How do you learn?

Education is the process in which we discover that learning adds quality to our lives. Learning must be experienced.-William Glasser

You bring your new DVD player home. What is the first thing you do? Do you open it and then read the manual carefully? Do you set it up and just press buttons to see what it does and how it works? Or do you ask someone in the know to show you how to use it? These are learning styles and we all have one or many. If you are a visual learner, you learn by observing. If you are an auditory learner, you learn by listening. And if you are a hands-on learner, you learn by doing. We often have a bit of all three styles, although one is more predominant. I ask my better half to explain to me how to work the DVD player because he likes to read the manual. There is no one right way to learn. Learning is never linear...we wend and weave as we learn something new, drawing upon a host of styles, skills, experience and past learning to make the vital connections.

There's an exercise I do with my adult learners. It's called '50 Things I know how to do that I can teach others.' We make a list. Often it's difficult to think of 5 things for their list. Maybe it's the fact that the spotlight is shining on them. Perhaps it's because they take for granted, like we all do, what they, in fact, know. I suggest they start by listing simple things like tying their shoes, fixing something, making a dish, dancing a dance, or singing a song. Then we find a partner and teach each other one thing from that list. This is a great ice-breaker, warm-up activity, or party game.

According to Glasser,

“We Learn . . .
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss
80% of what we experience
95% of what we teach others.”

What new thing have you learned today that's worth remembering and how did you learn it? What have you taught someone else today?


  1. This is a goal that I should give myself each day. We are at a difficult point right now in the job search for my husband. I need to teach myself to rethink this search. I want to find a way to reach my husband and help him see a way out of this situation. I know that I need to carve out the time to really think out the next step for each of us. We need to "grow" out of this fear and learn a new way of tackling it. Thanks for pushing me with this post to shake off this paralysis of sorts.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how these relate to a difficult time with your husband's job search. It can be challenging and frustrating not knowing what is next (I've lived that myself). That fear of the unknown can also lead to this paralysis you talk about. May the transition to your next step for both you and your husband, be seamless.


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