Robert Gagné’s learning theory

Learning is the basic process by which
we acquire information from the outside or inside world to work with it later. The result of this process is knowledge, which allows a wide variety of behaviors, predictions and even to acquire new knowledge and cognitive patterns.

Learning is therefore a fundamental phenomenon that allows us to survive and adapt to the environment, being studied by many different disciplines and theoretical currents. One of the many theories that have emerged regarding the learning process is
Robert Gagné’s learning theory. And Jean Piaget was not the only one to speak of learning in a psychological way.

Learning for Robert Gagné

As we said, there are very different ways of understanding what learning is.

In the case of Robert Gagné’s learning theory, the result
the interrelation between the person and the environment, Being a change in behavioral, behavioral and even disposition or attitude type in relation to part or all of reality.

This change is maintained over time due to the interaction between the person and the environment, and is not only due to changes in maturation, but to experiencing and repeating experiences.

For Gagné, information reaches the nervous system via sensory receptors, for later
process and store in memory until retrieval is required. If this information matches any of the previous ones, it can easily be stored, but if not, it will be necessary to practice and repeat the learning.

Strong emotions and motivations facilitate (or hinder. As the case may be) this storage and subsequent retrieval.

The role of motivation in learning

When retrieving information, a situation or stimulus must occur that requires the use of stored learning, which, when faced with that stimulus, passes to a hypothetical internal response generator.
After passing through this generator, the behavior occurs, Take into account when choosing how to apply the level of control and one’s own expectations and those of others regarding the behavior and the goal or objective to be achieved.

Thus, motivation acts as a learning engine and at the same time creates more situations to put into practice what has been learned, as it creates more opportunities in which a situation is detected in which newly acquired skills can be helpful.

To learn, it is essential that there is motivation, Of any kind, so that the information is taken care of and processed. Otherwise, the information would not be recorded or knowledge would be generated. But what exactly do we learn?

What do we learn?

We don’t always learn the same kind of things. In fact, there is a wide variety of stimuli, situations, skills, and procedures of different types that we can acquire throughout life.

For Gagné, the wide variety of learning possibilities
they can be grouped into eight different types of learning: Learning the reaction to signals or reflexes, stimulus-response conditioned learning, the chaining of motor action sequences, verbal association, discrimination, learning and understanding of concepts, that of principles with the who structure the assessments made by the subject and problem solving.

The products of this learning are also classified into five broad categories.

1. Motor skills

Motor skills are essential to be able to act.

Training is needed to
get automated movement and can be performed with precision, especially in the case of behaviors that require following a sequence of actions.

2. Verbal information

This type of ability or learning is what refers to the ‘
process for transmitting information and storing specific data like names or memories.

3. Intellectual skills

These are the abilities they allow
capture, interpret and use cognitive elements in order to interpret reality, Including the ability to symbolize. These types of skills are very useful in distinguishing stimuli and associating symbolism and reality.

4. Cognitive skills and strategies

These types of skills refer to the cognitive processes we use to capture, analyze, work, and retrieve information. the same
it is linked to the choice of behaviors adaptive to the environment and their specific demands. Attention, response style or planning are several examples of this type of skill and, according to Gagné’s theory, they work at the same time.

5. Attitudes

Attitudes towards internal states that influence when they are taken into account
choose behaviors and behaviors towards specific situations, people or objects. These are, in short, predispositions which lean us more towards one option or another and which shape the way we behave.

learn can
change personal attitudesBut this change is gradual and gradual, learning is complex and must be reinforced for real and permanent change.

The stages of learning

Regardless of the type of knowledge, skill or disposition acquired, Gagné’s theory of learning views learning as a process that
it can be divided into different stages before acquiring knowledge. These steps or phases are as follows.

First phase: Motivation

The first phase of the learning process is the motivation phase. At this point, basically
a goal is set, drawing attention to it. This way we know where to turn our actions.

Second phase: apprehension

In this second phase, attention and selective perception processes are used.
when a change in a stimulus attracts attention and forces us to focus both physically and cognitively on it.

Third phase: acquisition

Although the previous phases are mainly based on the fixation of attention and the intention to attend, in the third phase the acquisition and codification of information takes place. collect stimuli and work with them. This third phase
it is the main one in the learning process since it is the moment when knowledge is acquired.

Fourth phase: retention

After acquiring the information
it is stored in memory, Having to watch out for any interference with other acquaintances favoring this retention by them.

Fifth phase: recovery

Once the information is retained, the learning remains in memory until
some kind of stimulus triggers the need to retrieve it. In this situation, the memory of the information stored after processing the needs that arise from the stimulus or demand is born.

Sixth phase: generalization

A very important part of learning is
ability to generalize informationnot. In this phase of the learning process, an association is built between the knowledge acquired and retrieved and the different situations in which this knowledge could be required.

This generalization allows us to establish adaptive behaviors to new stimuli of which we have no information. It can be understood as one of the main stages of the learning process, because it is here that one notices the usefulness of what has been learned by pushing it beyond the initial context.

Seventh phase: performance

The seventh phase of the learning process is performance. At this point, the individual
transforms acquired knowledge into action, Performing behavior in response to external or internal stimulation.

Eighth phase: feedback

comparison between the results of the action resulting from the use of the learning and the expectations that were raised in relation to these results these are the last phase of the process. If the results are as expected or better, the learning will be reinforced, while if not, attempts will be made to modify or reject in this situation in favor of other alternatives.

Bibliographical references:

  • Gagné, R. (1970). The learning conditions. Aguilar. Madrid.
  • Meza, A. (1979). Psychology of cognitive learning. Empirical findings in the Piaget and Gagné approaches. Lima: NUCICC.

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