Consumer Learning

Consumer Learning Meaning, Definition, Components, Principles and Process 

 Table of Contents:-

Meaning of Consumer Learning

Consumer learning is a psychological process that plays an influential role in shaping consumer behaviour. It refers to the acquisition of skills, knowledge, and attitude that influence how people perceive, evaluate, and respond to different products and services in the market. Understanding consumer learning is important for businesses to develop effective marketing strategies that cater to the needs and preferences of their target audience. By analyzing the factors that influence consumer learning, companies can design user-friendly products, create compelling advertising campaigns, and provide exceptional customer service that promotes brand loyalty. Hence, consumer learning is a fundamental aspect of consumer behaviour that businesses cannot afford to overlook.

Learning is one of the important psychological processes that determine human behaviour. Through learning people acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that shape their actions and reactions. It is an ongoing process that lasts a lifetime. Thus, learning can be defined as the accumulation of behavioural changes resulting from the knowledge gained through training. It is a continuous journey of personal growth and development. An individual attains knowledge and practicality from the training process which acts as a feedback to the individual and a reference for future responses.

Learning acts as a dominant encouraging factor for employees to remain connected with organisations. It influences the abilities, various roles in life and motivation level of the individuals, Besides influencing individual behaviour, learning also plays a vital role in the management of knowledge. Through knowledge management, an organisation’s acquisition and sharing capacity get boosted. As a result. knowledge can be utilised properly to improve the continuity and prosperity of the organisation.

Definition of Consumer Learning

According to Martyn Sloman, “Learning is the process by which a person constructs knowledge, skills and capabilities”.

According to Sanford, “Learning is a relatively enduring behaviour change bought about as a consequence of experience”.

Components of Consumer Learning 

There are several methods by which consumer learning takes place. Below mentioned are four major components of learning:

1) Motivation: Motivation fosters the process of learning and is one of the chief components of consumer learning. The goals and desires of an individual help in determining motivation alongwith the cultural and situational factors that influence the process of consumer decision making. For example, if a person wants to become a professional photographer, he will look for numerous information related to professional photography.

2) Cues: How a customer responds to a motive is greatly affected by cues. A cue can be understood as weak stimuli which do not have the capacity of stimulating consumers but can certainly direct motivational activities. There are several cues available in the shopping environment, e.g., product colour, and sales promotion which can be selected by the customers in case of various responses in a learning situation. How a silent motive is satisfied is proposed by the stimulus.

3) Response: Any mental or physical activity which customers go through to respond to a stimulus situation is termed a response. They can also be viewed as how persons react to a cue or drive. The different responses that are suitable to certain situations can be learnt through various experiences of such different situations, though it is not always possible to see the occurrence of a response. Thus, it is not necessary that no learning is taking place if one is not able to observe the responses.

4) Reinforcement: Reinforcement is a basic aspect of the learning process. Without reinforcement, it is impossible to observe any measurable modification and changes in behaviour. Reinforcement refers to any negative or positive result influencing the probability of a particular behaviour repeating itself in response to a particular stimulus or cue, in future. Anything which follows a response and has the potential of improving the likelihood of the response reoccurring in the same conditions can be seen as the most suitable reinforcement. The successful ways of reacting to the requirements of changing conditions can be learnt by consumers as repetition of reinforced behaviour tends to happen.

For example: If a person craves to have a delicious masala dosa and decides to try out a new Udipi restaurant that just opened up near his college. Naturally, he will have certain expectations based on his past experiences (reinforcements) of dining at Udipi restaurants.  If his previous encounters with the taste, size, ambience, service, and seating arrangements have been positive, he is more likely to become a loyal customer. However, if his past experiences have been less than satisfactory, he may choose to go elsewhere.

Domino’s Pizza has been able to create positive reinforcement through their claim and delivery of the Pizza (ordered by the customer) in 30 minutes. Customer expectations are built up through the various promotional schemes used by the company. So when Domino’s Pizza is delivered in 30 minutes, the customer will be satisfied with it. For, the customer learning takes place, especially since his or her experience has been positive and very satisfying.

Principles of Consumer Learning

The principles of learning are as follows:

  1. Principles of Learning
  2. Principle of Association
  3. Principle of Effect
  4. Principle of Readiness
  5. Principle of Intensity
  6. Principle of Reinforcement
  7. Principle of Recency

1) Principle of Association: The process in which the pairing of two observations occurs (e.g., “dozen” and “twelve”) is called association. This results in the arousal of thoughts. i.e., if one thinks about one, the other comes into the mind simultaneously. Many principles leave a considerable impact on the learning of associations:

  • i) Contiguity: Some objects are learned together. Such objects tend to correlate them. For example, if a graphic comprises a diagram which is accompanied by text, then the text should remind the associated diagram.
  • ii) Law of Effect: This law illustrates that there is a tendency for repetition of action when it is followed by a delightful result. For example, a Commissioner appreciates the sub-inspector for the method by which he handled a difficult arrest of a criminal. As a result, the inspector links the praise with the arrest method and there is a probability that he would use the same method again in the future.
  • iii) Practice: The stability of the association eventually increases with the redundancy of events. For example, when an individual climbs a hill again and again, then the frequency of the repetition will make an individual expert in climbing. But there is no guarantee that only practice can contribute to the stability of the association. However, if some reward is associated with it, then the reaction arising out of practice becomes more effective and there is a tendency for its continuation in the future too.

