Verbal Learning

You are reading this and trying to understand the concept of learning. This is possible because of verbal learning. You have learned language. People in different parts of the world learn different languages. The process of learning language is called verbal learning.

If you recollect your younger days you will notice that you started with identifying alphabets, then moved to words and finally sentences. When you learn a foreign language you use pairs of words. Psychologists study how various procedures like serial learning and paired associates learning are used.

2. Concept Learning

This is about developing categories of objects and events. It is very important in life that we should discriminate between things on the basis of some criterion. For example, the terms ‘boys’, ‘girls’, ‘fruits’ and ‘furniture’ refer to concepts. A concept involves a variety of objects clubbed together. Use of categories or class names helps us to communicate and perform different activities.

The concepts may be natural or artificial. They may be as abstract and concrete. Love, freedom and democracy are examples of abstract concepts. Cow, table, boy, girl, orange and rose are examples of concrete concepts.

While learning a concept we make one response to all the stimuli belonging to that category. Thus we refer to all kinds of tables as table or all boys as boy. In fact all kinds of higher learning necessarily involves concept learning. Concepts help us to reduce the complexity of our world.

3. Skill Learning

An important area of learning involves acquiring various types of skills like riding a bicycle, writing, car driving, piloting an air craft, leading a group and motivating others etc. All of these involve skills. Those who are able to learn these and other skills get opportunities in life.

Once the skill is acquired one may over learn it. It may become automatic and one is able to perform it with ease and comfort. As a result people perform tasks spontaneously and can perform more than one task at a time (e.g. talking to a person and car driving).