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hierarchical learning

The American educational psychologist Robert M. Gagn (1956) proposed a system of classifying different types of learning in terms of the degree of complexity of the mental processes involved. He identified eight basic types, and arranged these in the hierarchy:

1. Signal Learning.

2. Stimulus-response learning.

3. Chaining.

4. Verbal association.

5. Discrimination learning.

6. Concept learning.

7. Rule learning.

8. Problem solving.

According to Gagn, the higher orders of learning in this hierarchy build upon the lower levels, requiring progressively greater amounts of previous learning for their success. The lowest four orders tend to focus on the more behavioural aspects of learning, while the highest four focus on the more cognitive aspects.

Categories: Learning theory

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