The learning by insight theory, also known as the Gestalt theory of learning, suggests that learning occurs through sudden moments of insight or understanding, rather than through gradual accumulation of knowledge or reinforcement. According to this theory, individuals can solve problems or gain understanding by reorganizing their perceptions or mental representations of the problem.
Insight learning is often characterized by a sudden "aha!" moment, where the individual suddenly sees the solution or understands the underlying concept. This type of learning is often associated with problem-solving tasks that require individuals to think creatively and make connections between different pieces of information.
One famous example of insight learning is the experiment conducted by Wolfgang Köhler with chimpanzees. In the experiment, the chimpanzees were presented with a problem of reaching a banana that was placed outside their cage but within reach if they used a stick. Initially, the chimpanzees tried various unsuccessful strategies, but eventually, they had a sudden insight and used the stick to reach the banana.
Insight learning is believed to involve a restructuring of mental representations or schemas, where individuals reorganize their understanding of a problem or concept to arrive at a solution. This restructuring can occur through various cognitive processes such as analogy, mental simulation, or recombination of existing knowledge.
Overall, the learning by insight theory suggests that learning is not always a gradual process but can occur through sudden moments of understanding and reorganization of mental representations.