GCE 204 FULL SEMESTER NOTES
GCE 204 FULL SEMESTER NOTES GCE204
University of Ibadan, Ibadan
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GCE 204 Psychology of Learning ii Ibadan Distance Learning Centre Series GCE 204 Psychology of Learning By Norbert N. Okoye Reader in Psychology Department of Guidance & Counselling, University of Ibadan Published by Distance Learning Centre University of Ibadan iii ' Distance Learning Centre University of Ibadan Ibadan All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. First published 1989 Reviewed 2007 ISBN 978-2828-60-2 General Editor: Prof. Francis Egbokhare Series Editor: O.I. Adeyemo and O.O. Akisanya Printed by Kasapco Publishing & Printing Limited, Ibadan iv Table of Contents Pages The Vice-Chancellor’s Mess…ge …… … … vi Foreword … … … … … … … vii General Introduc…ion … … … … … viii Lecture One: The meaning of Learni…g I … 1 Lecture Two: Factors Affecting Human Le…rnin9 I Lecture Three: Factors Affecting Human Le…rnin21II Lecture Four: The Process of Human Learn…ng …30 Lecture Five: Theories of Remembering and For39tting … Lecture Six: Theories of Learning: S — R The48y I … Lecture Seven: Theories of Learning: S — R The58y II… Lecture Eight: Theories of Learning: S — R Theory III Skinnerian Conditioning … … 66 Lecture Nine: Theories of Learning: Cogn…tive75 Lecture Ten: Motivation and Learni…g … … 86 Lecture Eleven: Effective learning Strateg…es… 94 Lecture Twelve: How to Study Effectiv…ly… … 103 Lecture ThirteenTechniques of Effective St…dy …115 Lecture FourteenStudy Habits Problems: Sol…tion121 Lecture Fifteen:Psychology of Learning: Applica131n … v Vice-Chancellor’s Message I congratulate you on being part of the historic evolution of our Centre for External Studies into a Distance Learning Centre. The reinvigorated Centre, is building on a solid tradition of nearly twenty years of service to the Nigerian community in providing higher education to those who had hitherto been unable to benefit from it. Distance Learning requires an environment in which learners themselves actively participate in constructing their own knowledge. They need to be able to access and interpret existing knowledge and in the process, become autonomous learners. Consequently, our major goal is to provide full multi media mode of teaching/learning in which you will use not only print but also video, audio and electronic learning materials. To this end, we have run two intensive workshops to produce a fresh batch of course materials in order to increase substantially the number of texts available to you. The authors made great efforts to include the latest information, knowledge and skills in the different disciplines and ensure that the materials are user-friendly. It is our hope that you will put them to the best use. Professor Olufemi A. Bamiro, FNSE Vice-Chancellor vi Foreword The University of Ibadan Distance Learning Programme has a vision of providing lifelong education for Nigerian citizens who for a variety of reasons have opted for the Distance Learning mode. In this way, it aims at democratizing education by ensuring access and equity. The U.I. experience in Distance Learning dates back to 1988 when the Centre for External Studies was established to cater mainly for upgrading the knowledge and skills of NCE teachers to a Bachelors degree in Education. Since then, it has gathered considerable experience in preparing and producing course materials for its programmes. The recent expansion of the programme to cover Agriculture and the need to review the existing materials have necessitated an accelerated process of course materials production. To this end, one major workshop was held in December 2006 which have resulted in a substantial increase in the number of course materials. The writing of the courses by a team of experts and rigorous peer review have ensured the maintenance of the University’s high standards. The approach is not only to emphasize cognitive knowledge but also skills and humane values which are at the core of education, even in an ICT age. The materials have had the input of experienced editors and illustrators who have ensured that they are accurate, current and learner friendly. They are specially written with distance learners in mind, since such people can often feel isolated from the community of learners. Adequate supplementary reading materials as well as other information sources are suggested in the course materials. The Distance Learning Centre also envisages that regular students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria who are faced with a dearth of high quality textbooks will find these books very useful. We are therefore delighted to present these new titles to both our Distance Learning students and the University’s regular students. We are confident that the books will be an invaluable resource to them. We would like to thank all our authors, reviewers and production staff for the high quality of work. Best wishes. Professor Francis O. Egbokhare Director vii General Introduction Learning is an activity that cuts across the human and animal kingdom. However, human learning is higher than that of animals partly because human beings have higher intelligence than ordinary animals and also because human beings are better exposed to wider areas of experience both in quantity and quality. It is this superiority of human learning over animal learning that accounts for the quality of civilization developed by mankind. This course is designed to make the distant learner understand what we really mean by the concept of learning and the factors affecting learning. In examining the factors affecting learning, attempts will be made to make a critical look at various theories of learning and what messages these theories have for mankind in general and educational practice in particular. Finally, psychological techniques of facilitating and improving human learning will be discussed in details e.g. motivational, reinforcement techniques and others. The course is broken into units and sub-unit arrangements will take proper care of key concepts in the process of learning. viii LECTURE ONE The Meaning of Learning Introduction Learning is a concept which cuts across two disciplines - Psychology and Education (Okoye 1987). As a Psychological concept, learning is regarded as having something to do with a change in human behaviour which must be permanent and which must have come about as a result of the individual having been exposed to experience - a new method of learning which is not restricted to only human species but which also refers to animals. On the other hand, the educationist has a different view of learning as a concept. He sees learning as a knowledge acquisition tool needed for grappling with the process of education that goes on in the school. For the psychologist, learning is not something which can be pinned down to only the class-room situation, but it is a phenomenon that can take place anywhere there is experience which leads to permanent change in the behaviour of an organism. For the educationist, although he knows that animals learn, he is not bothered about animal learning since he is dealing directly with human creatures and not animals. Since learning traditionally belongs to psychology as a concept, our definition of learning will assume the psychological stand rather than the educational stand since the psychological view of learning is broader than educational view (Okoye, 1987). Besides, the psychological view of learning fits more readily into various areas of human endeavour’s e.g. in the school, in the industries and in other places. Assuming this psychological view point does much justice to learning knowing what it is, what it stands for and what is its end-result, whether we are thinking of learning either in an educational setting or in an industrial setting. More so, since the psychological view of learning encompasses the educational, we shall lose nothing by assuming the psychological definitions of learning even when we are dealing with the educational situation. 