Mc Connel learning is “the modification of behavior through experience”.
On the whole, learning can be defined as the process of effecting changes in behavior that brings about improvement in our relations with the environment. One of the main aims of education is to effect desired changes in the behavior of children. To acquire vocabulary, memories a poem, learn the basic skills of arithmetic, operate a machine and so on are the examples of learning. Education seeks to achieve these learning objectives for the benefit of the individuals.