4 Types of learning


cumulative: mechanical learning, isolated formation, most common during the first years of life, later occurs only where one must learn something with no context, it is referred to as conditioning in behaviorist psychology

assimilative: learning by addition, new element is linked as an addition to a scheme or pattern that is relatively easy to recall and apply it when one is mentally oriented towards the field in question (Piaget: general sound and normal everyday learning)

accommodative: transcendent learning, when something takes place that is difficult to immediately relate to any existing scheme or pattern, one breaks down an existing scheme and transforms it so that the new situation can be linked in. results of that learning can be recalled and applied in many different relevant contexts (again Piaget: general sound and normal everyday learning, see also zone of proximal development)

significant/expansive/transitional/transformative: learning that involves the changing of the organization of the self, it demands a lot of mental energy, occurs only in situations of profound importance for the learner



Illeris, K., 2009. A comprehensive understanding of human learning. In Contemporary Theories of Learning: Learning theorists … in their own words, Knud Illeris (ed), London & New York: Routledge (pp. 7-20)

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