There are mainly 5 different methods of learning;
- Trial and Error Method.
- Conditional Response.
- Learning by Insight.
- Learning by Imitation.
- Transfer of Training.
1. Trial and Error Method
This is the most primitive and simplest way in which learning occurs.
Placed in a new situation the individual makes a number of random movements, those which are unsuccessful are eliminated and successful ones are fixed. It is learning by blundering, by trying something and succeeding or failing.
2. Conditional Response
This theory was evolved as a result of the experiments by Ivan Pavlov and Watson. It is a process of substituting the original stimulus by a new one and connecting the response with it.
Pavlov carried out an experiment on a dog. He used to ring a bell while giving food to the dog. When the food was placed before the dog and the bell was rung the saliva would secrete in the mouth of the dog.
But it was also seen that when the bell was rung only, but the food was not given, the saliva started secreting. Pavlov called the response as ‘conditioned reflex’.
In learning by the conditioned response, there is no choice or freedom. A good part of the learning of early childhood is the result of conditioning.
3. Learning by Insight
Gestalt psychologists opposed the trial and error method. They argue that learning is not a blind and mechanical process. It involves insight into the total situation.
In learning, we use our sense along with the motor activity. Learning by observation is learning by insight, learning by perceiving the relationship in the scene and understanding the situation.
After looking over the whole situation the learner strives to make some sense out of it and it gives him clues regarding the way he should proceed to solve the problem, the method he should pursue and general awareness of the consequences of performing an act.
4. Learning by Imitation
Imitation is one of the most important means of learning.
Human beings, consciously or unconsciously, imitate the actions, manners, and styles of his fellow being. A child learns to walk, talk and behave as his parents or brothers do. It is important therefore that the first model should be worthy of imitation.
Imitation does not crush originality: on the other hand, it is the first stage in the development of individuality and the richer scope for imitation the richer developed individual will be.
5. Transfer of Training
Transfer of training means that training is transferred from one skill to another. It has special significance for all kinds of the industrial training program.
Stated simply, transfer of training deals with whether or not learning in one situation will facilitate learning (and therefore performance) in subsequent similar situations. There are three possibilities:
a) Positive transfer: learning in one situation enhances learning or performance in a new situation.
b) Negative transfer: learning in one situation inhibits learning in a new situation.
c) No observable effect.