A group of researchers, called Gestalt psychologists, came out with an alternate view about the association view of learning. Gestalt researchers stated that learning cannot be forced by applying trial-and-error methods or by a combination of information and conclusions. Instead, it happens all of a sudden, through intuition. Intuition is a response where one’s experiences are visualised mentally, thus paving the way for the generation of new ideas or the evolution of new solutions. For example, when a person tries to solve a puzzle, he connects different blocks one by one to complete the puzzle. Each time he connects a block, he goes nearer to the solution of the puzzle.

2) Principle of Readiness: Readiness means determination and enthusiasm to acquire knowledge. Individuals, who apply an enthusiastic approach towards learning, can learn in the best way and if they lack the desire for learning, they cannot learn properly. An instructor’s prime responsibility is to make the individual ready for learning. If an individual possesses a definite aim for learning something, then sooner or later he excels in it. However, if a person is devoid of strong motivation to learn something, he may not succeed.

3) Principle of Effect: The emotional response of the learner defines the principle of effect. This principle advocates that learning is stronger when supported by positive emotions and it is weaker when supported by negative emotions. A learner feels demoralised on experiencing feelings of failure, frustration, anger, confusion or ineffectiveness. For example, if a person is taking lessons to fly an aeroplane, then the trainer should focus initially on giving training about how to fly the plane. But, if the trainer starts teaching how to land the plane on the first day of training, then the trainee might become horrified and disturbed.

4) Principle of Intensity: A learning exposure that is realistic, effective and pleasurable helps in the enrichment of teaching, unlike an experience which is usually routine or unexciting. According to the principle of intensity, the learner grasps more from the realistic experience rather than experiencing poor substitutions. For example, the learner who only focuses on reading books to learn about how to fly a plane will not gain much knowledge as it requires practical learning.

5) Principle of Recency: According to this principle, the things that are learned recently are more likely to be recalled by the learner. If a learner is acquiring new facts and is far away from old facts for a long time. Then it is the tendency to forget those old facts if not reanalysed recently. For example, it is easier to remember what happened yesterday, but it is difficult to remember what happened a month ago or a year ago.

6) Principle of Reinforcement: Reinforcement is a technique which not only helps in the stability of reaction but also has a tendency to activate the redundancy of behaviour that has happened before. However, there is a difference between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.

Consumer Learning Process 

This process includes the below-mentioned phases:

Phase 1: Attention: The first step in the process of consumer learning is attention. The attention of the customers can be targeted on the learning actions with the help of the consumer learning process. There will be no learning in the absence of attention as to bring the information into the active memory and maintain it, the presence of attention is vital. This is the reason that attention must be maintained throughout the complete learning process.

Phase 2: Expectancy: After the attention of consumers is grabbed, they expect something good to occur. This gives birth to different inspirational ideas so that they can also be involved in the significant phases of the learning process.

Phase 3: Retrieval of Relevant Information to Working Memory: In this stage, the long-term memory is accessed by the consumer to gain new information or find out the solution to various problems.

Phase 4: Selective Perception: At this stage, the main focus of the customer remains on the main instructions which are given importance in the presentation. The inability of the consumers to learn due to improper attention is the result of the impossibility that the teachers cannot examine the attention of the students just by mere inspection. Either because of insufficiency in the presentation to attract attention or the inability of the learner to pay attention or due to both reasons, there will not be any selective perception.

Phase 5: Encoding – Entry of Information into Long-Term Storage: Here, the consumer stores the fact and information which have already been attended to, in the long-term memory, where a relation between the already stored ones is built.

Phase 6: Responding: All the facts which were stored in the long-term memory are recollected by the customer in this phase, and are strongly used in the various activities. The correct learning process is evident in the proper execution of work.

Phase 7: Feedback: Here, the level of work satisfaction obtained with the help of knowledge received during the last stage is determined by the customers. If there is a positive response to the performance in the feedback encouragement is provided to the customers.

Phase 8: Cueing Retrieval: Here, all the facts are implemented or recalled by the consumer which was clear in the previous stages, and then the main focus remains on the fact preservation or simply the implementation of knowledge.

Consumer Learning

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