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Author Topic: How do you learn?  (Read 5079 times)

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Fox

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How do you learn?
« on: September 10, 2009, 12:36:11 PM »

Everybody learns a bit differently.  Depending on the subject, you may find that different methods work better than others for one thing and a completely different approach is better for another.

I am not one that learns well in a very structured and rigid environment that involves couching everything in very dry and heavy academic terms that only PhDs can comprehend.  I’m not saying that that method is ineffective or wrong, it just isn’t the kind of environment that I learn well in.

For me, I learn through common sense and tactile and emotional interaction.  In other words, just getting in and doing.   I also tend to learn better if I can find a connection to the subject somewhere in my daily life.  That is probably why I always disliked most math.  The teachers never really gave us a real life view of how we could use it in our everyday lives outside of handling time and money.  It was just “Here is a problem.  You solve it like this because that is what I said”.

When it comes to reading, I will retain much more of what I’ve read if the author can personalize the material rather than present it as a college lecture, a list of facts or abstract theory.  If I read something and I don’t get the sense that the author has dealt with any of the normal, everyday trials and troubles that most humans experience, I have a difficult time swallowing what they are talking about.

It probably sounds a bit on the wonky side, but I have learned more about myself and what I believe and don’t believe by reading works of fiction than I have from any other source.  That isn’t to say that I believe in some make believe world, but those worlds are often created in such a way to help you understand this one and how we interact with it.

Of all of the things that I consider myself good at (I don’t consider myself an expert at anything), every one of them are mostly self taught through getting in and doing and experiencing.  Sure, I have also learned by researching, reading, listening to others experiences and opinions, but it was still mostly trial and error.  More times than not, lots of error.

I am the type of person that when I get something new that has to be put together, I glance at the instructions to get the general idea and then get started doing.  For me, I have found that most step by step instructions are missing at least one or two critical pieces along the way and if I depend only on those, nothing would ever get done or it wouldn’t hold up when it was finished.  I have found that my spirituality is much the same.  If I have to rely on dry academics or step by step instructions, I’d never have the satisfaction of feeling as though I was a part of forming my spirituality nor would that spirituality hold up to the onslaught of daily life.
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AmberRaven

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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 12:41:23 PM »

Good post Fox!  Its interesting to learn how other people learn.

Myself, I am hands on.  I like to "feel" what I'm doing.  Much like you, I learn better if something is more personalized instead of feeling like your reading out of a text book.

I'm getting ready to teach my first Wicca 101 year and a day.  I'm teaching about 80% of the class.  And with each class I have written, I give the students my personal experiences and try to make real life situations when I can.  I feel a good number of people learn better that way.  expecially with religion.  I can talk about deity and energy and the moon phases till I'm blue in the face.  But if I dont add in my own personal views or add in my own experiences then whats the point of teaching?  You can learn this knowledge in hundreds of books.  But most people who are starting out in Wicca or Paganism are alone, they dont have anyone to talk to.

I'm just trying to make it a little more real for these seekers
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bluefire

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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 03:09:43 PM »

Interesting post.  Thanks, Fox.

I need to involve all parts of me to learn something new.  I do like the history, the facts, but those things are just that to me, interesting ideas to get me started or to explain something I can't put into place.  I love ideas.  I love talking about ideas and learning new ideas.  But I don't own something as my own until I work with it and make it my own.

I need to constantly learn at work.  I love having the big picture in place with facts and then drill down to the smaller elements.  I get new software to use all the time.  My team members are great because they know the routine by now.  I take the tutorial or go to the class, THEN I start messing with it and have 100 questions.  Once I get the basics, I'm off and running.  That's when the fun, creative stuff starts.

As far as learning about spirituality is concerned, I think it's very much the same.  I am not the scholarly type there.  I look for information that I need, when I need it.  But mostly I look for inspiration.  I'm grateful for what I know, what I've been taught, for the sharing of ideas.  But honestly?  Living life mindfully is my greatest teacher.

I've been thinking of things I can share here in Pagan Journeys that might be useful to newbies who come onboard.  It's a fine balance between sharing some of what I believe with being open to others who may see things a different way.  When switching from the student role to the teacher role, I am very much the same.  I can share some facts (as I see them anyway), but hopefully I can share more than that and pass on some of the same kind of inspiration that keeps me going.
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dragonspring

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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 06:11:01 PM »

I guess I learn in a lot of different ways.  Actually, I am a very good student with the dry type of academics.  I've always loved math and science and the theory behind them.  I also enjoy literature and the study of literary devices.

When I get interested in something, I usually read everything I can get my hands on.  In past times, I would read everything available at the public library.  With the advent of the Internet, I can surf from one site to another for hours on end when I am studying something new. 

I also learn by doing.  When I have to learn a new program at work, I'll usually download the tech manuals and then I just start using the program.  I provide tech support on several control systems and I've never attended formal tech training for most of them.

I guess I've learned my spirituality in the same manner: researching the theory and diving into the application and practice.
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2009, 10:52:36 PM »

I'm a voracious reader, as long as something piques my interest. For example, I've never read The Lord of the Rings because I can't stand Tolkien's way of writing... but I love the movies.