1 Objective At the end of this lecture, you should be able to: i. explain the meaning of Learning; ii. make an analysis of the definition of the concept of learning; and iii. explain what is meant by change in behaviour and experience. Pre-Test 1. Learning is: a. what takes place only in school b. what brings about any change in behaviour’ c. what brings about a relatively permanent change in behavior arising from experience. d. what brings about change in behaviour with or without previous ex- perience. 2. Learning is an activity which is displayed by: a. only human beings b. only animals c. only trained animals d. both human beings and animals 3. Learning cannot take place a. in the absence of a teacher b. in the absence of experience c. in the absence of a book d. in the absence of instruction 4. Which of the following behaviour constitutes learning? a. a burnt child dreads fire b. a newly hatched chick starts walking c. a young cock crowing for the first time d. a new born baby sucks the mother’s breast, milk immediately after being born. 2 5. A child injected in a hospital by, a nurse in a white dress begins to fear white cloth. Thus is a case of a. onset of childhood insanity b. onset of perceptual disease in early childhood c. onset of stimulus - response generalization in children d. on-set of brain damage. CONTENT Analysis of the Concept of Learning To understand what learning is and what it is not, we have to analyze the key words in the definition of the concept of learning. These key words are permanent change in behaviour; and experience Change in Behaviour This implies that for learning to have been assumed to have taken place, there must be evidence of change in an organism’s behaviour in terms of the difference in the organism’s manifest behaviour before and after the organism must have been exposed to some experience. If the pre-experience exposure behaviour is exactly the same as the post -experience exposure behaviour then we can justifiably say that the organism has not learnt. If on the other hand, the pre- experience exposure behaviour is different either in quantity or in quality (or both) from the organism’s post-experience exposure behaviour, then we can justifiably regard this as learning. This is a change in behaviour which would constitute learning if such a change in behaviour is permanent. Experience We can regard experience as a product of an organism’s interaction with a given stimulus impinging on that organism. Here the term interaction implies that while the organism is reacting to the given stimulus, this same stimulus is also simultaneously reacting to the organism. Before this reciprocal reaction (interaction) takes place, this organism must be exposed to the said stimulus in such a way that this stimulus impinge on the organism. Broadly speaking it can be said that experience emanates from the quality and quantity of the organism’s interaction with the environment and associated with the organism’s exposure to the components of the environment within which the organism finds itself. This exposure could be either direct or indirect. When direct, psychologists refer to the experience as being direct or first-hand experience. If it is indirect, it is referred to as indirect or vicarious experience (second-hand or third-hand experience). It is this experiential exposure that brings about the desired 3 permanent change in behaviour that constitutes learning. Obviously, direct or first hand experience leads to better learning than indirect or vicarious experience. What Learning Is Not? Perhaps to understand better what learning is, it may be helpful to examine what learning is not. We shall identify what learning is not by using the key words in the definition of learning as reference terms. Our definition of learning emphasizes the importance of change in behaviour that is associated with experience. In other words learning implies change in behaviour. Thus if a learner’s behaviour before experience (let us call this the learner’s pre-experience behaviour) does not indicate any significant difference in the learner’s behaviour after the said experience (let us call this the learner’s post-experience behaviour) then no learning has taken place. Put in a clear way, if a group of students enter a class with certain pre-entry behaviour stand and after a systematic exposure to a teacher’s pedagogic (teaching) experience, come out of the teacher’s class still assuming the same pre-entry behaviour stand, then it can be said that such students have not learned because their pre-entry behaviours are exactly the same with their post-entry behaviour. They have added nothing and they have dropped nothing and we can justifiably say that they have learned nothing. For learning to have been assumed taken place, there must be a significant change in the behaviour of the individual learner, traceable to the individual’s exposure to a particular experimental phenomenon. Again, mere change in the behaviour of the individual may not always indicate that learning has actually taken place. It all depends! For example, if there is an observed change in the behaviour of an individual but this change cannot be traceable to the individuals exposure to a particular previous experience then such a behavioral change cannot be strictly regarded as constituting learning. An example of such a change in behaviour that is not permanent that readily come to mind is a situation when an individual experiences a change in behaviour as a result of having drunk some alcohol or drug. Daily observations have shown that when an individual has taken some appreciable quantity of alcohol, he or she readily displays a marked and significant change in his or her behaviour. But this behavioral change is by no means permanent. It is only temporal —lasting for about three hours before the effects of the alcohol subside. As long as this change in behaviour is temporal (no matter how impressive) such a change in behaviour should not be regarded as learning even though it has arisen from experience — alcohol experience, it must however be clearly indicated that the initial walking behaviour of a newly hatched chick does not constitute- learning in the strict psychological sense of the term. (For examples although both boys and girls walk and both rich and poor people walk but girls have a feminine style of walking different from the style of 4 boys, and rich people have a stylistic way of walking to display some air of superiority, akin to people who usually walk in less advertising style. As the cock makes subsequent crows after the initial un-learnt crowing, it listens to other cocks crowing and then begins to improve on the initial rather crude crowing. This relatively improved style of crowing as compared with the initial crowing can be regarded as having been learnt. A Classic Example of Learning We have examined so far what learning is not. We will examine what one can regard as a classic example of what learning is. Again, our identification of what learning is per se will be determined vis—a-vis the key words associated with the definition