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How do you learn? How does anyone learn and why is that important?

by JasonHuber on ‎03-24-2010 07:11 AM

Do you know how you learn?

There is a very common idea that each person learns in a certain way. I usually would say students are visual learners, audible learners or tactile learners. So some learn by watching me write the items on the white board, some learn by hearing me say the items out loud many times and other learn by writing the items and or using the list in practice. This has been further described as a learning preference rather than a particular learning style for each person. If we realize and embrace this newer idea then perhaps we may enable ourselves to learn better and in other ways.

Remember that back in the 50’s when much of the research on learning was conducted we did not have computers or even TV in most homes. Books were expensive items and college was something a majority of people did not consider attending. There was no Facebook.com or email. You had party lines in your neighborhood rather than a dedicated phone line to your home. Now we all have computers in our houses.

There are also a few styles of learning such as active learners, sensing learners and visual learners. In my opinion sensing learners have a greater grasp of the spacial world around them and they can learn by experiencing the ideas of another through story or TV or from reading a book or hearing a description of a process. Active learners have to give it a try. This can take time because you need to have the tool available that facilitate you working it out. And visual learners need to see it done. They can repeat the process if they can watch it being performed by someone else once. Perhaps they have a harder time when their situation does not match the control environment, but overall if you can demonstrate it they can learn to repeat the process.

How do we use this in training at Sage

Well for the visual learners we provide a nice video of each piece of the class in video format. This works well for a learner who needs to hear it too. They watch as a trainer walks them through the customization and explains the process. More advanced learners can skip through the video if they already know the work being performed. They can subscribe to the Developers Subscription or Admin Subscription and learn there too.

an example of a screenshot in a training manual
Visual learners also benefit from the books that are part of each class. They include any major parts of the interface that we are adjusting and code snippets being used. Many times a visual learner will be able to remember which page or pages a topic is on because they remember where it was in the book. You can see them flip back to it if you watch them closely.

Tactile learners or active learners are given the chance to try it out. In all of our classes the student is given an actual machine to try out the exercises. Visual learners will benefit from this step as well because it will reinforce the learning from the book and videos. Audible learners or those who learn by watching benefit less from this part of the class, but it cannot be dismissed. In some cases the trouble or frustration caused by performing the steps can be a deterrent to this type of student and that needs to be considered.

Is there more to learning?

Active learners of all sorts will be considering the topics in the class and considering those topics in other situations. If we show you how to create a lookup one way is there another way to create one? What about a better way or a time when our method will not work?

The MORE to learning is applying what we give you in class to your situations in the real world. We cannot give an education it must be obtained. It is not possible to obtain what we need as successful students (of SalesLogix) in only 3 days. It is just the start.

Why is my learning style important?

It is less important than you might think. Realizing that you may have a preference for one style over another is the key. If you prefer to watch a video and read the book then do that. If you can read the book and try it yourself on our machine do that. You need to evaluate your learning process against some concrete results. Try a lesson one way and then try to repeat the lessons that you learned (creating a lookup) on a clean environment. Were you successful? Perhaps you need to add some practice in or adjust your method.

It is important to know your learning style because the real cost of an education is time. It takes time to learn and doing it inefficiently costs a lot of time. Usually this is the difference between meeting a deadline and not.

The goal of learning

If you consider the goal of learning you may learn just enough to meet that goal. We each may have a different goal. If the goal is to learn enough to do our job as effectively and efficiently as possible then realizing our learning style is important.

ref: http://csta.villanova.edu/CITIDEL/bitstream/10117/196/6/ThomasLA.pdf

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on ‎03-24-2010 04:43 PM
What happened to my comment? It was there after I posted it.
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