Learn – Concept, types, characteristics and apprehend

We explain what learning is and the characteristics of each type of learning. Also, what does it mean to learn to learn?

Learning makes it possible to adapt behavior to the most diverse situations.

What is learning?

By the verb learn is understood, simply stated, acquire or incorporate new knowledge, abilities, skills, values ​​or behaviors, either the result of lived experience, or also of study and instruction. It is one of the most important mental capacities of the human being, which allows him to adapt his behavior to the most diverse situations that arise, successfully solving the inconveniences that may arise.

Learning, that is, the ability to learn, It is considered a key feature of all intelligent life and especially of human reasoning. For this reason, it is the subject of study by numerous professional disciplines, such as education, psychology and anthropology, many of which have postulated different theories around education and learning.

Unlike animals, human beings have developed increasingly complex methods of teaching and transmitting knowledge, taking advantage of our ability to learn so that future generations will have more and more knowledge at their disposal.

Like other aspects of life, learning has a social, cultural and behavioral side, of which we are more or less aware, and a neurological, physiological and bodily side, which takes place in the brain through composition and recomposition of synaptic connections between neurons.

Thus, certain knowledge remains “active” or present in our mind, when its neural connections are strengthened, and instead are forgotten or abandoned when those same connections are weakened.

Humans are continually learning, although our capacities to absorb new knowledge diminish as we age. This learning does not refer only to the memorization of information or the repetition of behaviors, but also to reflection on the content learned, on the very fact of learning, and on the experience of existing in its various and complicated facets.

Learn and apprehend

These two words mean totally different things, even though they share their etymological origin. Both come from the Latin verb apprehendere, composed of the voices ad (“toward”), prae (“before and I will split (“Catch” or “grab”).

Originally it was used with both meanings: that of the policeman who manages to find the thief, or that of the student who manages to find the knowledge. But due to processes of vulgarization of the Roman language (as Romance languages ​​were born), the verb ended up being I will turn on, where “learning” comes from, and both senses ended up separating.

Thus, today, we distinguish:

  • Apprehend: capture, chase, lay the gauntlet on something or someone.
  • Learn: acquire new knowledge or skills.

Learn to learn

learn to learn
Things that excite us tend to be learned faster.

The formula “learn to learn” (abbreviated as Aaa) is often used to refer to a metacognitive activity, which involves the design of the most convenient strategies to allow or facilitate learning.

More easily said, learning to learn means knowing the ideal way in which we can learn something and designing a strategy that helps us to do it, something that is at the heart of the self-taught learning experience: those who learn something without the need for teachers or formal teaching.

On it not only cognitive or mental elements are involved, but also social, emotional and affective, since the act of learning, as it has been proven, is connected with different areas of the personality and the mind, not only with the strictly logical. Thus, for example, things that excite us are often learned faster than things that are indifferent to us.

On the other hand, the same learning system is not always the same for everyone, and learning to learn can reveal the clues necessary to find the ideal model for oneself.

Types of learning

As we just said, there are many different ways of learning, depending on each person, and depending on the strategies that are put in place during the acquisition of new knowledge. Thus, the most common classification of learning is the one that distinguishes between:

  • Responsive learning, in which the subject captures the content, being able to reproduce it later, simply by understanding it from the outset. But in doing so, he does not discover anything new.
  • Learning by discoveryQuite the opposite of the previous case, it consists of the subject obtaining the knowledge in an active way, rearranging it so that it fits with his mental patterns.
  • Repetitive learning, is one that consists of the reiteration of the content until it is fixed in memory, even if it is not fully understood. It is the oldest and most inefficient model of learning that exists.
  • Significant learningOn the other hand, it is the one that occurs when the subject integrates the new knowledge with those that he already manages, giving them meaning within his individual world scheme.
  • Observational learning, is the one that is carried out only by observing the behavior of another person, that is, by looking at the model.
  • Learning by trial and errorIn other words, practical learning, which takes place on the fly, continually trying something until it succeeds.
  • Dialogic learning, in which conversation and dialogue are the main foundation, using arguments to convince the place of authority dynamics.
  • Creative learning, which consists of the more or less free exploration of a topic until the learner himself finds the necessary structures to learn, taking an active position in front of the problem, to propose solutions, alternatives, etc.