Archive for the ‘Learning Theory’ Category

I think this is an interesting topic in the world of accelerated learning.  Most people learn by trial and error.  They really have not formal education on how to learn.  The question is, “is learning a skill like everything else that can be taught?”

One of the more interesting ways to learn how to learn is to try to teach something.  When you do this, you have to struggle with why others aren’t learning what you’re teaching or it doesn’t stick very long. 

Part of it is understanding your own learning style so you can productively work on learning something.  For example, I know people who need to write things down to understand and remember something while others need to actually see a demonstration.  So if this isn’t part of the way the teacher teaches than can you translate it for yourself.

I also think there are a lot of trick and techniques for things like taking tests, writing papers and even studying.  They aren’t always one size fits all, but they’re a start.   I remember when I was in school that there were two types of kids that got good grades.  One group that really studied hard and spent a lot of time going over things.  The other group didn’t study much at all but seem to do well.  I think they knew something the other kids didn’t.  Because of the school I went to, you can rule out difference in IQs or even social background.  They were very similar and at the higher end. 

My guess is that one group did things the hard way and the other group had learned how to learn. 

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I’ve corresponded for serveral years with Dr. Carl Binder partly because I like to know if it’s raining in Seattle and partly because of his expertise in the training and performance improvement world.

 He does a great workshop on how to build fluency that is really a key component of learning that most people leave out.  Think about fluency as the speed and ease by which you can do something.  Can you answer a series of math questions given enough time to work them out or can you respond in a rapid fire way with confidence? 

In the second case, you really have to know things a lot better.  You have reached a state of performance where everything is natural and easy.  I think I’ve posted before that someone who gets 700 on their SATs in half the time is actually more knowledgeable and fluent than someone who takes the entire time.  This is not a difference in style but a difference in fluency.

So how do you add fluency to learning or education?  You have to set up practice sessions that contain timed activities.  Not just once but many times.  You can go to Carl’s website http://www.binder-riha.com to get lots of good ideas.

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One of the most important skills you can learn in life is how to sell.  It’s part of everything you do in your personal and business life.  It’s really all about how do you get other people excited about your ideas and getting them to agree with you.

 Unfortunately, there is a strong bias in educations and schools against selling.  So it doesn’t happen.  In fact, selling gets loaded up with a lot of negative connotations.  It’s really a disservice to kids.

Learning to sell is really about how to build rapport and connect with others, how to listen and ask great questions, how to present ideas and concepts in a way that persuades, and how to reach agreement and concensus.  Is this as important as learning to read?  Is it as important as memorizing the date of the Norman Conquest?

One of the key things about learning to sell is that it takes lots and lots of practice.  Getting started early is a big help.

So for all of you who have a chance to do something different than traditional school, I suggest adding sales to the curriculum.

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Social Learning

30324518.jpg I’ve started to read a little more about Social Learning.  It’s the learning that happens when people interact in various social settings.  It does support the fact that most people when asked what they liked best about a seminar or workshop will say that it’s the interaction with other participants.  Here are a few good websites on social learning.

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Experiential Learning

When you ask most people what’s the best way to learn, they usually say learning by doing.  Experiential learning, sometimes called action learning, is the common approach or name for this type of learning.  Is it new?  Well it goes back to a paper written by John Dewey in 1938 called Education and Experience.  In those days, this was a radical change from the strict regimine of formal learning.

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transbust.gifI found this interesting.  When Archimedes jumped in the bath tub and learned about displacement he cried “EUREKA” (I have found it!). Today this is also known as the “Aha!” method.  This goes back to 212 BC.  It’s a much more effective way of learning than lecture but it is a very old method.

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This is the best quick sysnopsis of all the various learning theories, models and paradigms.  I’m sure there are more everyday but it’s always good to at least know what the common ones are.  Check Learning Theories.

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I was struck by an article in the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administrators.  The article talked about the differences in adult learning after college and college students.  They said that adults were more concerned about using what they learned to achieve goals and were more relevancy oriented.  I think this is more a comment on how schools are set up then on what anyone really wants.  I can’t imagine a college age student or even a 5th grader saying they would prefer learning something esoteric than something they could use.  There just used to the lack of relevancy I guess.  Also the adults have to pay for education directly which makes a big difference.

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