Learning & Development - Types of Learning - Part II


In continuation of my earlier post on Learning Principles, let us now deliberate on various types of learning : 

Bloom's Taxonomy : Psychologist Benjamin Bloom developed a classification scheme for types of learning which includes three overlapping domains: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. 

Skills in the cognitive domain, the one most relevant to faculty and administrator training include 1) knowledge - remembering information 2) comprehension - explaining the meaning of information 3) application - using abstractions in concrete situation 4) analysis - breaking down a whole into component parts  and 5) synthesis - putting parts together to form a new and integrated whole.

For example, knowing that the Right to Information Act (RTI) was passed by Indian Parliament in 2005 is knowledge. Explaining what the law means is comprehension. Application is illustrated when someone knows how to seek requisite information. Analysis is required to discuss the details of specific applications. Finally, synthesis is needed to develop future policies and procedures in response to the RTI.

Psychomotor learning is the relationship between cognitive functions and physical movement. In psychomotor learning, attention is given to the learning of coordinated activity involving the arms, hands, fingers, and feet, while verbal processes are not emphasized. Behavioral examples include driving a car, throwing a ball, and playing a musical instrument. 

The Affective domain describes learning objectives that emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or rejection. While there is an emphasis that affective domain is essential for learning, but this is often overlooked as this is hardest to evaluate. Most of the learning material focus on the cognitive aspects of Bloom Taxonomy.

Tennant's A.S.K. - Professor Mark Tennant (1995) categorized types of learning in a different way. The acronym A.S.K., developed by Tennant, represents the three types of learning that occur in training:

A represents "attitude," also known as affective learning. An example of this type of learning is a shift in attitude toward the academic abilities of students with disabilities. 

S represents "skills," often called psychomotor or manual learning. Learning to operate adaptive technology is an example of the development of skills.

K represents "knowledge." Cognitive learning is the formal term used for mental skills such as recall of information. An example of knowledge is information on available resources related to disability issues.

Gardner's Seven Knowledge Types : Howard Gardner developed a theory of multiple intelligences based upon research in the biological sciences, logistical analysis, and psychology. He breaks down knowledge into seven types:
  1. Logical-mathematical intelligence: the ability to detect patterns, think logically, reason and analyze, and compute mathematical equations (e.g. chemists, economists, engineers).
  2. Linguistic intelligence: the mastery of oral and written language in self-expression and memory (e.g., journalists, lawyers, politicians).
  3. Spatial intelligence: the ability to recognize and manipulate patterns (large or small) in spatial relationships (e.g., architects, pilots, sculptors).
  4. Musical intelligence: the ability to recognize and compose musical quality (pitches, tones), and content (rhythms, patterns) for production and performance (e.g., composers, conductors, musicians).
  5. Kinesthetic intelligence: the ability to use the body, or parts of the body to create products or solve problems (e.g. athletes, dancers, surgeons).
  6. Interpersonal intelligence: the ability to recognize another's intentions, and feelings (e.g., managers, sales people, social workers).
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence: the ability to understand oneself and use the information to self-manage (e.g., entrepreneurs, psychologists).
Gardner's theory purports that people use these types of intelligence according to the type of learning that is necessary, their personal strengths and abilities, and the environment in which the learning takes place.

Different learning strategies are applied keeping in view types of learning to maximize learning ease and outcomes. In my next post, I will touch on different learning styles. Watch out the space! 

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