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Learning Fundamentals

Learning is the act of acquiring new information, knowledge, values, behaviors or skills, or modifying and strengthening existing ones. The ability to learn is a basic condition for the overall development of the brain and allows people to adapt to the conditions and needs of life and the environment. The ability to learn is also the basic condition for the development of consciousness and for the reflected perception of the world, but also of one's own person. From the perspective of the psychology of learning, learning is understood as the process of changing behavior, thinking or perception based on experience or newly acquired knowledge and understanding. The neurobiological basis of this learning is the storage of new information through an ever-growing network of billions of neurons and the ever-increasing organization, specification, and responsiveness of neural areas.

Learning encompasses all the functional skills implemented in the brain, such as cognition, motor skills, behavior or even social interaction. A distinction is made between accidental, implicit learning, for example while performing an action, and intentional learning to acquire self-determined skills. In terms of learning content, a distinction is made between factual learning, which focuses on the "acquisition and storage of information" that can be accessed when needed, and process learning, which is an ongoing and virtually endless process. A typical example of process learning is motor learning, with improvements in accuracy, energy requirements, and time required to perform


Ways of learning

The different types of learning are summarized under the general term learning. Particularly important for our development is learning by process: a continuous process of improving the information base and the quality of information, as well as implicit learning, that is, accidental learning during the execution of an action.

Rhythm and rhythmicity

Like countless processes in nature, human beings are also largely controlled by rhythms when it comes to their biological functions and behavior. Rhythmicity influences our perception and also learning. Especially in the domain of language, rhythm and dynamic elements have an impact on its functionality, on language acquisition and also on the writing system.

Early motor learning

From the very beginning, the brain has an intrinsic motivation to learn and organize itself. For this purpose, sensory impressions or experiences are processed, evaluated according to certain patterns and stored. During this early learning, connections in the brain multiply explosively until a complex neural network gradually emerges.

Acquisition of fine motor skills

The term "motor skill" describes the ability to perform coordinated movements quickly, with high precision, and with low energy expenditure. Fine motor skills have particularly high demands on precision and efficiency. Motor development proceeds in different phases throughout life, from coarse to fine, and from inefficient to efficient.

Early language learning

The learning of the mother tongue already begins in the womb. Prosody guides the language acquisition process. The child orients itself to stressed parts of speech, to the contour (melodic slurs) and above all to the pauses. For this, the child absolutely needs a human role model. When dealing with babies, adults use a special form of language, the so-called "motherese language". Linguistic role models enable the child to use language as an object of the world and its actions.

Patterns and phases of learning

The three-phase model of motor learning uses the example of movement learning to describe the path from the setting of a learning task to the acquisition of efficient movement programmes that can be recalled automatically. In this learning process, trial and error plays a major role.

Learning and memory

Learning is an act of knowing between experience and understanding. Learning consists of opening the internal circuits of thought through experience, allowing the new and the storage of newly acquired information. Learning is triggered by curiosity and motivation, but also by the problems and discrepancies that arise. Memory, and especially working memory, plays a decisive role in learning.

Intrinsic learning and self-organization

In learning, a pattern is imprinted primarily through experiencing a movement or a situation. The corresponding model describes learning not as "repeating the solution many times", but rather as "the repeated search for the solution to a particular task". This intrinsic learning is characterised by a high degree of self-organisation, which is why the solution is also always strongly individualised.

Dynamic Systemic Learning

The concept of system dynamic learning assumes that there is no single solution for a task, but that there are always several possible solutions available in a kind of "solution space". The more information can be stored during learning, the more information can be accessed later when searching for a respective solution. Therefore, as many different estimated solution approaches as possible should be practised, and not only those that seem suitable from the outset.


Due to recent findings from neuroscience, many of the previous assumptions about the human learning system can no longer be upheld. This applies both to learning methods and to the design of learning content.

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