Learning - how to learn

Learning - how to learn

Learning is something we do every day. Some learn more than others, but we all learn regardless. Have you ever wondered how you learn? Is there a better way to learn? Imagine there was an optimal way for you to learn. You could dramatically accelerate your learning and resulting outcomes. So how do we learn?

Obviously, the answer is not straightforward and universal. Different people have different learning styles. Some are visual. Some are experiential. However, cognitive scientists have been able to cobble together a framework to encapsulate the different learning styles into a process. Ebbinghaus, Dewey, Bloom, and Kolb are some of the prominent theorists who put together learning models.

Take David Kolb. He developed what he called Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle. In his process, people were presented with concrete evidence, on which they reflected, then conceptualised in their heads, and finally acted upon their learning. Cyclical in nature, once you acted upon your learning, you went back to the beginning to reevaluate your learning.

This is easier said than done. We see this in our own experiences all the time. We jump to conclusions; we believe we have understood; we believe that we know. We could easily jump from being presented with evidence to acting on what we think we have learned. Clearly, you are short on your actual learning.

So what would it take to truly use this learning model? Imagine that you wanted your child to learn how to learn. I will refrain from calling us adults children for fear of offending you, but the truth is that often adults are worse than children when it comes to their willingness to learn.

The best tool is to make your learning process deliberate. Too often, we try to learn on the fly. After all, we are not in school and undergoing formal training. So we learn in our office settings, on the job, distracted by hundreds of pressing issues. No wonder we jump from evidence to action. But if you truly want to learn how to learn, you need to find the time to go through the process, even if it takes an hour. Start with trying to learn how to learn.