of learning- permanent change in behaviour and experience. Okoye (1981, 1983) has cited a classic example of what really constitutes learning when he described the adventures of a crawling child who saw fire for the first time in his/her life, and was attracted to the fire because of its attractive colour, warmth and fantastic glowing appearance. The child moved towards the “charming” fire. This behaviour has been regarded by psychologists as “adient behaviour’ -an approach behaviour towards fire which can be regarded as the child’s initial behaviour on seeing fire - the child’s pre-entry behaviour to fire. On reaching the fire according to Okoye (1981 and 1983), this child innocently stretched his hand to touch the apparently attractive fire and of course was burnt and quickly withdraw his hand and started running away from this fire. This running-away behaviour is what psychologists call post entry behaviour, referred to as abient behaviour (avoidant behaviour). This child displayed two conflicting behaviours — adient behaviour at tie pre-entry stage and abien behaviour at the post-entry stage. Obviously, this is child’s pre-entry behaviour (adience) and his post-entry behaviour. Tomorrow and in other days and in fact throughout life when this burnt child sees fire, he will run away from it, hence the change in the child’s behaviour from adient to abient behaviour. Finally, this permanent change in the behaviour of the crawling child towards fire arose from the child’s exposure to fire-burning experience. The three conditions needed for learning to be confirmed as having taken place have been observed - there was a change in behaviour of the child signified by the child’s change of behaviour from initial adient behaviour to subsequent wisdom — after event behaviour that is abient. This change in behaviour is also permanent since this child developed negative abient behaviour towards fire — a behaviour that he would continue to display all through his life. In fact this abient behaviour would be manifested in the presence of other objects which share certain qualities and properties like fire in obedience to the principle of stimulus-response generalization. Thus, if the English proverb “a burnt child dreads fire” can be used to refer to a learning phenomenon, the Igbo proverb that says “once stung 5 by a bee, the stung child dreads a blue-bottle fly?’ Blue bottle fly of course is harmless but because it shares many qualities and properties with a bee and of course the child stung by a bee naturally generalizes his fear of the bee to the harmless blue-bottle fly, this child now fears the blue bottle fly. Summary Learning as a concept belongs initially to Psychology, although it is of great concern to Psychology and Education as independent disciplines. Learning as a Psychological concept is broader than learning as a concept in Education. Learning has been defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour arising from experience. This is a psychological definition of learning as distinct from learning as an educative process. Basing on the key words used in the definition of learning, what learning isn’t has been discussed vis-à-vis a change in behaviour that must be permanent and must have arisen from some previous exposure to related experience. Following the same pattern, the course unit discusses a classic example of what learning is citing a case of crawling child exposed to fire burning experience and who eventually learnt to dread not only fire but anything having the resemblance or appearance of fire - A burnt child dreads fire and a child stung by a bee fears a blue-bottle fly. Assignment 1. Write down your attitude about a particular person before you come in close contact with him or her. Now write down your attitude about the same person again after you have become familiar with him or her. What do you observe? Is your attitude about the person still the same or not? 2. Make a close study of a new born baby and take note of behaviours which this baby displays which you think are: a. learning and b. not learning. 3. Indicate three experiences which you think influenced your behaviours tremendously in life and how. Post-Test 1. Learning is: a. what takes place only in school b. what brings about any change in behaviour c. what brings about a relatively permanent change in behavior arising from experience 6 d. what brings about change in behaviour with or without previous experience. 2. Learning is a phenomenon which is displayed by: a. only human beings b. only animals c. only trained animals d. both human beings and animals 3. Learning cannot take place: a. in the absence of a teacher b. in the absence of experience c. in the absence of a book d. in the absence of instruction 4. Which of the following behaviours constitute learning? a. a burnt child dread fare b. a newly hatched chick starts walking c. a young cock crows for the first time d. a new born baby sucks the mother’s breast milk at birth. 5. A child injected in hospital by a nurse in a white dress begins to fear white cloth. This is a case of: a. onset of childhood insanity b. onset of perceptual disease in early childhood c. onset of stimulus — response generalization in children. d. onset of brain damage. References Borger, R and Seaborne, A.E.M., (1977) The Psychology of Learning. New York: Penguin Books. Burton, W. H. (1962) The Guidance of I earning Activities. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts Inc. Hill, W.F., (1978) Learning: A Survey of Psychological Interpretations. London: Methuen. Hintzman, D.L., (1978) The Psychology of Learning and Memory. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company. Hulse, S.H. et al, (1980) The Psycholoy of Learning. London: Kogakusha Limited. 7 Okoye, N.N., (1981) The Psychology’ of Effective Learning. Ibadan: Department of Guidance and Counseling (Monograph) Okoye, N.N., (1987) Psychological Facilitation of Human Learning (University of Ibadan 3rd Faculty Lecture). Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press Ltd. Okoye, N.N., (1983) Psychological Theories of Learning. Owerri: Lindston Press Limited., 8 LECTURE TWO Factors Affecting Human Learning 1 Introduction Man and animals possess the necessary ability for learning. In other words, they are potential learners. However, certain factors within and outside the learner determine how effectively each individual learns. These factors are referred to as ‘organismic’ factors if they lie within the organism; and if they lie outside the organism, they are referred to as external factors. These two are the main sources or factors influencing the quality and quantity of learning which an individual learner can experience. When organismic factors interact with external factors in a given organism, such interaction leads to the development of an individual’s phenotype. This phenotypic effect accounts for the quality and quantity of civilization which a particular individual can generate. We shall now discuss these two sources of factors affecting learning in human beings. Objectives This lecture treats various facts that affect human learning with particular reference to organismic factors. At the end of this lecture, you should be able to: 1. identify various organism factors that affect human learning; 2. explain the role of intelligence in human learning; 3. analyze the role of personality factors in human learning; 4. explain the various conduction units under which the learner operates; and discuss the role of locus of control and emotion in human learning. 