What is Learning?

Many people think of learning as studying, but this is not the case. When you study, you do normally learn but learning can go far beyond structured or unstructured studying.

You can learn from any and all experiences in your life.

We recognise this by using phrases such as:

  • I’ve learned so much from having children.
  • You wouldn’t believe how much I learned about myself from that.

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education.

The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

– Jiddu Krishnamurti, Philosophical and Spiritual Writer and Speaker.

You can find more about this on our pages What is Learning? and Lifelong Learning.

Our page on What is Learning? also explains one theory about how we learn, the Procure – Apply – Consider – Transform (PACT) model of learning.

Another useful model, which you can find on our page What is Coaching? is the competence cycle of learning.

If you want to know more about the theory of learning, have a look at our page on Learning Approaches. This sets out the three basic approaches:

  • Behaviourist, which expects learners to respond to some kind of stimulus;
  • Cognitive, which is concerned with knowledge and knowledge-retention; and
  • Humanist, which is concerned with explaining individual experience.

Learning about your Learning

Based on these three approaches, behaviourist, cognitive and humanist, researchers have proposed that we all have different Learning Styles, and put forward two very useful models.

But why are they useful? They are useful because knowing how you like to learn can help you to tailor your experiences so that you learn more quickly and effectively.

You may also be interested in our pages on Myers-Briggs Type Indicators and Myers-Briggs Type Indicators in Practice as these also have pointers for how we like to learn.

Our page on Reflective Practice will help you to think about your experiences and understand more about yourself. Developing a habit of reflective practice will also help you to learn in the future.