ECT 300 EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: What is the Communication process and learning?


Communication Process and Learning

1a i). Define the term communication and learning in relation to the teaching of Educational Technology

What is this chapter about?

Teaching and learning presupposes an interaction between two or more entities. One entity has the information to pass across while the second one steadies herself/himself to receive the information. The process of communication is a complex one and it is therefore imperative that all trainee teachers understand the complex interactions between the entities involved. This unit attempts to analyze the various models and theories of human communication with the view of identifying the major components and how they interrelate and to each other. The unit will also consider the various barriers to effective classroom communication.

Definitions of Communication.

The study of communications dates back to the beginning of human civilization. The first communication theories were developed by Plato and Aristotle during the 5th century BC ( Trenholm, 1991).   It became a recognized field of study in the 1940’s with the development of models describing the communication process.





Communication can be defined as “ a process by which verbal and nonverbal symbols are sent, received and given meaning.” It can also b e said to be the social process by which we come to understand and live with each other through the deliberate use of sign symbols with intent to affect others, our environment and ourselves. It is also the process of creating a meaning between two or more people (Tubbs and Moss 1994,  p.14). The process continues, the participants adjust their messages to fit their changing understanding of one another. The word communication has roots in the Latin word communis which means common. Therefore in a teaching/learning situation commonness created between the teacher and the pupils.  In essence, it involves bridging the gap between the teacher and the learners.

Learning can be defined as:

  • A persisting change in human performance or performance potential…brought about as a result of the learner’s interaction with the environment (Driscoll 1994, p.8-9).
  • A relatively permanent change in a person’s knowledge or behaviour due to experience (Mayer 1982 p.104).
  • An enduring change in behavior or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience (Shuell, 1986, p. 412)
  • Makes a difference in behavior or attitudes (Hamachek D.p. 219)

Though measurement and observation of learning pose a challenge it is important and helpful to identify the common criteria used to signify learning has taken place. Schunk (1991, p.2) outlined the process of learning in the following way

  • A change, or the capacity for such a change occurs in the learner’s behavior
  • The change, or its capacity results from practice or other forms of experience like observations
  • The change, or its capacity endures over time and is not due to fatigue, drugs or illness.



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