Updated: Dec 8, 2020

The Learning Process Lesson by wifiCFI


To determine the applicant exhibits instructional knowledge of the learning process by describing:

Learning theory

Perceptions and insight

Acquiring knowledge

The laws of learning

Domains of learning

Characteristics of learning

Acquiring skill knowledge

Types of practice

Scenario-based training


Memory and forgetting

Retention of learning

Transfer of learning

Learning Theory

A series of principles used to explain how people acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes. 

Behaviorism- human behavior can be predicted based on past rewards and punishment. A response to external stimuli.

Cognitive Theory- focuses on what is going on inside the mind. (ex. Knowing, perceiving, problem-solving, decision-making, awareness, and other activities)

Information Processing Theory- the human brain processes information like a computer by retrieving information, storing, and processing that information.

Perceptions and Insights

Perceptions- initially all learning comes from perceptions which are directed to the brain by one of the 5 senses. Learning occurs more rapidly and permanently when perceptions come from multiple senses. 

Factors that affect perception are: The physical organism

Goals and values


Time and opportunity

Element of threat

Insights- Insight involves the grouping of perceptions into meaningful wholes. Creating insight is one of the instructors major responsibilities. To ensure that this occurs it is important that the student is constantly faced with new experiences and opportunities for learning.

Insight almost always occurs eventually, whether or not instruction is provided.

Acquiring Knowledge

There are 3 stages to acquiring knowledge:

Memorization - The students acquires new facts and commits them to memory.

Understanding - The student begins to organize the knowledge to formulate an understanding of what they have committed to memory.

Concept Learning - Also known as application. The student then applies the knowledge they understand in order to solve complex, real-life problems.

Laws of Learning (REEPIR)

Readiness - The basic needs of every learner must be satisfied before he/she is ready to learn (refer back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).

Effect - Learning is strengthened when accompanied by a pleasant or satisfying feeling and weakened when accompanied by an uncomfortable feeling.

Exercise - Connections are strengthened with practice and weakened with inactivity.

Primacy - That which was learned first is most strongly remembered. Learn it right the first time.

Intensity - Immediate, exciting, or dramatic learning created a stronger connection than a routine or boring experience.

Recency - Things most recently learned are best remembered.

Domains of Learning

There are 3 domains of learning:

Cognitive (thinking)

Recall information



Affective (feeling)




Psychomotor (doing)




Characteristics of Learning How to create a better learning environment: Make learning purposeful (why does the student need to know this?).

Equate learning to a real-life experience.

Make learning multi-faceted (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor).

Make learning an active process (repeat things that need repeating).

Acquiring Skill Knowledge The stages of skill acquisition:

Cognitive Stage - The information is in the student’s brain as a memorized fact.

Associative Stage - The student needs hands-on practice with the skill, not just instructor demonstration.

Automatic Response Stage - The amount of attention required to carry out the skill/task is lessened.

Types of Practice

There are 3 types of practice:

Deliberate Practice - Practice aimed at a particular goal to help the student advance and become more comfortable with the skill.

Blocked Practice - Practicing the same skill over and over again until the response becomes automatic.

Random Practice - Mixes up the skill to be acquired throughout the practice session.

Scenario-Based Training

Training not based on normal routine but rather based and real-life scenarios.

This type of training helps students see they “why” in what they are learning. What makes a good scenario? A good scenario has a clear set objective

A good scenario is tailored to the needs of the student

A good scenario capitalizes on the nuances of the local environment

Errors There are 2 kinds of errors:

Slip - A slip occurs when a person plans to do one thing and then inadvertently does something else. 

Mistake - A mistake is when a person plans to do the wrong thing and is successful. 

Make sure that no matter what type of error is committed that it is turned into a learning experience. 

Don’t just tell the student they are wrong. 

Tell them why and demonstrate the correct way to do it. Memory and Forgetting

There are 3 types of Memory:

Sensory Memory - The part of the memory system that receives initial stimuli from the environment and processes them according to the individual’s preconceived concept of what is important.

Short Term Memory - The part of the memory where information is stored for 30 seconds and then quickly begins to fade. Short term memory is both time limited and has a limited capacity.

Long Term Memory - Storage of relatively permanent information and has an unlimited capacity. Memory and Forgetting (FIRR)


Fading - This theory suggests that people forget information this is not used for an extended period of time.

Interference - People can forget things if other experiences have overshadowed them.

Repression or Suppression - A memory is pushed out of reach because an individual no longer wants to remember the feelings associated with the memory.

Retrieval Failure - The brain is unable to retrieve the required information. The “tip-of-the-tongue” phenomenon. Retention of Learning How to help your students retain what you have taught them: Praise stimulates remembering

Recall is promoted by association

Favorable attitude aids retention

Learning with all of the senses is most effective

Meaningful repetition aids recall

Mnemonics (ANDS and UNOS)

Transfer of Learning

Transfer of learning is broadly defined as the ability to apply knowledge or procedure learned in one context to a new situation.

Positive transfer of learning- the learning of skill A helps in the learning of skill B

Negative transfer of learning- the learning of skill A hinders the learning of skill B FAA Sources Used in this Lesson

Aviation Instructor’s Handbook

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