Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Individual Learning Procsses

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_2218

Each decision made by individuals is a test of one’s knowledge, which refers to situational dynamics. What one does at any point in time depends on one’s knowledge at that time, and on the logic of the situation in which that knowledge is used. Behavioural changes result from changes in one’s knowledge as well as from intended or unintended changes in one’s situation (Boisot et al. 2007). Defining learning processes benefits from the distinction between two competitive theories of knowledge: the “bucket” versus the “searchlight” theories of knowledge. This distinction has been introduced by Karl Popper and is analysed in Boland and Fowler (2000). In the “bucket” theory of knowledge, individual learning processes are nothing but an accumulation of data and “raw” experience. Knowledge acquisition is nothing but adding to one’s bucket (therefore its name) on the grounds that the more observations one makes, the more knowledge one has. It is also related to beliefs about inductive logic...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Boisot, M. H., et al. (2007). Explorations in information space. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boland, T., & Fowler, A (2000). A systems perspective of performance management in public sector organization. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 13(5), 417–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012