Factors Influencing Learning

Learning is a complex process that defies easy definition and description. This module reviews some of the philosophical issues involved with defining learning and describes in some detail the characteristics of learners and of encoding activities that seem to affect how well people can acquire new memories, knowledge, or skills. At the end, we consider a few basic principles that guide whether a particular attempt at learning will be successful or not.

Learning Objectives

  • Consider what kinds of activities constitute learning.
  • Name multiple forms of learning.
  • List some individual differences that affect learning.
  • Describe the effect of various encoding activities on learning.
  • Describe three general principles of learning.


Chapter Author:  Aaron Benjamin
Aaron Benjamin is Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is President of the International Association for Metacognition and a member of the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society, and has been an Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. He conducts research on memory, metamemory, and decision-making.


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UPEI Introduction to Psychology 1 Copyright © by Philip Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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