After the cognitive revolution, the definition got revised in one important way: we now think of learning as a relatively permanent change in knowledge that occurs as a result of experience.
That knowledge is reflected in the organism's behavior, but the important thing is that learning changes the individual's fund of knowledge.
Cognitive psychologists commonly distinguish among various types of knowledge stored in long-term memory.
Ebbinghaus' original theory of memory, based on British associationism, was that memory was fixed by rehearsal -- by simply repeating the item to be remembered, over and over again.
But we now know that maintenance rehearsal, just repeating something to ourselves, over and over again, like we would a name or telephone number, is not sufficient to encode that item in long-term memory -- which is why, if we're interrupted, the thing we're rehearsing goes right down the mental drain.
The fate of memory over each of these three stages is governed by a remarkably small number of principles.
The encoding stage involves, two principles, elaboration and organization.
Declarative knowledge is factual knowledge, about what is true or false, which can be represented in sentence-like structures known as propositions.
Procedural knowledge is knowledge of skills and rules, how to do things, which can be represented in "if-then" conditional statements known as productions.
So here's the first key to learning: we learn best when we learn progressively, building new knowledge on old knowledge.
Actually, almost anything that encourages the reader to pay close attention to a text will improve memory.
Much of what we know about memory we know about episodic memory, and then generalize to the other types.
But there's one special fact about procedural knowledge, which is enshrined in what Anders Ericsson, of Florida State University, has called the 10,000-Hour Rule (made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his best-selling book, Outliers) -- it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at a skill.
Instead, what's needed is what is known as elaborative rehearsal, connecting up what we're trying to learn with what we already know.