9 Pre-Test 1. Which of the following factors affecting human learning are organismic? a. the learner’s books b. the learner’s emotions c. the learner’s parents d. the learner’s race. 2. Self-concept refers to the way a. we perceive other people’s abilities, capabilities and potentialities. b. we perceive children’s abilities, capabilities and potentialities c. we perceive our own abilities, capabilities and potentialities d. we perceive our teacher’s abilities, capabilities and potentialities. 3. “Your name may affect your learning’ was an idea put forward by a. Ausubel b. Binet c. Jahoda d. Thorndike 4. Teachable moment in the process of Leaning refers to a. assimilation moment b. maturational moment c. motivational moment d. reinforcement moment. 5. Einstellung effect refers to a. effect of alcohol on human learning b. effect of attitude on human learning c. effect of intelligence on human learning d. effect of sickness on human learning. CONTENT Organismic Factors Affecting Learning When we talk of organismic factors affecting learning we are referring to those factors which lie inside the learner (organism) which affect the organism’s learning. Chief among these factors are intelligence, personality, and individual’s attitudes, and others. These factors determine the inherent traits and determinants of learning that arc deeply rooted in the individual organism. As such, these factors naturally differ from one individual to the other hence different 10 individuals react differently to learning exposure. Thus, people with high level of intelligence measured out in terms of 10 will (all things being equal) perform better in learning tasks than an individual with a lower level of intelligence. Similarly, certain personality traits affect learning differently either positively or negatively. So also is age an important factor affecting human learning. This is because the condition of the age of the learner determines how well or not such individual will learn. In spite of some heated arguments as regards the effect of sex on human learning, it has been proved by research studies that while male and female learners do not differ in their intellectual makeup because of differences in sex per se, it has been found that there are areas and aspects of learning and types of learning tasks which a particular learner performs better because of certain neurological or physiological make-ups which arc part of being either male or female. Intelligence and Human Learning By far the most important tool for learning is the intelligence. It is one of the organismic factors affecting learning. Our intelligence is what we inherit from our parents at the time of our conception. At the time of our conception, our parents donate to us 23 chromosomes each (making a total of 46 chromosomes) which are fundamental to our initial existence as human beings. Perhaps it may be very useful to understand what we really mean by intelligence. It must be admitted that it is not easy to find a consensus on the definition of intelligence. While Binet sees intelligence as a measure of performance on many kinds of tests, Terman sees it as ability we carry on abstract thinking. Even such a shallow definition of intelligence as “what intelligence tests measure” was put forward by Boring. Wechsler defined intelligence as, “the aggregate or global capacity of an individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with his environment.” Although this definition has been criticized in some quarters as being too global and less specific, it has given us at least a working guide when examining the rather enigmatic concept of intelligence. As Okoye (1981) has put it “Intelligence has intelligently defined definition. Perhaps, it may be more rewarding for us to concentrate on how intelligence affects human learning. But before we do this, we have to understand how an individual’s intelligence level can be determined. This is important because people concerned with the sensitive work associated with human training and human engineering need to have same idea about how intelligent, the people they are dealing with, are. This will help them to know how to handle each individual without either overstretching or under-utilizing the individual’s intellectual capacities, abilities and potentials. 11 Measurement of Human Intelligence Alfred Binet has given a formula for measuring an individual’s level of intelligence using Intelligence Tests devised by him. The formula runs thus: IQ = MA x l00 CA 1 Where I.Q = Intelligence Quotient M.A. = Mental Age C.A. = Chronological Age Thus, the 1Q of a child who is 10 years old (chronologically) who can successfully perform an Intelligence Test meant for people of the mental age of 15, would be calculated thus: 15 x 100 = 150 10 1 This means that this child has an IQ level of 150, which according to Sperling (1979) qualifies him to be regarded as gifted child. If on the other hand another child of the same 10 chronological years of age can only perform no more than the Intelligence Test meant for 6 year old. This would be calculated as 6 x lOO = 60 10 1 This means that the child qualifies to be classified as a moron according to Sperling (1979). Research studies have found that the more intelligent a person is the more likely he is or she is to learn better than the less intelligent person (other things being equal). In other words, the quality of human learning is determined by the level of intelligence of the learner. Personality and Human Learning Although we are all members of the thinking and reasoning beings popularly referred to as homo- sapiens, we differ as individuals. This difference from one person to the other has been regarded as arising from individual personality make-up. According to Heim (1974), while discussing the concept of personality of an individual refers to it as the “(non-arithmetic) total of all characteristics which gives him his individuality and distinguishes him as a person identifiably different from all other persons, just as everyone’s handwriting differs from 12 everyone else’s so does his personality. She goes on to describe personality as ‘the combination of all the traits, sentiments, aptitudes; prejudices; emotions; attitudes; moods; self- perceptions; abilities; interests, skills, recollections; desires, ambitions and manners which make up the individual”. In other words your personality is the sum of all your characteristics and attitudes that make you the person you are and not just another person. Heim’s (1974) definition of personality will serve a useful purpose in our discussion of personality and human learning but the definition has succeeded in bringing so many traits and factors that are sub-summed in personality. As she pointed out, the list of the components of personality mentioned in her definition of personality is by no means complete and that it could be added to indefinitely As such in our discussion of how personality affects human learning, we have to select only very important key components of the various traits and factors of personality. Self - Concept and Human Learning Self-concept is an aspect of human personality which is concerned with the way an individual perceives his or her self; it is a sort of self perception which can be either high (positive) or low (negative). Our self concept level is said to be high or positive if we perceive our selves, our capabilities, abilities and potentialities very favourably. This means that we have a very favourable opinion about ourselves. It is a case of low self concept, if we perceive ourselves negatively as inferior and unable