How do we learn ?

An interesting question in it’s own right and not one that I believe has a definitive answer as there are many ways of learning. For me the more pertinent question is how do we know we’ve have learned something ? Or what is knowledge.

I began my exploration by watching the Vimeo link that was suggested to us (see below)


I learned a few things from watching this lecture. Namely I now know who is attributed to one of my favourite Chinese proverbs for learning. Lao-Tse.

“if you tell me I will listen

if you show me I will see

but if you let me experience I will learn”

Although I have always quoted it as

“I hear I forget,

I see I remember, 

I do I understand!”

While the former may be more factually correct in it’s translation, I prefer the sentiment of my mistranslation. I feel understanding is the most important part of learning as it could be argued that remembering something is still learning. That said, will I remember that the above quote was by Lao-Tse in 5,10, 15, 20 years time ? Questionable at best. But will I understand the what that quote means to me ? I’d guess yes. That to me is learning.

The Video goes on to introduce various learning concepts, which unbeknownst to me I have inadvertently researched as part of my personal exploration of communication. In fact there are a striking number of similarities between this video and a lecture I do on the history of communication, as well as another lectures I do on creativity.

The topics that are introduced are.

  • Apprenticeship
  • Dialogue
  • Pedagogy
  • Visual Aids
  • Three R’s
  • Gaming
  • Learner Centred
  • Case Study
  • Distance education
  • Hands on Learning
  • Roleplaying
  • Learn by procedure
  • Individualised instruction
  • Stimulus-response
  • Active learning
  • Cognitive development
  • Constructivism
  • Discovery learning
  • Practice-based learning
  • Cognitive science
  • Bloom’s taxonomy 
  • Observational learning 
  • Standards based learning
  • Self paced study
  • Lifelong learning 
  • Multiple intelligences
  • Connectivism

The topics I’ve highlighted in red are perhaps the ones that I have most affinity towards. I’m drawn towards the ideas of applied learning and self-efficacy. Indeed I try to build my lectures and courses around these principles.

Beyond this I myself as a learner and dyslexic have begun to appreciate the importance of lifelong learning and the various thinking styles that people employ.  I’m often found saying to students . “you’re here to learn how to learn”, but maybe I’m echoing my own thoughts.

However it is the last concept of Connectivism that I believe current educators are trying to understand , synthesise and apply to our teaching practices.

Again if I bring this back to my own experience. I am currently looking at ways we can take advantage of freely available online tools to help facilitate a peer-to-peer learning platform/environment to help our students develop their technical skills. This is a particular challenge to us (Advertising) as we are part of the Media school. This means that we do not have any explicit Adobe or design based teaching on our course, however there is an increasing need for our students to also be proficient in these tools.

I think I will save that for another blog post where I will reflect on either The Student Experience, or Problems and Mysteries.

Right now I’ll let what I think I’ve learned digest, we’ll see what I’ve ACTUALLY learned in the next post.


Cool Beans



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