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Learning is a change in behavior through education, training, practice and experience. Learning is described as the process of having one’s behavior modified more or less permanently by what he does and the consequences of his action by what he observes.

If one want to explain and predict behavior, we need to understand how people learn. Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occur as a result of experience. Learning may be intentional or incidental. Motivation act as a spur to learning. Defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of prior experience.

Learning invariably involves a change, though not necessarily improvement in behavior. Change in behavior must be relatively permanent. Change in behaviour should occur as a result of experience, practice or training. Practice or experience must be reinforced in order for learning to occur. Learning is reflected in behaviour.

Theories of learning

Classical conditioning:

Ivan Pavlov, famous Nobel Prize winning psychologist. Theory deals with the association of one event with another desired event resulting in a desired behaviour or learning. Law of effect which states that behaviour can be learned by repetitive association between a stimulus and a response.

Operant Conditioning/ Reinforcement Theory:

Operant conditioning is defied as behavior that produces effect. Based on work of B.F.Skinner who advocated that individuals emit responses that are rewarded and will not emit responses that are either not rewarded or are punished. Behaviour is a function of consequences.


Meat was unconditional stimulus, it invariably causes dog to react in a specific way, i.e., noticeable increase in salivation. This reaction is called unconditional response. Classical conditioning at work place: occurs at work but it often is difficult to know when it is taking place; usually we cant identify or control conditioned stimuli that explains an employee’s behaviour.

Classical conditioning vs. operant conditioning:

Response is elicited as a specific stimulus is used to elicit a specific response. Response is emitted by the subject. Stimulus serves as a cue in operant conditioning. Responses are variables in types and degrees as against fixed response under classical conditioning. Emphasis in classical conditioning is upon involuntary responses, while in operant conditioning is upon voluntary response. Under classical conditioning, reinforcement is not received by choice of the individual. But in case of operant conditioning, individuals’ response is instrumental in securing reinforcement by operating on the environment.

Social Learning:

learning achieved through the reciprocal interactions between people, behavior and their environment. Learning is blend of both environmental determinism and individual determinism. Social learning can take place via :

Modelling or Vicarious learning:

learning by directly observing and

imitating others. The processes that determine the influence that a

model will have on individual: Attentional Process; Retention process; Motor Reproduction process; Reinforcement Process, Symbolism:


Fore thought Self efficiency

Shaping Behaviour

Manager moulds individuals by moulding their learning in graduated steps, he is shaping behaviour. A manager can shape behaviour by systematically reinforcing each successive step that moves the individual closer to the desired response.

Cognitive Learning:

achieved by thinking about the perceived relationship between

events and individual goals and expectations. cognition refers to an individual’s ideas, thoughts, knowledge, interpretations, understandings etc about himself and his environment.


Reinforcement is something which enhances the strength of the response and prompts repetitions of the behaviour that preceded reinforcement. Reinforcement is an external explanation of behaviour as compared to motivation which is an internal explanation. Reinforcement means anything that both increases the strength of response and tends to induce repetitions of the behaviour that preceded the reinforcement.

Strategies of Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement:

use of rewards that stimulate desired behaviour and strengthen the probability of repeating such behaviour in the future. can be primary or secondary Must meet two conditions: reward should be contingent upon the type of performance and reward should be matched with the needs of the worker.

Negative Reinforcement or Avoidance Learning:

Individual learns to avoid or escape from unpleasant consequences It avoids unpleasant tasks but does not assure a pleasant performance for which positive reinforcement is essential.

Schedules of Reinforcement

Fixed Interval Schedule: after expiration of a fixed time Ratio Interval Schedule: Time not fixed Fixed Ratio Schedule: After expiration of a fixed occurrence Variable Ratio Schedule: no. of occurrences are not fixed.


Based on principle that if a response is not reinforced, it will eventually disappear.


Specific undesired behaviour punished not person Punishment should be enough to extinguish the behaviour Should be administered privately Quickly follow the undesired behaviour Effective in modifying behaviour if it forces the person to select a desirable behaviour that is reinforced

Schedules of Reinforcement