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Learning and Communication

Ann Bainbridge Frymier

Subject Communication and Development » Instructional Communication

Key-Topics education, learning

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


The study of learning has been undertaken since the beginning of the twentieth century and has been heavily influenced by psychology. Although multiple definitions exist, learning has been generally defined as a persistent change in behavior or performance as a result of some stimulus. This definition encompasses both behavioral and cognitive aspects of learning. Behaviorism, which postulates that the environment has a direct impact on behavior, dominated roughly the first half of the twentieth century. In the latter half of the twentieth century, cognitive theories challenged behaviorism by asserting that learners process information obtained from the environment and that behavior is the result of how the information is processed. Learning theorists focused on understanding the process of learning, whereas other scholars sought to develop methods for measuring and assessing learning. One of the first efforts to assess learning systematically was led by Benjamin Bloom, who put forth a taxonomy of cognitive learning . This taxonomy was intended to classify “the changes produced in individuals as a result of educational experiences” ( Bloom 1956 , 12), or in other words, learning . The taxonomy is hierarchical in nature, with each successive level subsuming the preceding one. The six major classes of learning are knowledge (lowest), comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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