Human Learning

By Charlotte Galef

What is Human Learning?

First off, learning is not just restricted to school related situations.

Human Learning is experienced through Conditioning, the Social Learning Theory, and the Information Processing Theory.

In fact, learning occurs when experience causes a change in a person's knowledge or behavior. It is crucial to demonstrate learning with reinforcement: by seeing, hearing, and physically writing it.

1. Conditioning

Classical conditioning was discovered by Pavlov. This form of conditioning is where a previously neutral stimulus (ie. bell) is repeatedly paired with a stimulus (i.e. food) that triggers an emotional and or physical response (ie. salivation). Eventually, the previously enforced neutral stimulus alone evokes the response. Therefor, the neutral stimulus (ie. bell) is conditioned to bring forth a conditioned response (ie. salivation), so the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (Woolfolk 254-255).

Operant conditioning was discovered by Skinner, and focuses on the rewards and punishments when conditioning. This form of conditioning is how people learn through the effects of their intentional responses, in a more voluntary way. Operant conditioning focuses on the specific actions you produce, as well as the consequences that follow which can be either reinforcement or punishment (Woolfolk 256-257).

Classical Conditioning within Psychology - "Attack of the Quack"

Retrieved from YouTube, February 9. 2016.

2. Social Learning

Social Learning was discovered by Bandura, and is a theory that highlights learning by means of observation. Bandura believed that the traditional behavioral view of learning had various limitations. Social learning is what we use on a day-to-day basis; it is learning that we may actually know more than we exhibit. The social learning theory is exhibited through learning and performance. Again, it is important to note that even though learning may have occurred, it is possible that it may not be shown until the situation is suitable or there is reason to occur (Woolfolk 278-279).
For example, social learning is exhibited in the video below with the five people in the elevator. The last person to walk into the elevator is the subject, conforming to societal pressures inflicted by the other four elevator passengers. These additional four people in the elevator deliberately alternate their stance, in order to test and see if the subject would follow – which he does.
Social Learning Theory

Retrieved from YouTube, February 9. 2016.

3. Information Processing Theory

The Information Processing Theory is similar to a computer’s operation: memories are inputted and encoded, then consolidated, and then retrieved to provide information (Woolfolk, 292-293).

Sensory memory is a brief system (milliseconds) of which whatever information 1st hits one’s senses – you hold onto that information – either iconic or echoic (Woolfolk, 294).

Working memory is the point where new information is briefly stored and then merged with previous long-term memory in order to strengthen one’s understanding of things or solve problems (Woolfolk, 297).

Long-term memory is relatively permanent and has an unlimited capacity of memory storage. Consolidation is used to encode new information into long-term memory, along with types of rehearsal to ensure a deep processing of information (Woolfolk, 304).

Works Cited


BraveNewWorldBackgroundPylePer1 -. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <>.

ISTC 301: Integrating Instructional Tech /. PB Works, n.d. Web. February 8. 2016. <>.


Retrieved from YouTube, February 9. 2016.

Retrieved from YouTube, February 9. 2016.


Woolfolk, Anita. (2015). Educational psychology (13th ed.) Pearson Education.