to perform in terms of our capabilities, abilities and potentialities. Research studies have found that people with high or positive self- concept perform better in learning tasks than people with low or negative self- concept. This is because your self-concept provides the background out of which an individual sizes him or herself up in terms of what he or she can do or cannot do. This self appraisal stands either to encourage or discourage an individual facing a task to be performed or facing a problem to be solved. Names given to individuals affect their performance by way of determining the level of their self- concept. Okoye (1981) made reference to the studies of Jahoda, using Ghana children to determine the influence of names given to children on their formation of self-concept. Jahoda’s findings are congruent with those of Kendler which asserted that a child who is always made to believe that he is incompetent or never- do-well will accept this picture of himself and operate incompetently. Okoye (1981) carried this assertion to African names which convey deep seated psychological and inspirational meanings to the persons bearing such names. He commented on Shakespearean saying ‘that, rose called by another name still smells sweet” arguing that in African setting, a person who has been given a particular name and has the name changed might after all not “smell as sweet”, or 13 have the same inspirational connotative meaning and may not evoke the same psychological and philosophical fillip as the original name (Okoye 1981). The Will Power and Human Learning Part of an individual personality make-up is his or her will power. The will power provides the much needed determination to continue with whatever we have decided to do in spite of all odds, till we achieve the desired success. Will power can be either strong or weak. A strong will power refers to will power that does not shake or waver in the face of difficulties in the pursuit of a desired target. The motto for such a strong willed person is “Forward ever, backward never”. A person with weak will power lacks the tenacity and determination to continue in spite of all hazards and odds till the desired goal is reached. A person with weak will power is more likely to break his promises and decisions any moment unlike the person with strong will power who sticks stubbornly to a promise or decision taken with a sense of commitment and devotion. Since the process of learning involves taking decision to pursue a topic of study to its logical conclusion and in spite of difficulties, failures and mistakes, it stands to reason, that the strong willed person will perform better in learning tasks than the weak willed person. This is particularly true of such difficult courses “like Mathematics, .Statistics and other difficult ones which need determination, perseverance and painstaking search for success. It is pertinent to add that an individual who has a high self concept and strong will power will perform fantastically well in a learning encounter, in contrast with a person with a low self concept and weak will. Sensory Perceptual Modalities and Human Learning Our various sensory modalities arc the instruments by which we perceive the various stimuli around us. The quality and quantity of our learning would in part depend on how effective and efficient our various perceptual modalities are. These five sensory modalities are eyes for visual perception; ears for auditory perception; nose for olfactory perception; tongue for gustatory perception and the fingers and body for tactile perception. Through these modalities we become aware of various stimuli around us through a mental process referred to as perception. Research studies and observations have shown that combined use of two or more of these sensory modalities produces better quality of learning than would be the case where only one modality is used. It is therefore obvious that faulty sensory modalities will lead to poor sensory perception and eventual poor learning. 14 Human Learning and Maturation When we were discussing the role of intelligence in human learning, we saw that human intelligence is one of the hereditary traits which affect human learning. Psychologists have found that hereditary traits are unfolded in a given individual through what is variously referred to as either maturation or functional maturity or by others as functional readiness (Okoye, 1981). Hurlocks has asserted that maturation is the raw material for learning and behavioural patterning. It is also referred to as the “teachable moment when the individual is really ready and willing to learn”. (Okoye 1981). Maturation according to Okoye (1981) “determines when to and when not to start learning Maturation therefore is a personality trait that affects learning. Pupils, who are not yet maturationally ready to learn and in spite of this state of unreadiness are forced to learn, will not learn satisfactorily. It is like making an unwilling horse to drink against its will. Parents who in their emotional bid to get their children into higher classes will sooner or later find that such children may not learn well, their parental pushing and rushing notwithstanding. This reminds us of the findings of Thorndike as regards the categories of conduction unit. He identified three categories of conduction units as follows: Conduction Unit One: Under this condition of maturational state, the organism is ready to learn and the environment is also cooperative. Obviously, learning will be high in this type of maturational state. Conduction Unit Two: Under this unit, the organism is ready to learn but the environment is not willing to cooperate. Obviously the level of learning to be attained by this particular organism will be very low. Conduction Unit Three Finally, the third possible conduction unit is a state of maturation where the individual organism is not ready to learn even though the environment is cooperative. Like in Conduction link Two, the level of learning will also be relatively low. These Thorndikean categorizations of maturational conduction unit states subsumed the need for careful placement of learners in class within their reach and sending them to school not on emotional grounds but on readiness qualifications. It also implies that effective learning is a joint partnership affair where both the learner and teacher must be ready to cooperate in order to benefit from the learning - teaching exposure. 