Learning Behavior

Learning Behavior

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The term learning behavior[1][2][3] may be addressed as an umbrella term[4], once it covers several sets of behavior that focus on effective learning (both e-learning and traditional learning). The word ‘behavior’ stands for ‘the way in which one acts or conducts oneself’, and within the given context, ‘towards’ (the process of) learning.

The term may be approached through different prisms, by focusing on the learner’s behavior and alternatively on the mentor’s behavior. Within the learner’s behavior spectrum one may differ between two aspects: intrinsic learning behavior and active learning behavior.

See also: behaviorism, cognitivism, active learning, linear learning, flexible learning, learning styles, blended learning, cognitive load, distance learning, e-learning


Intrinsic Learning Behavior

It is characterized by the natural neural cognitive activities responsible for learning processes performed in the sub-conscious level; it is the ‘brain behavior’. Examples from intrinsic learning behaviors are:

• information processing and association with prior knowledge – memory;[5]

• learning from mistakes and failure;[6]

• innate curiosity;[7]

Each of this operations, are performed by the brain within various learning styles sets, depending on the individual’s personal inclination.

See also: cognitivism

Active Learning Behavior

Employed in parallel with the above-mentioned activities, the active learning behavior refers to the actions performed by the individual in the conscious level aiming the mastery of the task to be learned. The latter is the most frequently addressed in the literature on learning behavior and encompasses the following practices:

• self-discipline (through self-conditioning);

• self-organizing, establishing a strategy;

• self-studying, self-reflection;

• self-motivation[8] (intrinsic motivation);

• engagement;

• concentration, focus, mindfulness;

• transformative learning/collaborative learning (widening one’s perspective): exchange of ideas, seeking feedback, sharing information, seeking for help, talking about errors, collaboration, argumentation, discussion;

• learn by doing: to put the knowledge in practice, problem solving;

• creating a proper environment for learning activities, learn in a proper environment;

• provide oneself with proper sleep;

Outer Stimulus

An alternative approach refers to the outer stimulus ‘pro-learning’. It consists in the way the mentor (eg. the boss, supervisor, trainer, instructor, etc.) acts in favour of the learning performance of his pupil. For example, challenging the learner’s previous knowledge and conditioning his behavior by making use of either negative reinforcement (punishment), or positive reinforcement (reward, compliment), the latter enhancing motivation (extrinsic motivation in this case).

Link icon.png Web Resources
Below you have a list of resources that provide additional information on different aspects of Learning Behavior.
Link Content
RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.
Learning from mistakes is harder than we think Annie Murphy Paul tells us about different ways of learning from our mistakes.
Learning from brilliant mistakes An interesting article that will teach how to worship your mistakes.
Why do some people learn faster? A new study unveils the complexity of brain's learning behavior.
How to stimulate curiosy Three ways to stimulates your curiosity.
Can ‘Mindfulness’ Really Help You Focus? A study assessing the performance of the participants with or without a session of meditation before the application of the test.

MATERIAL.png Additional Materials
Document Content
Mind Map on Learning Behavior PS: The links are not working in the map but you may find all material in the 'references'and 'web resources'.


  1. Bennett, S., & Emeritus, L. (2011). Learning Behaviors and Learning Spaces, (February), 1–24.
  2. Schaefer, B. a, & McDermott, P. a. (1999). Learning Behavior and Intelligence as Explanations for Children’s Scholastic Achievement. Journal of School Psychology, 37(3), 299–313.
  3. Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350.
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbrella_term
  5. Okano, H., Hirano, T., & Balaban, E. (2000). From the Academy Learning and memory, 97(23), 12403–12404. Pdf.png PDF
  6. http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2009/10/22/learning-from-mistakes/
  7. Loewenstein, G. (1994). The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation. Psychological Bulletin, 116(1), 75–98.Pdf.png PDF
  8. http://www.education.com/reference/article/motivation-affects-learning-behavior/