The relationship between learning and cognition is that cognition is a process that results in a learned behavior or response. As a result of this relationship, learning takes place through many forms of cognitive behavior.
While learning and cognition may appear similar, they are defined differently. Learning is defined as an activity or process that results in knowledge being gained. Cognition is defined as the act or process of knowing.
Besides the aforementioned relationship, these two items are performance-based. Learning is based on the theory that an organism is born with the neurological ability to acquire knowledge. Whether through a structured environment, such as school or work, or trial and error, some cognitive processes take place to produce knowledge. These same processes become traits of the individual and can lead to additional learning. There are different levels of cognition that vary with the species. Humans are known to have a high level that may not be present in other animals.
A major factor with learning and cognition is motivation. The greater the stimuli from a person's environment, the greater the emphasis on learning a new behavior. Through this process, the positive and negative feedback that received helps govern which processes are maintained and which are discarded.