15 Human Learning and Attitudes: Okoye (1983) has cited Aliport’s (1935) definition of attitude as “a mental or neural state of readiness organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related, in simple straight-forward explanation, attitudes can be regarded as the mental pre-disposition arising from a previous experimental exposure. Attitudes shape the individual towards a particular line of action and colour our perception of situations to which our attitudes are directed. For example, our attitudes can colour relatively simple tasks as very difficult tasks and vice versa. This attitudinal colouration will eventually shape individual perceiver’s assessment of the difficulty or otherwise of the perceived task. Such a coloured perception will no doubt affect the way and manner this individual perceiver will react to the task or any other object (stimulus) being perceived. Katz (1960) has observed that attitudes satisfy four basic human needs. These needs he argued are satisfied through four basic functions being performed by attitudes. These functions are associated with: i. helping the individual understand the environment meaningfully; ii. helping the individual achieve some adjustive and utilitarian needs peculiar to the individual; iii. helping the individual boost and maintain his or her ego and self concept at high level and finally ; and iv. helping the individual to achieve, consciously or unconsciously some satisfactory level of self-identity leading to what Oskamp (1977) has referred to as the function of attitude in achieving. “value expression”. German psychologists have also found that an individual’s attitudes affect his or her quality of learning. Thus, positive attitudes towards certain courses being learnt or certain tasks being solved will favourably aid learning of the courses or the solution of the tasks. Conversely, negative attitudes towards the courses we study and tasks we perform will lead to our poor and unsatisfactory performance in such courses and tasks. This attitudinal effect on learning has been referred to as Einstellung effect. Daily experiences do show that many Nigerian school children develop very negative attitude towards mathematics as a school course and subsequently they have not been performing well in mathematics whether we think of daily classroom performance or of their performance at examinations. Pointing out this role of attitude towards pupil’s performance in certain school courses, Okoye (1985) argued that “pupils are fond of categorizing school courses into liked and disliked courses, a categorization which in many cases extends to the teachers “(p88). It is therefore obvious that when pupils regard both the course and the teacher who teaches it as annovers, not only will the pupil 16 dislike the said course but there is a likelihood of this pupil disliking the idea of going to school which both the teacher and the course he teaches symbolize. Such pupils who dislike the course, the teacher associated with the course and the school system will no doubt turn to be veritable truants. This fact has been pointed out by Ausubel (1963) and Mitchel and Shepard (1967) as cited by Okoye (1984) in his study on the implications of knowledge of school location and incidence of truancy for teachers in service training using no less than 12,990 Nigerian primary school pupils whose ages ranged between 6 and 12 years. Locus of Control and Human Learning The way we attribute the source of factors controlling our behaviours, actions and either achievements or failures affect our quality of learning. Julian Rotter carried out extensive studies on this personality trait usually referred to as locus of control. Rotter identified two dimensions of locus of control — External and Internal loci of control. External Locus of Control This refers to a type of locus of control situation in which an individual attributes his or her behavioural outcomes to external significant forces. These external forces may be spiritual beings like God, or the devil or the spirit of dead ancestors or other spirits, or they may refer to luck (good or bad luck) or to unidentifiable forces. Thus, a person who is external in locus of control usually blames significant others for his or her failure to achieve and so consciously or unconsciously claims a sort of psychological alibi as responsible for his or her failures or non-achievement On the other hand the person who is externally oriented in locus of control usually maintains that his or her success and achievements should not be attributed to his or her efforts but to either sheer luck or to divine intervention. Obviously to assume extreme positions in both loci stands will make the individual not recognize his or her strengths and shortcomings. Non recognition of these will make him or her develop a sort of extreme resignative stand to life that may eventually negate hard work and individual efforts and struggles in order to achieve. If this trend is not arrested it may lead an individual into developing a sort of predestinate attitude to life. Internal Locus of Control This refers to the type of locus of control situation where an individual attributes the sources of his or her behavioural outcomes to himself or herself. In other words a person who is internally oriented in locus of control accepts full responsibility for his or her success or failure. Thus if he or she passes or fails an 17 examination, he or she believes that he or she must be responsible for either passing or failing. In the case of failure or non-performance the internally - oriented individual as regards locus of control will start a sort of self analysis in order to detect sources of his or her failure or non-performance. Such a locus of control stand will help the individual engage in meaningful remediation in order to pass in future and avoid a repeat non-performance. As Shakespeare has put it, “The fault with us is not in our stars but in us”. Such wise sayings as “As you make your bed, so you lie”. You are the architect of your own fortune; “Fortune favours the brave;” and that “Success is 99% hard work and 1% luck; emphasize the importance of assuming the internally oriented locus of control stand in all we do. Obviously people who are more internally-oriented than externally- oriented in locus of control learn better than people who are more inclined towards externality of locus of control. Emotions and Human Learning Emotions are part of our personality make-up that determine the direction and intensity of our actions and behaviours. They give colour to our perceived stimuli and thus prepare the ground for the direction and intensity of our reaction to such perceived stimuli. Emotions are responsible for the generation of interest, anxiety, joy, delight, etc. as well as their contrary emotional feelings of dislike, sadness etc. At moderate quantities, emotions facilitate learning and other human activities. But when they are overdosed in an individual, they may lead to individual disorganization. For example, a little dosage of anxiety keeps the learners alert and active while over-anxiety actually becomes a negating factor in human learning and performance. Summary Learning is a phenomenon which human beings exhibit. Certain factors determine how individuals learn. These factors may be within the learner or outside the learner. Factors lying within the learner are referred to as organismic factors while factors lying outside the learner are treated as external factors. When organismic factors interact with the external factors, the result will be the production of the individual’s phenotype. Intelligence is seen as the chief of organismic factors affecting learning. The sex of the learner per se does not make for any difference in human learning; however, there are certain neurological differences between male and female learners that account for the way male and female pupils learn. Thus, girls sing better than boys; dance better and walk in a more stylistic way than boys. 18 Again it was seen that cultural inhibitions also can adversely affect the learning performance of the particular sex being discriminated against. The role of intelligence in human learning was discussed touching on such topics as self-concept, will power, sensory perceptual modes, maturation (with particular reference to Thorndikean concept of conduction units), attitudes, locus of control and emotions. Assignment 1. Mention some organismic factors which affect human learning. 2. Teach some children how to perform some simple task. Now after having taught them this, test them on how to perform the task. Record their performance. What differences do you observe? 