A little over a week ago, I wrote a post offering a learning model consisting of cognitive, affective, and volitive knowledge. A visit to the dentist helped me realize that something was missing from my model. While waiting for my lovely new crown to finish, he poked through my “Weekly Essays” journal (with my permission, of course). Coming across the essay on learning, he asked me where physical learning comes in. The following post is a rethinking of my learning model in light of his question.

Learning is a self-adjusting, continuous process of inputs, processing, and response. Each movement in the process takes place across one or more knowledge categories. Four such categories are cognitive, somatic, affective, and volitive. Cognitive knowledge consists of ideas communicated via symbol/language. Ideas enter the soul/mind and cause some level of cognitive dissonance. The learner creates and/or adjusts patterns of thought, and then implements and evaluates those patterns. The results of evaluation are fed back in to the process as new inputs (in one or more knowledge categories). The learning process continues.

This basic process occurs across each category of knowledge. Somatic inputs consist of physical skills and abilities, resulting in new patterns of movement and perception. Affective inputs consist of challenges to emotions and values, resulting in new patterns of feeling and valuing. Volitive inputs consist of challenges to decided ways of thinking and acting, resulting in new patterns of thinking and acting.

Of course, this process is not linear and the categories are not limited to nor delineated by these four. The edges are fuzzy. While educational theorists wade through the mass of details and interactions, we need not join them. We need only remember that learning is a self-adjusting, continuous process. Each individual is responsible for his or her learning. Each community is responsible for its learning. Learning is an internal process. Teachers and facilitators can only create environments in which learning is more or less likely to happen and which provide inputs and encouragements necessary to the process.


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