Learning can be defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour that comes from reinforced practice. According to Ifeagwu (2000) learning can be defined as the behavioural change that takes place at the end of a teacher-student interaction in a classroom setting. In order words, learning is the experience gained from interactions. As Daugherty (1974) puts it, learning is a change in an individual through some form of experience.
Factors influencing learning in education
An understanding of factors influencing learning in education will be of great help to you as a teacher. According to Daugherty (1974), differences in abilities, readiness, motivation and interest affect learning. As a teacher, according to Farrant (1964), you must know the pre-requisite for efficient learning, which are readiness, motivation and involvement.
Ideal learning conditions therefore include mental, physical and social readiness of the learner, motivation and activities. According to McNicol (1964), students are likely to learn, when they are willing, curious, inspired, have a goal to achieve, derive satisfaction from learning, have capacity to learn, are actively involved, have favourable social atmosphere and classroom conditions are satisfactory.
Differences in Abilities A typical class for instance would normally consist of low achievers, average achievers and high achievers. You must be careful to provide for individual differences in a way that will provide for growth of each individual student according to his/her ability. If you do not provide for individual differences, some students would be left behind or unnecessarily slowed down. Such neglect hinders learning.
The degree of motivation a student has for the learning task could affect his learning. The desire to learn is inherent in all normal persons. You must motivate your students to use their innate ability. You should apply incentives and arouse their interest for the purpose of causing them to perform in a desired way. Remember your goal is to bring about a desired change in the behaviour of your students.
You must devise as many ways as you can to create within each student, the desire to learn. This is basically what teaching is. Such ways include award of grades, rewards, tests, praise or blame, competition etc.
Some devices that could be negative include sarcasm, ridicule, public criticism, unfriendliness, too much work, blame, misused or destructive competition etc. These are demotivating and could make the students withdrawn, resentful and even hostile which make less positive learning to take place. If you allow students to actively participate in realistic activities they would be highly motivated.
Although interest in a subject does not guarantee success in the subject, studies have however shown a very high degree of correlation between interest in a subject and success in learning. It is true that learning can take place without apparent interest. It is also a known fact that interest in a subject makes the learning to take place easier, faster and more lastingly. Arouse your students’ interest and sustain it through the use of a variety of teaching techniques.
Readiness This refers to the physical, mental, emotional or social maturation of the learner as well as the accumulation of experience as a foundation for the building of new learning. You should endeavour to recognize readiness in your students. Readiness in a student can often be seen by the way he responds eagerly to the learning task with which he is presented. Once learning has begun, you can be sure that such a student will make rapid progress. Lack of readiness in a student may be attributed to lack of maturation or insufficient preparation of the student in those foundations of learning upon which the new learning will be built. If a student is being taught when he is not ready he will make slow progress or may not even make any progress at all.
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of Sir Pee Integrated Services and www.libraryguru.com and www.projectvilla.com.ng. A reputable researcher, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.