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1.1 Approaching Learning

I frequently wonder about the learning process and am surprised that there are many opportunities around for people to learn, but they decide to ignore the discovery and live a very limited life. John and I enjoy this process and strive to strengthen what and how we learn even if from traumatic memories. Once you understand how you process and retain information, you'll be able to accomplish so much more in life with possibilities opening up to you in every direction. With our posts, I hope to inform and teach about various aspects from light fun topics to more heavy and serious ones, using myself and my history to help explain. This way you can take from our mistakes and hopefully achieve much more without the suffering and pain we did. Our first chapter of in-depth information will be covering learning. Focusing more on understanding the self. Keep an eye out for the six installments about #WHOAREU!

The approaches to learning are complementary to each other when paired, creating a more rounded view. “Learning is defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior or behavioral repertoire, that occurs as a result of experience (Terry, 2018).” Terry’s definition is important in that it has compact information in a short sentence. Because learning is intangible in itself, the learned behavior change is needed in order to observe that learning has occurred. These can be measured through evidence that is physiological, behavioral, or verbal. The second phrase ‘behavioral repertoire’ makes note that some learning cannot be seen immediately in behavior. Though learning increases the chances of potential change, it will need to be demonstrated in order to show that it has been learned. There are three approaches that I want to explore: the cognitive, behavioral, and neuroscience approach to learning.

The cognitive approach focuses on the learning of knowledge and expectancies coming from information-processing approaches to the mind. Computer science had influenced the approach by how information is encoded, transformed, stored, and then retrieved by being the same processes within a computer. “The basic tenet of the cognitive approach is the postulation of an internal representation (Terry, 2018).” My husband has described to me on many occasions that his own mind is just like a computer in how he imagines and interacts with his memories and stored information. The book goes on to explain that this internal representation that is formed would be used for future processing and guiding behaviors. This approach has been extremely fascinating to me in that I have had an epiphany on how I approach my own learning. My father, being computer savvy by building computers from scratch including both hardware and software, began adapting characteristics of computer processing to cope with his own emotions. I have been around this stage of him for as far back as I can remember. I adapted his learnings and teachings from his influence of computers, approaching my emotions and situations in the same way. Thus, my own approach growing up as a child and young adult became eerily similar to what is described. From the time during domestic violence to the current time, that approach had changed to more of a behavioral approach (with a touch of functional approach).

A behavioral approach focuses on the collection of certain behaviors such as observable behaviors, the preceding stimuli that come before the behavior, and the consequences that followed after the behavior. I learned this approach through many repetitions of emotional and mental abuse, followed by various cycles of physical and sexual abuse. Behavioral law is “the likelihood that certain behavior will occur increases if the response has been followed by a reinforcing stimulus in the past (Terry, 2018).” With hindsight, I could see myself speaking up against him less and less as there would be terrible fights following if I did. I ended up just doing what he wanted or said because the less I opposed, the fewer fights we would have. The small portion of the functional approach is the residual of repetition using the behavioral approach in an abusive situation. I have noticed that my mind will choose to still follow certain patterns from a situation and time I am no longer in. (Most likely contributing to my PTSD nightmares and insomnia).

The last approach I was hoping to discover through a brain scan when I had first moved to Colorado. The neuroscience approach observes the changes that are produced in the brain due to learning. This approach wants to find, for learning and memory, the underlying biological basis. My intention was to see if there were any damages caused to my brain after suffering through three years of domestic violence that had erased my childhood memory from birth to age 20. On top of that, I had other various events I had noted that I wanted to see had any result from damage. I knew that within my medical record I must have had a brain scan from prior to the ordeal to compare it to. I was desperate to see what I could find. Repetition learning while always in the same place is habitual learning. This section of the brain being damaged would be found in the hippocampus. If the amygdala was damaged, there would be a lower performance in cognitive learning. Unfortunately, there was a bad incident with a new doctor and I was not able to obtain the scan. A few years later I did manage to have a psychological test for five hours that did determine there was damage within my memory. I do believe that this would be considered a neuroscience approach albeit the neuro scan was a dead-end for me.

I decided to look into another research study that went over creating an intervention to increase learning in students with geometry and mathematics. The kids were separated into two groups with the experimental group had 19 and the control group having 17 participants. Those within the control group learned mathematics the traditional way. The experimental group tried learning through an integrated teaching method. After four weeks, there had been proof that those who used the integrated teaching method scored significantly higher. ”Accordingly, the results indicate the dominance of the synergic effects of cognitive and motor components of the central nervous system, compared to the cognitive component only, without taking the motor component into consideration (Hraste et. al., 2018).” This article had pointed out that learning is a process that includes memorizing and thinking but does not end there. It fares better when learning is a coordinated, emotional, and enriching experience that should also include physical activity and social relationships. This topic was fascinating in that it started labeling experiences and knowledge I have known before.

What did you happen to learn about yourself? Were there thoughts or memories that suddenly came to mind as you were reading? Do you know why? Hope you are able to discover more about yourself! Feel free to read through my resources below to learn more!


Hraste, M., De Giorgio, A., Jelaska, P. M., Padulo, J., & Granić, I. (2018). When mathematics meets physical activity in the school-aged child: The effect of an integrated motor and cognitive approach to learning geometry. PLoS ONE, 13(8), 1–14.

Terry, W.S. (2018). Learning & memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures. (5th ed.) United Kingdom: Routledge. ISBN-13: 978-1138645912, eISBN-13: 9781317224051

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