WHAT ARE THE FACTORS THAT AFFECT LEARNING? (SENTHIL KUMAR)
There are factors that facilitate learning; for example, readiness, motivation, mental set mental health and teacher’s personality.
So the factors that affect learning are:
Motivation is at the heart of learning. It is sine qua non for learning. It arouses, sustains, directs and determines the intensity of learning effort.
It makes speedy learning possible. The child who is physically and mentally mature learns a subject at a faster rate.
- PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DEVELOPMENT
The child affects learning. The child who is mentally and physically not developed learns at a slower rate.
- HOME CONDITIONS AND SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT AFFECT LEARNING.
- ACADEMIC ABILITY OF THE TEACHER AFFECTS LEARNING.
- MEANINGFULNESS OF SUBJECT-MATTER MAKES LEARNING EASIER.
- TEACHING METHODS
It facilitates learning children learn more by activity or by doing or by Play way.
Then there are factors that make learning easy. Such factors that tend to promote learning are intent to learn, distributed effort over learning, capitalizing whole and part learning, knowledge of progress, recitation, active recall, application of what is learned and activity.
To make these factors that facilitate learning more effectively, we work have to improve learning conditions by giving audio-visual aids, by giving praise and reprimand, by arousing rivalry and cooperation and by guiding children properly.
Intent to Learn
The child learns what he intends to learn. When there is intent or purpose to learn one learns rapidly and that learning is permanent. When children know what goals they are to achieve, and when they accept those goals, they become more active in the pursuit of those goals.
The efforts they make are more intensive and better organized. The attention they play is more definitely focused to the thing they are required to learn. Such learning is intentional or purposeful.
It is a simple fact that an hour spent every day in learning a subject results is more thorough and permanent learning than the same number of hours, devoted to its study at the end of the term. Spaced or distributed effort at learning any subject results in more learning than a massed one. Spaced learning is also economical and effective. The reasons are given below:
- Massed learning by sticking to a task for longer periods the child develops a tendency to inattentiveness. One’s attention fluctuates if one tries to concentrate, on a jobfor longer periods.
- Going back to a subject studied a week ago to better than studying and restudying it immediately.
- Trying to do the same thing again and again within a short space of time is against the natural tendency to resist early repetition of an act.
It means that the study period should be short and not very long.
But how short should the study period be? It depends upon the individual learner, the material to be learnt and the conditions under which the material is learnt. The more mature the individual the more capable he is for prolonged work.
In elementary school the length of the class period is kept 20 to 30 minutes and in colleges, even one hour period is short. If the material requires constant attention and is difficult to learn, shorter periods are more fruitful. In the summer we usually have shorter periods than in winter.
Long periods of study are not always fruitless. If the material is too easy, longer periods of study are recommended. It motivation is high, massed practice is useful.
The principle of distributed effort has a great significance for the time-table builders. It is convenient for the student to learn different subjects in different periods.
If the child learns mathematics in the same period on successive days, the teacher can show him how the lesson builds today upon what was learnt yesterday.
The idea of distributed effort demands carrying on the same task in the same direction in a period on successive days.
The principle of distributed effort indicates that since in massed learning attention begins to fluctuate, individual lessons should have variety.
Even in a lesson on mathematics some time may be devoted to explaining concepts and principles and some time to their application and the rest to reviewing what has been learnt a week or two ago in the same period.
Massed practice causes boredom and boredom causes errors. Hence, distributed effort is particularly advantageous in learning many motor skills like type-writing.
Proficiency in simple motor activities can be achieved in relatively short practice periods once or twice a day until competence is gained.
The practice periods for younger students should be shorter than those for the older ones. Between the periods of practice certain inner co-ordinations may take place as a consequence of previous practice and present themselves in the next practice period.
The repetition of some matter after it has been learned to the point of one successful reproduction is called over learning. If learning a poem, means reciting it once, over learning it would mean continued practice after reaching a criterion level. Over learning may be defined as applying oneself to the acquisition of a skill or knowledge beyond the point at which one can say it has been learnt.
If we have a topic when it has been learned once, it is forgotten but over learning makes it permanent. For example, if 5 repetitions of a poem are needed to recite it, 10 repetitions would fix it in the mind for a longer time. Over learning makes initial learning thorough and permanent.
The question arises, ‘How many more repetitions would make over learning more effective? Would 30 repetitions of a poem make it permanent when initial learning to recite takes place in 10 repetitions? It is scientifically proved that effective over learning takes place only when 50% to 200% additional repetitions are made.
But these repetitions should not be simply unintelligent ones; they should involve reviewing the material just read, reciting to oneself, placing the material in a new context and reading similar materials in another context.
The educational significance of over learning to the class-room teacher and the student is great. Students should be encouraged to review immediately the work they have just completed. Teachers should present material in a new context, make applications and hold class discussions.
Whole vs. Part Learning
Memorization is not only facilitated by over learning. It is also facilitated by the whole method which means that a long poem can be committed to memory by reading and rereading. If on the other hand, the poem or the passage is learnt verse by verse or sentence by sentence, it is learnt by the part method.
