Figure 2-4. Converted to a curve
PROCESSES IN LEARNING
The learning process is done by the student in order to incorporate new material
into his storehouse of knowledge. These processes can be categorized into mental and
physical skills or procedures. These two types are not mutually exclusive. There is
some mental activity required in each physical procedure, and there is some physical
requirement for the primarily mental procedures.
a. Physical Processes.
(1) Trial and error. You have a problem, but you have no idea how to go
about solving the problem. You think out possible solutions yourself or form a group
and brainstorm (ask for ideas). Then you try each of the ideas or strategies until you
find one that works. This is the way many basic inventions (for example, the electric
light, the telephone) were invented. This method is used, to a limited degree, in "pure"
research. It can be costly, both in researcher time and in material. Failure is a built-in
feature of this process. No researcher expects to succeed with the first strategy tried.
Some even spend their entire working lives on a single project without a major success.
This can happen if the project is of major significance and the funding is available.
Infants use trial and error to form their associations with the environment, and all of us
use the trial and error method to form early social relationships. The Army's training
programs are designed to eliminate this very costly process.