Learning is defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior due to experience which simply means that unless your behavior changes, you really didn't learn anything.
This definition is the crux of how cognition and learning are interlinked. When the learning process takes place there are changes in how the brain processes thought. For example: If someone gets ill every time they eat a certain food like green peppers, the thought process surrounding that activity will change, from a positive learning experience to a negative.
In our brains, the cognitive process can be explained in many ways. One of those ways is a theory by Jean Piaget which states that higher brain functioning, including learning, is a three step process of forming schema (basic building block of thought), assimilation (adding information to a schema), and accommodation (adding information to a schema but with a modification). As long as the process is maintained, learning of new information and knowledge takes place. However, if this cognitive process is interrupted, learning fails to occur. For example, if you are studying for a test on a new topic you must build a schema around that topic. As you read and learn new information, details are added to the schema. When information is complex, or contradicts something you understood about that schema, an accommodation occurs. However, if you do not know enough information to build on the schema, or the schema never develops, no learning will take place. Thus, the two are inseparable. If you have learning, you have thought. And with thought, there is always the possibility of learning.
I hope this helps,