In general with learning I'm part "read the instructions" and part "look at the pictures and figure it out as I go along". I see the logic in things and can follow it, seeing how the pieces fit together to make part of a larger whole. With regards to my spiritual path, I see recurring themes and similarities in things I read and experience, and tend to accept those as my Truths. But the way in which I live within those Truths is very personal.

Sometimes the analytical side is more of a hinderance than a help, and I have been admonished on more than one occasion to "Feel, not think".
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2009, 01:44:52 AM »

Wow.  Interesting.  I'm not exactly sure how to answer though. 

I have to be interested in something to learn it.  I need motivation.  I hate math, but did well in it ... but I probably drove my professors nuts. :rolleye:  In junior college, I had the same fellow for 5 semesters in a row.  He was the veritable mathematician ... complete with the wild hair.  He'd lecture for 3 hours straight without a break.  But he was trainable ... whenever a new concept was discussed I'd always ask what I might use it for in "the real world".  I don't do well with having to learn or memorize something just for the sake of knowing it ... I need to be able to use it.  After me constantly asking him to give examples, about the 3rd semester he started planning them into his lectures. :rotflmao:  I only use manuals (either for equipment or software) to selectively look up things I can't figure out myself.

As far as spirituality, as much as my brain wants to "logic it out" I don't really "get it" unless I experience it.  I'm not sure one actually "learns" spirituality as much as we connect with what we already know deep down inside.  I figure it out much more quickly if I just "feel" my way through it.  For me it's very much a "just do it" sort of thing.  Though I should qualify that and say that being able to connect something from a logical sense with things that I've felt or experienced helps me to progress some concepts past the point where I just feel it ... in a sense it helps me to "know" it as well.

I'm not sure how much sense any of that makes ... it's been a long week and I've not gotten nearly enough sleep. :whistle:
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2009, 07:02:52 AM »

It's hard to say.  I learn VERY quickly and I have an excellent memory.  I can remember almost everything I read (though, the skill went away for a while from lack of use, but I'm bringing it back now.)  I can also remember things people say if I'm in the right 'zone' for it, and when I was in university I never took notes because my notes are always poor and it distracted me from actually listening anyway. If I needed a point of reference the text would always do it.
Some things I'm more hands on as well. Music, sewing and spell work I all found a LOT easier to do just by doing.  I never took sewing classes...anything I didn't figure out by trial and error or my mom telling me when I was younger, I read in a couple of my texts and just applied it.  I also taught myself patternmaking using a text book.  It wasn't really a lengthly process though...sort of just 'ok measure this here, draw here' and then voila I had a pattern.  I even skipped a lot of the parts about how to use a basic block pattern to make anything because I figured it out on my own.  I majored in music but practice is what really gives you the skill and even all my teachers were telling us that.  it was a azz program and most of them never studied music...just played for YEARS.  Spell crafting didn't make a lot of sense in books....it was a good point of reference but I think it's something you really have to 'feel'.

I don't learn well from people showing me things.  If someone shows me how to do something, I tend to forget.  I have to read it, hear it or do it, not see it done.  The only exception for this for me was knitting.

I don't have to always have a practical reference for things either.  I'm good at math and theory.
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2009, 10:25:46 AM »

I've always been a bookworm so when I want to learn I read copious amounts. However, I don't retain very well. I'm not a walking encyclopedia type with the facts (frustrating as my husband is and has a photographic memory)... I tend to look to the big picture to find overarching principles or draw conclusions. I think in order to really retain I have to be extremely interested in the topic. I've been reading up on herbal medicines but I don't take a lot of notes. Same with the witchy stuff. What sticks in my mind is the stuff that I use or think will be useful for me. Hands-on experience with the subject matter does help especially if I have to teach someone about something by demonstration. I think that is the case for many folks. It would be interesting to find a quiz that would tell the answer to this question, Fox, because I'm guessing there's are nuances to how I learn that I don't realize and if I knew about them, I could use them to my advantage.
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2009, 12:24:36 PM »

It would be interesting to find a quiz that would tell the answer to this question, Fox, because I'm guessing there's are nuances to how I learn that I don't realize and if I knew about them, I could use them to my advantage.

Here you go, EM.  This quiz is pretty accurate.  It's the kind of quiz we use in adult learning principles.  It breaks things down into Auditory, Visual and Tactile.  Basically auditory learners like to hear the information.  Visual learners like to read the information and tactile learners are the most hands on.  In these tests I always come out as auditory and yet my preference is tactile.  To really absorb complex content, I have to work with it.  But my natural learning style is to be taught.  And that makes sense -- that's my starting point.  There's quite a few of these tests out there on the Internet.  This one gives good tips.

http://www.petersons.com/education_planner/discovering_article.asp?sponsor=2859&articleName=Learning_styles_quiz
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2009, 12:59:09 PM »

I turned out 40% Auditory, 20% Visual and 40% Tactile.

