Learning means the acquisition of knowledge of the subject either through gaining knowledge of a certain skill or subject through experience or education. In addition, It can be defined as the acquisition of information about somebody or something. The definition of learning should acknowledge that teaching is an important tool for learning. Learning is a relatively permanent transformation of behavior that is as a result of practice (Atkinson et al. 45).
The advancement in the past one century has led to a shift from Industrial Age to Knowledge Age/Information Age. Being able to get, assimilate and use the right knowledge appropriately is becoming a great asset in this century. A person’s ability will not be determined only by qualifications acquired in the past but by the capability to learn and adapt in the future. Learning is not just for economic success but is the key to achieving a person’s full potential in life (Kolb 23).
The purpose of learning has of late shifted from being able to remember information or surface learning to being able to seek it and use it, otherwise known as deep learning. Recent cognitive psychology states that learning is not a receptive process but a constructive one. Understanding is achieved through interaction with the environment and experiences a person uses past knowledge to create new understanding. The learning cycle begins when a person interacts with the environment and the sensory information from that interaction is compared with previous knowledge (Kolb 24).
There are two approaches to learning namely ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ (Savin-Baden and Major 72). The surface approach to learning involves memorization and the learner’s aim is to complete the necessary learning skills. Surface approach focuses on facts with no integration and is usually unreflective. On the other hand, ‘deep’ approach to learning emphasizes the need for one to have an intention to learn. It involves interactions with content and relates new information to old ones while using concept to reflect on daily experiences. This approach allows people construct their own knowledge.
The main aim of learning is the acquisition and application of sophisticated approaches to thinking. For example, to a fresh college student the above statement may not have any serious meaning. Failing to understand the sophisticated meaning makes it difficult for one to know how to learn to do it. Learning is also a tool that allows for intellectual growth that is characterized as the progression from ignorant certainty to intelligent confusion (Wise et al., 111).
Intellectual growth starts with blind obedience to authority moving on to accepting uncertainty and the opinion that that all ideas have merit. Learning also helps in critical thinking which is important for sound reasoning. Critical thinking is a disciplined intellectual process of actively conceptualizing, synthesizing and applying information that is collected through observation, reflection, experience or communication to guide one’s beliefs or action. It is based on intellectual values that are universal and go beyond divisions of subject matter.
It is important for a person to think how his/her learning activities will affect his or her career, not only today, but also in the future. The decisions that are made today can really change the career options available to a person in the future.
Learning is important today because the world changing. Every now and then new laws are created that lead to the establishment of new policies. There is the constant emergence of new ideas, approaches, problems and solutions. The world is constantly evolving and changing, therefore, failure to continue learning means that one lags behind in information driven world. It is detrimental to continue carrying out roles the way it have been done in the past. Expectations change with time, therefore, we should adapt to emerging circumstances in order to be successful. Learning is much broader than training courses, it entails being clear on what is expected of us in our jobs to ensure practices of high quality. Learning also ensures that we have the skills and knowledge required to carry out our duties appropriately.
Apart from knowledge and skills, learning also contributes to values. For example, businessmen need to be aware of the importance of customer care. Learning does not only impart information about the new developments, but also a key provider of stimulation, job satisfaction and motivation (Wise et al., 112). For example, a person whose works place offers opportunities for learning and growth is more likely to have a greater feeling of job satisfaction than someone who has been in the same position for a long time just repeating the same work without growth or development. Learning should be viewed as something positive and important not just a process that we have to do to meet the expectations of others.
Therefore, learning is important since it helps people to keep up with changing developments and trends in our field. It gives stimulation and job satisfaction and helps in keeping us up to date and reduces the chances of making errors. Learning is, therefore, not seen as a burden above a heavy workload, but as something that should be welcomed as a way of performing effectively even with a heavy workload.
Atkinson, R.L., Atkinson, R.C., Smith, E.E., and Bem D J. Introduction to Psychology. Harcourt Brace, 1993. Print.
Kolb, D.A. Experiential Learning: Experience As The Source of Learning And Development. Prentice Hall, 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Jovanovich, 1984. Print.
Savin-Baden M., and Major C.H. Foundations of Problem-Based Learning. Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press. Berkshire, England: University Press, 2004. Print.
Wise, J., Lee, S.H., Litzinger, T.A., Marra, R.M., and Palmer, B. “Encouraging Intellectual Growth: Senior College Student Profiles.” Journal of Adult Development 11. (2004): 111-122. Print.