The General Learning Model (GLM)

The general learning model (GLM) includes both short-term and long-term models of learning, as detailed below.


The basic overview of the short-term model is shown in Figure 9.1. The timing of this figure is intentionally vague—all parts could be completed within a second or two or extend over a couple of minutes. Figures 9.2a and 9.2b display how the learning process can occur within the first few seconds.


The GLM starts from the assumption that actors exist within an environment, and that both the person and the environment influence the learning opportunity. The person factors include all aspects of the person at that moment in time, including all prior learning, genetic predisposition, personality traits, beliefs and attitudes, mood, sex, short- and long-term goals, motivation, and attentional resources. That is, at any given second, you are a combination of immediate states, primed concepts, long-term traits, and your biological and learned history. You may (or may not) have a set of specific goals in any encounter, and you may direct your attention to focus on particular aspects of your environment. The situation factors include all of the information and affordances available in the environment at any given moment. These include all of the physical environment, other

Short-term process overview in the General Learning Model

Figure 9.1 Short-term process overview in the General Learning Model.

potential actors in the environment (along with their current states, traits, and motivations), the history of the situation to that point, and all of the information that exists to be detected by an organism in the environment.

The short-term overview model (Figure 9.1) notes that aspects of the person and the environmental situation interact to influence the person’s present internal state. Figures 9.2a and 9.2b display the processes that can occur serially and in parallel within the first few seconds of any learning encounter.

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