There are advantages and disadvantages of both these methods. A combination of these methods is suggested. When a child is required to learn a poem or a passage in prose, its meaning should first be made clear to him. Some part of it may be difficult, e.g., some phrases may be hard to understand for the learner.
These parts may be learnt by the part method. After that each part may be placed in total context. Such a combination of two methods may be little more time consuming, but it saves total times.
Which method should be adopted depends upon the nature and size of the material to be learnt and the intelligence of the learner. If the material is meaningful, whole method is advantageous; if the size of the material is short it is useful to learn it by part method, and if the learner is intelligent be learns a material by whole method more easily.
Recitation again is a device helpful for retention. Recitation means repeating aloud a poem or a passage from memory. But recitation may be sub vocal. Recitation, vocal or sub vocal is useful to a student because it enables him to use the material before a lapse of time causes forgetting.
It immediately motivates the learner by making the learner aware of the degree of success being achieved; it helps the learner to use it. It provides feedback to the teacher and tells him whether or not the class understands him.
Recitation does not simply mean repeating what one has learnt. It also means placing the material in a different setting, applying it in a new situation, and viewing it is another perspective. The questions given at the end of a chapter in a book and meant to provide opportunities to recite
Recitation to be an effective technique for facilitating learning should be more than restatement of the printed word. It should mean sensing of information in new context. Teachers can make this technique more effective by employing discussion or conversation or presenting problems before students so that they may make a functional use of knowledge.
While reciting one uses certain cues; for example, when we recite the subject-matter presented in a chapter we make use of the paragraph headings. These headings serve as cues for recitation.
While recalling one has to recollect material without the help of such cues. For example, in completion type of items one has to recall because there is nothing to help him, but in matching type items one recites with the help of cues given.
Active recall is a challenge to the learner. It requires him to recollect, or reconstruct the material without cues, hints or guides. The more the amount of active recall used in learning, the greater is the speed, precision and permanence of learning, Once a student makes it a habit to recall actively what he has learnt, learning becomes easy to him. He notes headings, emphases, and illustrative material to make an active recall.
It means that teachers should advise children to be active and vigorous while studying a chapter. They should be encouraged to recall what is learnt just after learning it. They should be encouraged to seek answers to questions such as these, “What have we studied similar to this?” “How does it relate to our lesson of the last week?” A few extra moments spent in active recall will be more economical than re-reading the same material later.
Applying what is Learned
Application of what is learnt is a really useful technique to facilitate speed, precision and permanence of learning. Information is made functional when it is applied. Making applications encourages the use of learning. Making use of knowledge provides a purpose for learning and yields reinforcement.
The class-room teacher has in teaching as well as in testing situations, a very great scope for applying what is learned.
After presenting principles in any subject-field, their applications should be encouraged. For example, after teaching theorems in mathematics, their application in solving problems may be stressed; after teaching rules of grammar, the teacher may emphasize on writing sentences and essays using those rules; after giving information in civics, he may lead his students to solve problems faced by life community.
Students can be encouraged to apply for they the knowledge gained in the class-room in student government, community projects, and work experience.
Activity is Essential to Learning
By activity we do not mean simply muscular activity. One has to be mentally active if one wants to learn speedily, precisely and retain it permanently. When the child listens to the lecture given by the teacher he is mentally active, but he is mentally more active when he recites and discusses.
Listening as a process may be derogated but here too the listener has to accept or reject the ideas presented.
In a traditional school where the child sits and listens, he does not learn effectively. In a progressive school in which activity is involved in the learning process, there is a better learning, provided the activity is meaningful.
Even where the school is not in a position to provide such an activity, children may be encouraged to make use of insight and understanding.
The concept of motivation and mention its types and theories.
Ans. Motivation plays a vital role in every sphere of life and various phases of activities. Our success and achievement in life depends on motivation. It is, in one form or other, always present at the root of all human activities.
Motivation is said to be the ‘heart of learning,’ ‘golden road to learning’ and ‘potent factor in learning’, as all learning is motivated learning. Adequate motivation results in promoting reflection, attention, interest and effort in the pupils and hence promotes learning.
Learning cannot be successful, effective or efficient without persistent, purposeful and selective effort. So teacher’s problem is to discover, direct and capitalize upon these motives and develop interest for educational purpose.
Motivation is derived from the word ‘mover’ which means to move’. It is an art of inculcating and stimulating interest in studies and in other such activities in the pupils. It is the process of arousing action, sustaining activity in progress, regulating and directing pattern of activity.
Motivation is the combined action of desires and incentives, pushes and pulls. Like a machine, a person must have energy in order to behave. Motive provides the energy. High motivation means high drive.
High drive means that organism is set to respond which it does not respond in the absence of stimulation. The two concepts i.e., drive and incentives are important in defining motivation.
If we are in a state of need, a drive is aroused that energizes and pushes us into action to seek the things that will satisfy the need. The incentive value of these rewards represents their pulling power incentive is primarily concerned with the objects, events and state of affairs, that people and rewarding or punishing and thus are motivated to achieve or avoid.