The Essence Of Learning

Why does learning come easy for some and not for others?

For as long as I can recall, I have been one of those unfortunate people who hardly every remembers things. And not just the trivial crap either, all that inconsequential chaff that we wish we’d never lost time over in the first place, but important stuff too. I forget names, places, things that I’d done, even people that I’ve worked with! It might even be embarrassing if hadn’t forgotten the meaning that word at opportune times too.

Are some of our brains is wired in a different way, designed to self clean at every opportunity?

Is there an automatic squeegee constantly going back and forth, polishing the whiteboard inside my skull, removing any impermanent ink as fast as it can be written?

It does seem that way sometimes. On the plus side I’ve got a lovely gleaming piece of minimalist artwork sitting there, you should see it - it’s beautiful! It’s probably worth a small fortune too…

Where was I? Oh yes, an all too short attention span, coupled with an intense dislike of attempting to remember formula and facts, simply to regurgitate them at school exams may have been a factor of course, but that’s another story entirely! 

So where is all that information that I’ve seen and heard and smelt and read and experienced? I have no idea where most of those memories have gone, they will be hidden away somewhere, but there are many I intend to relocate when the mood takes me. I’ll be sharing that journey and the techniques that I explore, especially ones that work for me with you.

Aside from the hilarity of my own memory woes, the way we are fed information in the first place has a massive bearing on what we take in. Having a passion for something is the first, and the biggest factor in my book. So firstly we should do the stuff that interests us, we will find ourselves naturally wanting to learn more about it.

So now that we have something that’s really worth learning about, we have to consider the process that we use for that learning. William Glasser’s research into the effectiveness of learning methods is a good guide for us to follow.

We learn:

Ten percent of what we read

Twenty percent of what we hear

Thirty percent of what we see

Fifty percent of what we see and hear

Seventy percent of what we discuss

Eighty percent of what we experience

Ninety five percent of what we we teach others

Therefore the more we are immersed into a subject, the better we learn about it. Maybe this is why we are so animated in the pub with our peers after climbing, to the amusement of everyone else. We instinctively know that mimicking moves, breaking down routes, and discussing training techniques is more effective of our time than just being at home watching videos or reading books? 

This is a reason why we should all consider being coached, even those of us who let our egos think we are above being helped in this way, and why we should also coach others, formally or informally.

That is until matrix style learning becomes reality - and it won’t be long now! Kung Fu anybody…

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