Informal learning experience: fear of darkness
Informal learning can be described as the process of gaining knowledge which is brought about by activities as well as the interest of people. (Newman & Newman, 2009). There are different forms of informal learning experiences that people experience throughout their lives. One can experience informal learning through independently or through interaction with other people(Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012). Personally, I have experienced informal learning in my life, and these have affected my life in certain ways. The following discussion presents the form of informal learning that I have undergone, how these learning could have occurred through classical conditioning, how these learning could have occurred through operational conditioning as well as how it could have occurred through cognitive, social learning.
Fear of darkness
Fear of darkness is a common experience which has affected my life. People are affected by darkness in different ways. In the real sense, it is not the fear of dark but the risks that are associated or hidden by darkness. This kind of fear can sometimes prevent someone from hostile situations. I had feared darkness for a long time because of what I went through when I was in darkness. There is a time I saw a person being attacked while walking on streets and when I think of darkness or night, imagine terrifying characters such as murderers, rapist, Psychopaths as well as the undead among others. There are others who fear darkness, but not all fear darkness. Thus, there are those who do not fear to walk or be in darkness regardless of their life experiences while in darkness.
What I learned from fear of darkness
Darkness has taught me many lessons. I came to realize that one has to be careful when he is in darkness. I have learned to be cautious and to always carry a torch in case there is a possibility of finding myself in darkness. I often stay away from basements for my own good. By doing so, my security is enhanced.
The other thing that I have come to learn due to my experience in the darkness is to avoid shaking hands in case I find myself in darkness. Besides, one should not talk or laugh loudly when he or she is darkness since this might inform terrifying characters the presence of someone.
How my learning could have occurred through classical conditioning.
Classical conditioning can be applied in this informal learning experience. My exposure to darkness made me emotional. When I find myself in darkness, my heart pumps faster due to panic, and I might be forced to call someone I know to be around me to reduce the fear in me. The unconditional stimulus in my situation is darkness while panicking due to experiencing attack is an unconditional response. On the other hand, the outcome of the attack can be considered as conditional stimulus, and when attack and darkness are paired, they lead to a conditional response of being cautious (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012).
Moreover, operational conditional is also applicable in this kind of informal learning. For instance, when an operant is walking in dark streets, he or she can be attacked by thugs. He can also see another person being attacked or being killed in case he fails to comply with thug’s orders. When I see an operant being assaulted or attached, I would relate this actions with darkness and become scared of the dark or walk at night through such a street and other streets. In these case of operant conditioning fear it will be an unintentional response. Thus, I would fear walking through dark streets so that I can avoid finding myself in such a situation (Burchard & Tyler, 1964).
When reinforcement is taken into consideration in this situations, the reinforcement would be negative since I understand the dangers associated with darkness and dark streets. Although there was the need to reinforcement was due to the attack experience which involved avoiding going to vacant and dark places. There is a partial schedule of the reinforcement since the lesson learned from darkness is how to be cautious.
According to the cognitive –social theory, portions of a person’s knowledge gaining might be directly associated with observation of other people within the setting of social interactions, outside media experiences as well as experiences (Mischel, 1973). The theory, therefore, suggest that seeing another person being attached while in darkness, creates a perception regarding the possible dangers of the darkness hence making me scared of the dark. I also thought of other consequences related to attack. For instance being injured or being killed.
To sum up, I learn how to be careful and cautious when there are chances of being in darkness due to possible dangers of being in darkness. Before experiencing an attack, I used to walk in darkness with little courage though I knew it was not safe, after the experience, i fear darkness more than before. When classical conditioning, operational conditioning are examined, we can conclude that under classical conditioning, the situation triggered me to fear and hide, while operational conditioning made me consider walking on the street when there is light. On the other hand cognitive, social learning allows one to analyze a situation and determine what actions to take so as to stay safe.
Burchard, J., & Tyler, V. (1964). The modification of delinquent behaviour through operant conditioning. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2(2), 245-250.
Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal Learning Environments, social media, and self- regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and higher education, 15(1), 3-8.
Mischel, W. (1973). Toward a cognitive social learning reconceptualization of personality. Psychological review, 80(4), 252.