Gagne’s conditions of learning


Gagne identifies five major categories of learning:

  • verbal information: facts of knowledge
  • intellectual skills: problem solving, discriminations, concepts, principles
  • cognitive strategies: meta-cognition strategies for problem solving and thinking
  • motor skills: behavioral physical skills
  • attitudes: actions that a person chooses to complete

Learning tasks for intellectual skills can be organized in a hierarchy according to complexity:

  • stimulus recognition,
  • response generation,
  • procedure following,
  • use of terminology,
  • discriminations,
  • concept formation,
  • rule application, and
  • problem solving

Each different type requires different types of instruction. The theory outlines nine instructional events and corresponding cognitive processes:

  1. Gaining attention (reception)/show variety of computer generated triangles
  2. Informing learners of the objective (expectancy)/pose question: “What is an equilateral triangle?”
  3. Stimulating recall of prior learning (retrieval)/ review definitions of triangles
  4. Presenting the stimulus (selective perception)/ give definition of equilateral triangle
  5. Providing learning guidance (semantic encoding)/ show example of how to create equilateral
  6. Eliciting performance (responding)/ ask students to create 5 different examples
  7. Providing feedback (reinforcement)/ check all examples as correct/incorrect
  8. Assessing performance (retrieval)/ provide scores and remediation
  9. Enhancing retention and transfer (generalization)/ show pictures of objects and ask students to identify equilaterals



Conditions of learning, Robert Gagne. In Full text available here/ For more click here  or here or search: Gagne, R. (1985). The Conditions of Learning (4th.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Image and more info available here

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