3. Get the pupils in a school to write down their attitudes towards different courses they do in school. Compare their individual attitudes to these courses with their individual performances in these courses. Post-Test 1. Which of the following factors affecting human learning are organismic? a. the learner’s books b. the learner’s emotions c. the learner’s parents d. the learner’s race. 2. Self-concept refers to the way a. we perceive other people’s capabilities and potentialities. b. we perceive children’s abilities, capabilities and potentialities c. we perceive our own abilities, capabilities and potentialities d. we perceive our teacher’s abilities, capabilities and potentialities. 3. “Your name may affect your learning” was an idea put forward by a. Ausubel b. Binet c. Jahoda d. Thorndike 19 4. Teachable moment in the process of learning refers to a. assimilation moment b. maturational moment c. motivational moment d. reinforcement moment. 5. Einstellung effect refers to a. effect of alcohol on human learning b. effect of attitude on human learning c. effect of intelligence on human learning d. effect of sickness on human learning. References Allport, G.W., (1935) Attitudes. In C Murchison (Ed); A Handbook of Social Psychology. Worcester Mass; Clark University Press, 798 – 844. Ausubel, D. P., (1963) The Psychology of Meaningful Verbal Learning: An introduction to School Learning. New York and Stratton. Heim, A. (1974) Intelligence and Personality. Katz, D. (1981) The Functional Approach to the Study of Attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly, 24, 163 - 204. Okoye, N.N. (1981) Psychology of Effective Learning. Ibadan: Adedara Publishers Limited. Okoye, N. N. (1983) Psychological Concept of Attitude: Its Use In Education. In E.O. Atolagbe (Ed). The Use of Psychology In Modern Nigeria, Vol.111, 70- 79. Okoye, N. N. (1984) The implication of Knowledge of School Location and Incidence of Truancy for Teacher In-Service Training In E,E. Ezewu (Ed). Teacher In-Service Education in Nigeria (Policy implications Needs, Appraisals and Strategies) Ibadan: Curriculum Organization of Nigeria (Ibadan Chapter), 62 - 75. Okoye, N.N., (1985) Nigerian Pupils’ Liked and Disliked Courses At The Primary School Level. In M.A. Mkpa, et al (Eds) Issues In Curriculum Evaluation And Vocational Education In Nigeria. Ibadan: Curriculum Organization of Nigeria Monographs series No.1., 81 – 92. Oskamp, S. (1977) Attitudes and Opinions. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 20 LECTURE THREE Factors Affecting Human Learning II Introduction In the preceding lecture, we examined how certain organismic factors affect human learning. These organismic factors are innate to the organism or learner and account mainly for the uniqueness of an individual and the subtle differences that exist between one individual and another. In this lecture, we are going to discuss other factors that also affect human learning but which lie outside the organism. These factors are not part and parcel of the organism’s innate make-up but are various stimuli existing on their own but which impinge on the organism. The organism having become aware of the existence of such impinging stimuli, also in turn react towards such stimuli. It is this double way process of stimuli, impinging on the organism, and the organism reacting to the stimuli that produces what is regarded as experience which according to our definition of learning in lecture 1, is the sine qua non for learning. Environment therefore affects human learning for better or for worse because it plays this vital role of generating heuristic experience. Objectives This lecture is aimed at introducing the student to the concept of External Factors affecting human learning. At the end of this lecture the student should be able to: 1. identity various external factors affecting human learning 2. distinguish between genotypic and phenotypic factors affecting human learning 3. explain the role of societal and cultural factors on human learning 4. explain how the home and its contents affect human learning. 21 Pre-Test 1. An individual’s phenotype refers to a. his genetic endowments. b. his physiognomic make-up c. the interactional effect between the genotype and his environment d. the interactional effect between his emotion and nutrition. 2. The genotype of an individual refers to a. the generating force b. the product of his genetic endowments c. the phenotype of an individual d. the age determining factor in an individual 3. Intelligence A refers to a. first class intelligence b. intelligence possessed by first born c. intelligence that has not been stimulated enough d. intelligence that has been stimulated enough 4. Intelligence B refers to a. first class intelligence b. second class intelligence c. intelligence of second born d. intelligence that has been stimulated. 5. Various situational make-up which is concerned with the mental well- being of the individual can be called a. physical environment b. psychic environment c. psychological environment d. physiotherapeutic environment CONTENT Environment and Human Learning We shall now discuss how environment affects learning; Environment can be regarded as any of external impingement on an organism. The source may either be physical or psychological. Sources that impinge on the organism include the home, and the social and material as well as psychological contents; the society and all that it contains; the school and its social and material and psychological 22 components. These sources can be broadly broken into physical and psychological- leading to the eventual categorization of environment into physical and psychological environment. Both the physical and psychological environments affect learning either positively or negatively depending on the type of influence the environment has on a particular organism. Physical Environment and Human Learning In the first instance, the home, the school and the society in their structural make- up constitute physical environment which impinge on an organism in this regard, they generate physical influences that affect learning either positively or negatively depending of course on the nature of the generated influences. Besides the material and physical contents of the home, the school and the society also exert their various physical influences on the organism within their reach. The Home and Human Learning Homes which contain separate well furnished apartments for study will affect learning better than homes lacking such facilities. Similarly, the lighting system, the ventilation system, citing of the home, and the inmates of the home, the various contents of the home will in no doubt affect the, quality of learning that organisms within the said home will experience. Thus, if the home is planned in such a way as to have library or even a book shelf, such a home will have high level of learning facilitation compared with a home which has no such heuristic facilities. Provision of adequate lights and adequate ventilatory facilities in a home will facilitate human learning while on the other hand homes in which the lighting system or provision is very poor; where the air is stuffy and insipid will no doubt have adverse effect on the learning gains of the inmates of such homes. Again, the citing of the home determines how the inmates of the home will learn. If for example, the home is cited in the noisy parts of the city, it is clear that unwanted noises and sounds will constitute very serious distraction to learners within such homes. In contrast, learners living in cool noiseless zones will learn better (other things being equal); It is pertinent to examine the role of the human inmates of the home as either facilitating or negating learning. If the people with whom the learner lives in the home are cooperative in helping the learner to learn, using languages that can be modelled or imitated by the learner, disturbing the learner less, and making judicious chore assignments to learners in such a way that the discharge of such house chore assignments will not adversely affect the learning experience of the learner, the learner is bound to learn better. Above all, the socio-economic status of the parents or guardians of the learner will affect how the learner learns 23 and what he- or she learns. It has also been observed that family size affects the learning performance of children in the homes (Majoribanks 1974). ‘When we talk of the home, we usually think of the nourishment which the home provides for people living inside it. For example, as soon as a child is born, the mother’s breast is already there to nourish the child. The mother’s breast milk has been found to be the best food for the child. Psychologists and nutritionists emphasize the importance of feeding the new born baby on his mother’s breast milk as the mother’s breast milk provides the best nourishment for the healthy growth and development of the intelligence of the child. A such, it is warned that the new born child be fed on his mother’s breast milk for at least the first four months of post-natal life to ensure healthy intellectual growth and development. Apart from feeding on the mother’s breast milk, good feeding and nutrition ensure healthy body that would maintain healthy intelligence and brain needed for effective learning. Malnutrition therefore will lead to poor learning. The School and Human Learning Although learning can occur outside the school, daily observations have proved that the school is a place specifically and specially prepared for human learning facilitation. The citing of the school, its material components, chairs, chalk- boards, books, teachers and fellow pupils make the school an ideal place for human learning. Research studies are unanimous in identifying the heuristic value of the school. That the school’s physical environment provides very conducive condition for human learning puts nobody in doubt, It is therefore clear that the school constitutes the necessary physical factors affecting human learning. The Society and Human Learning The society in which a learner finds himself and its associated cultural orientation affect the quality and quantity of human learning going on in that society. The various stimuli lying within the society either facilities or negate human learning. Thus, the availability of educational institutions; study facilitates; societal status (in terms of urbanity and rurality), the quality and quantity of interpersonal interactions existing in the society; the level of sophistication or primitively of the society and various activities going on within the society affect human learning within the society. Where a society lacks educational institutions, learning of her citizens will suffer, in the same way, a society that has made provision for effective study facilitates will produce better learners than would be the case in a society that lacks such facilities. Urban areas with their high culture; various advertisement posters; mass-media services; and larger population interaction (than would be the case in rural areas) provide better physical environment setting for human learning than rural areas. It must however be 24 pointed out that while urban areas provide better facilities for school learning especially of the academic type, rural areas also facilities learning in nature- oriented learning experiences; farm life learning, experiences; and the learning of society’s traditional cultural norms, and style of life than would be the case in urban areas; It is not out of place to mention here the possible effects of cultural disadvantaged or deprived society on human learning. Such disadvantages and deprivations will no doubt lead to poor learning of the citizens of such a society. So also is the case where in a society, superstitious beliefs pervade the system which normally negate modern scientific and technological education, leading to poor learning. So far, we have been examining the effects of physical environment on the quality and quantity of learning which the citizens of a given society experience. The Concept of Phenotype and Human Learning While the inherent and innate characteristics of an individual which relate to this individual’s genetic endowments (gene donations), produce what arc referred to as genotype of that particular individual, we shall now examine the concept of phenotype as they affect human learning. Having possessed the necessary genotypic traits for human activities, behavioural manifestations and learning, the human organism there tries to use his or her God-given intelligence (sub-summed in his genotype) to interact with the environment. This interaction of genotypic factors with the environment does not only improve the intellectual life of the individual but also does help the production of what psychologists usually refer to as Phenotype. One’s phenotype can be regarded as the interactional effect between one’s genotype and one’s environmental setting. It is this phenotypic factors that help mankind to come off his or her crude civilization and bring about a higher level of culture and civilization. Skemps has clearly shown how our undeveloped intelligence (a genotypic factor) can be regarded merely as intelligence A while the interactional effect of intelligence and the environment would produce our phenotype. He regarded this intelligence which is operating at the phenotypic level as intelligence B. Functionally, intelligence B holds greater civilization hope for mankind while Intelligence A is only concerned with simple biogenic needs, that will keep body and soul together i.e. to satisfy what Maslow (1954) regards as physiological needs. Psychological Environment and Human Learning Psychological environment refers to various situational make-ups which are concerned with the mental well-being of the individual. In discussing the effect of such psychological environment on human learning, we have to use our usual three dimensional categorization of physical environments affecting human 25 learning: The home (and psychological effect on human learning ;) — The School and the Society (and their Psychological Effect on Human Learning.) The Home and Psychological Human Learning So far, we have been discussing various physical factors that affect human learning. We shall now discuss psychological impact which the home has on human learning. Apart from the physical need being satisfied in the individual by the home, the home also provides some psychological stimulation which includes warm reception and treatment of the people living in it; Permissive and understanding parents and guardians provide better stimulating environment for learning than parents and guardians who are authoritarian, autocratic and repressive. Besides, homes in which encouraging and positive remarks are made will help learning better than in homes where people are always blamed, discouraged and destructively criticized. Above all, it stands to reason that a home which provides conducive psychological climate and atmosphere will promote human learning better than homes which are full of squabbles, bickering and interper
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