Week4_A1_Defining Learning

An individual being in a group or on his own acquires some type of knowledge which changes him as a person. This acquisition can be done in various ways such as a formal classroom setting or the environment in which the person is living.


In my definition I have left out the idea of having a teacher pertaining knowledge in one way or another as learning can happen in different contexts even when cut off from the rest of the world.




The action of the verb to learn; Accumulated knowledge

Learning is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, preferences or understanding, and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines.



Is a process by which individuals can claim and gain credit towards qualifications based on their prior learning and, sometimes, experience. …

The acquiring and understanding of information that may lead to improvement or change. Examples of organisational learning activities include …

The process by which experience brings about a relatively permanent change in behavior.

the process of acquiring knowledge, attitudes, or skills from study ,instruction, or experience. Source:Miller &Findlay 1996, p. …

Education program whereby students may complete all or part of an educational program in a geographical location apart from the institution hosting the program; the final award given is equivalent in standard and content to an award program completed on campus.

A process of ADAPTATION by which a set of adjustable parameters is automatically modified so that some objective is more readily achieved.

Is an increase in the capability for effective action. Individual, team, and organizational learning can all be measured by the outcomes that result from effective action. …

is thought to be the act or process which develops or changes the behaviour of the learner to a degree of permanence, usually with the intervention of an educator. …

Simon defined learning as changes in a system that result in improved performance over time on tasks similar to those done previously. A dictionary definition is that it is acquiring knowledge or skill through study, experience or teaching. …

is the acquisition and development of memories and behaviours, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom. It is the product of experience and the goal of education. …


is the process by which knowledge and skills increase.

a change in neural function as a consequence of experience.

The acquisition of knowledge or skill. It occurs in, and may lead to changes in, the brain.

These two definition can be attached to the acquisition metaphor where the brain is the receiver of information. 



The learning definitions found through research on the Web tend to be quiet diverse.  Learning is defined as an act, adaptation, process, acquirement or experience. I feel that each definition is implying that through learning a CHANGE is being made. The change is identified as affecting the individual, student, learner, team or organisation. The metaphors discussed in week 3, tend to reside to some extent in each of these metaphors (mostly AM).


Specialised authors, when discussing learning tend to focus on a particular learning strategy or theory thus showing the complexity that a definition of learning would involve. Each theory tends to focus on a specific strategy for learning such as teacher imparting knowledge to student, behaviourism, constructionism, constructivism, etc.

An interesting article by Vakkayil (2008) which I managed to skim through, groups together eight (not two!) metaphors. Each metaphor defines different perspectives of learning;

  • Learning as transfer
  • Learning as corrective change
  • Learning as computing
  • Learning as building connections
  • Learning as self-organization
  • Learning as propogation
  • Learning as coordination
  • Learning as participation

Jacob D. Vakkayil (2008) Learning and organizations: towards cross-metaphor conversations , Learning Inqury, Springer New York








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