But I KNOW that I'm also a visual learner, it's just that the questions had no 'all of the above' and since I live music I always picked the music stuff or the active stuff over the art stuff even though I also love art.  But given a choice between the two I'd pick music.  Now if it were fashion design......that would be a tough one...
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Fox

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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2009, 01:13:04 PM »

Oh, I think that was very accurate!

Quote
Auditory: 25% Visual: 35% Tactile: 40%

You are a tactile learner, so you learn by touching and doing.
You understand and remember things through physical
movement. You are a "hands-on" learner who prefers to touch,
move, build, or draw what you learn, and you tend to learn better
when some type of physical activity is involved. You need to be
active and take frequent breaks, you often speak with your hands
and with gestures, and you may have difficulty sitting still.
As a tactile learner, you like to take things apart and put things
together, and you tend to find reasons to tinker or move around
when you become bored. You may be very well coordinated and
have good athletic ability. You can easily remember things that
were done, but might have difficulty remembering what you saw
or heard in the process. You often communicate by touching,
and you appreciate physically expressed forms of
encouragement, such as a pat on the back.
Does this hit the nail on the head? If so, read on, because here
are some things that tactile learners like you can do to learn
better:
• Participate in activities that involve touching, building, moving,
or drawing.
• Use lots of hands-on activities like art projects, taking walks, or
acting out stories.
• It's OK to chew gum, walk around, or rock in a chair while
reading or studying.
• Use flashcards and arrange them in groups to show
relationships between ideas.
• Trace words with your finger to learn spelling (finger spelling).
• Take frequent breaks during reading or studying periods
(frequent, but not long).
• It's OK to tap a pencil, shake your foot, or hold on to something
while learning.
• Use a computer to reinforce learning through the sense of
touch.
• Remember that you learn best by doing, not just by reading,
seeing, or hearing.
As you can see, people learn in different ways. And, there are
many different things you can do to help yourself along the way.
Now it's up to you to play it smart and use these tips in class and
when you're studying at home. You should also make sure that
your parents know about your learning style, so tell them about
this exercise you did today.
Remember, knowing how you learn will make it easier for you to
learn and remember new information for the rest of your life.
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AmberRaven

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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2009, 01:18:14 PM »

Auditory 45%

Visual 35%

Tactile 20%
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Tirya

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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2009, 01:41:06 PM »

Auditory: 30%
Visual: 45%
Tactile: 25%

The description seemed pretty accurate, too. One of the things it talked about was "draw pictures to help explain new concepts" and one of the tricks I learned in Junior High when taking notes was to use circles and arrows and diagrams to show how things related to each other, instead of just writing words. And color-coding? I color-code all the time... :)

Funny thing, after I wrote this I went and did some Googling on "visual learning" and found this:

http://www.studygs.net/mapping/

That's exactly how I learned to take notes! I can still visualize the WPA map that I made, and can see where I was sitting in my social studies class while watching the movie and taking the notes, even though it was 25 years ago.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 01:49:51 PM by Tirya »
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2009, 04:41:30 PM »

Interesting.

Auditory: 50%
Visual: 20%
Tactile: 30%

They do need an "all of the above" option.  On most of the questions I had to pick the "most likely" option because "all" wasn't available.  I do know I am VERY auditory ... I drive people nuts because I can remember conversations almost word for word.  I remember details of problems we had at work 10 or 15 years ago and the meetings or conversations we had about solving them.  But I'm also very visual ... I can look at a drawing and "see" the part in 3D in my head, rotate it around, see the details.  And I figure out how to make things work by taking them apart ... hell, I was taking stuff apart at 10 years old just to see what made it tick. :rolleye:
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2009, 08:05:04 PM »

Auditory 30%
Visual 45%
Tactile 25%

Hey, I got exactly the same scores as Tirya!
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2009, 08:13:01 PM »

Wow ... that's a little spooky.  :rotflmao:
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2009, 08:48:34 PM »

I drove my parents nuts when I was younger.  My favorite thing to do was to take my closet doors off their hinges.  I also used to love to take apart my stereo to see how it worked.  It helped me fix it a few times as well.  :D
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2009, 09:06:07 PM »

Auditory 30%
Visual 45%
Tactile 25%

Hey, I got exactly the same scores as Tirya!

One of us should probably be scared... ;)
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2009, 09:06:46 PM »

 :rotflmao:
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2009, 06:34:14 AM »

 :laughfit:
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2009, 08:40:25 AM »

According to the quiz, I am primarily a visual learner, which is accurate.

I got: Auditory 25%, Visual 65%, Tactile 10%. 
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2009, 11:46:44 AM »

I got auditory: 40% visual: 45% and tactile: 15%. It seems to fit with the bookworm style.
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Re: How do you learn?
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2009, 07:27:53 AM »

How I learned was through reading and then by doing. As I grew, I edited what I knew was false and wrong from my practice. I visited websites that I felt had good information. I am a gemini and I definitely like to read, so I buy a lot of books and read about everything I can get my hands on. ^^
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