I feel that I am constantly learning everyday from people around you, your environment, researching on topics of personal interest. I feel that we never stop learning and that learning in any form is an adventure – big or small. I feel my life would be very dull if I stopped learning, the opportunities to learn are endless. My career is in Learning & Development so I feel I am constantly learning – about all sorts of topics, strategies, systems, processes, people and products. I feel the responsibility of the trainer is a great responsibility as we need to understand the new information before we can impart the skill or information to our participants in a way that they will also understand and remember.
There is a Chinese proverb that I feel sums up effective learning:
Tell me and I will forget; show me and I will remember; do and I will understand.
Most people learn best by ‘doing’ not just being told or shown. I feel it also should be an interactive and fun learning experience. I feel that when you are having fun, the learning is incremental – it will happen without really trying. The same applies to other things, for example, when you are having fun while exercising – it doesn’t feel so onerous. Learning is evolving, there are so many ways you can learn – it is not limited to the ‘old school’ classroom style of learning where there is a person up the front of the room talking at you where you sit, listen, take notes and maybe ask some questions – where is the fun in that?
People are often wary when different methods of learning are applied, I have found that people are often afraid of change. The way you learn may be very different to the way I learn or the way someone else learns. The most effective method for one individual may vary greatly with another individual. I feel a great learning experience is when it is facilitated by an experienced facilitator(s) – they are familiar with the topic, make the topic fun, can generate ideas, questions, achieve learning outcomes as well as spark curiosity, willingness to learn and push you outside your comfort zone. I feel that learning is best achieved when we are outside our comfort zones, but in a positive way. I have attended only a handful of these learning opportunities and these few facilitators have done this well. The learning was fun, outcomes achieved and we walked away feeling as thought the learning session ended too soon.
I also feel we need to keep an open mind in regards to learning – an example of this is that you should never discount who or where you may learn from. I am learning from my 9 year old daughter as she is being taught how to solve math problems very differently to the way I was taught in school. I was taught learning by repetition, she is encouraged to use different strategies to find out the answer and that there is not only one way to work out the answer. I feel if I was taught in this way, math might not have been my weakest subject. Although the way I was taught might have worked for others, it certainly wasn’t the best method for me.
I use these basic principles below when facilitating learning and find it quite effective, it is a fundamental method to effective learning:
- Tell – Explain new information/ skill/ process/ product/ system
- Show – Demonstrate the skill, process, information, system or product
- Do – Practice by participants with guidance as a group and individually
- Review – Revise learning
Learning takes practice and I have a saying “practice makes permanent!”
My next learning adventure will be to brush up on my high school French, it hasn’t been practiced so it is not permanent. It is something I have been wishing to do for some time now. I have found a free website called Duolingo (www.duolingo.com) where you can choose from a list of different languages. It starts at Basic level activities and progresses up a level as you complete each one. I found the basic level had activities that were fun, engaging and provide me with visual, audio and kinesthetic methods for learning. Now that I’ve completed the Basic level , I’m looking forward to see my how my learning increases as I progress and complete each level.
What will your next learning adventure be?