Gagne’s Eight Distinctive Types of Learning, Essay Example

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  1. In the first box you will identify one of Gagne’s Eight Distinctive Types of Learning.
  2. In the next box you will provide a description of the Learning Type you identified.
  3. In the last box you will discuss how this Learning Type does or does not apply to you and your learning.
  4. Repeat steps until all Eight of Gagne’s Distinctive Types of Learning are identified, described, and discussed. Each description and discussion should be substantive and requires a minimum of 3 sentences per response.

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Gagne’s Eight Distinctive Types of Learning

Description of the Learning Type

Discuss how this does or does not apply to you and your learning


Signal Learning

This is the simplest type of learning and consists of classical conditioning. “The subject is ‘conditioned’ to emit a desired response as a result of a stimulus that would not normally produce that response” (“Gagne’s Hierarchy of Learning”). Conditional and unconditional stimuli create the desired response in this case. Quite honestly, I am not specifically sure how I have used this form of learning in my life. However, it makes me think of my emotions. I would think a time in which I used this learning would be with a loved one. Maybe he or she did something out of habit and soon I related that thing to them or to a feeling of them. Another way in which I may have come in contact with this learning is through speech.

Stimulus-Response Learning


This is considered operant conditioning which was developed by Skinner. “It involves developing desired stimulus-response bonds in the subject through a carefully-planned reinforcement schedule based on the use of ‘rewards’ and ‘punishments’” (Gagne’s Hierarchy of Learning”). This type of learning forms programmed learning. This has been a type of learning I have used all of my life. Some of the ways in which I have used this learning is as a child, in school, with friends and at work. As a child I would get rewarded or punished based on my actions and behavior. This goes for school and work as well. If I worked hard, I would be rewarded. However, if I didn’t and ended up with bad grades or unproductivity, I would be punished.


Verbal Association

“This is a form of chaining in which the links between the items being connected are verbal in nature” (“Gagne’s Hierarchy of Learning”). The development of language skills is a key example of this. I have used this type of learning specifically in learning language skills as a child. It has also helped me in learning new languages while in school as required by my schools. This form of learning has given me the opportunity to put words to my actions.


Discrimination Learning

“This involves developing the ability to make appropriate (different) responses to a series of similar stimuli that differ in a systematic way” (“Gagne’s Hierarchy of Learning”). This is one type of learning that I am not so sure that I have used at all. The only way in which I can think that it would apply to me is through discrimination against people. Whether I have ever discriminated against someone based on a specific thing would be the only way in which I could think to use this type of learning.

Concept Learning

“This involves developing the ability to make a consistent response to different stimuli that form a common class or category of some sort. It forms the basis of the ability to generalize, classify, etc.” (“Gagne’s Hierarchy of Learning”). This has helped me do just what it states in the definition, to generalize or classify things into specific groups. This is something I have had to learn how to do for school, work, and in the home. Again, this is a type of learning that I will continue to do throughout my life.

Rule Learning

This form of learning enables a person to understand general rules and procedures. It “involves being able to learn relationships between concepts and apply these relationships in different situations” (“Gagne’s Hierarchy of Learning”). This is a very high level of cognitive learning. This has been something I have used all my life. From the time I was a child up until now, I am constantly using this type of learning in order to understand rules and procedures in which I have to follow in my daily life. This is a type of learning that I will never be without.

Problem Solving

Gagne describes this as the highest level of cognitive process. “It involves developing the ability to invent a complex rule, algorithm, or procedure for the purpose of solving one particular problem, and then using the method to solve other problems of a similar nature” (“Gagne’s Hierarchy of Learning”). This has helped me deal with conflict and has given me the ability to be a leader. This type of learning has given me the opportunity to work with others as well as independently. It has also given me the ability to know how to solve simple or complex problems.
Chaining This form of learning helps the subject develop the ability to connect two or more previously learned stimulus together. Some examples are riding a bike or playing the piano. This has helped me learn how to do multiple things in my life. Some of these things include riding a bike, cooking and playing sports. It has helped me understand why and how specific things work.


Gagne’s hierarchy of learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from