How does Learning occur?

We have all spent large amounts of our lives in a classroom and therefore have some intuitions about learning as a student through extracurricular classes, sports, or formal schooling. Though we have “learned” or “studied” language, reading or some other basic fundamentals that come with the formal education process, very few of us were taught how to learn.                  

This is important when you are in a learning environment and a large portion of this educational process is to engage yourself in self-directed learning. Discover more about yourself, your processes, articulate your goals, and understand your motivations.                   

One of the big misunderstandings about learning is that it is listening. It is mostly what’s happening in cases of audiobooks, TED talk, or Educational YouTube videos. Not to say that these are not great tools for learning, but learning is not listening because if it was, you would know all those audio books, TED talks, and Educational YouTube videos you’ve ever watched, but the truth is you probably don’t.            

When most people say they’ve seen an Educational YouTube video of some kind, by and large, after having just been exposed to it, you probably don’t have much more than a big overarching thesis. So learning is not listening and teaching is not telling. Instead, learning is doing. Learning is and should be a highly engaged process. Learning opportunities occur when people teach, explain, ask questions, take notes, reflect, get feedback and practice. With every single component of the learning process we are constantly and actively doing.                   

Throughout the process of being actively engaged in your learning process, you may get important instances of insight, which are certainly important. However, are these insights really learning? To some extent they are and they help with the process, but in reality, a lot of the learning will happen in the behavior changes between sessions or as you digest the materials.                   

You have to get out, experiment, try things, and get feedback in which you can continue the feedback loop.    

A true learning process:

Did modifying my nutritional plan work? Yes/No/ I don’t know

If, Yes/No/ I don’t know           

  1. What are the specifics of it that I noticed                   
  2. What are some of the changes that I observed? 

Did modifying my nutritional plan work?  – Yes/No/ I don’t know

Did any particular type of exercise, work?  – Yes/No/ I don’t know           

A feedback loop:

Did any particular type of exercise work? Yes/No/I don’t know   

If, Yes/No/I don’t know           

  1. What are the details of it that I understand?
  2. What kind of changes that I observed?

If, Yes/No/ I don’t know, what are the details of it that I understand? What kind of changes did I observe?

Whatever the process is, it is important to get some good information and create a feedback loop, that’s going to help in making the next action step forward. This process is a little behavioral experiment that you are going to engage in and we need to treat it as such.

Here, we are going to encourage you to really learn. Learn about yourself, to do that, we encourage you to take notes and figure out what works and doesn’t work for you. Think about this in terms of engagement: Asking questions, writing comments, reflecting afterwards, sharing your process and experiences, and providing support to your community.