Franis (dialoguers) wrote,

Learning Styles

I really enjoy the idea that a certain dominant sensory preference can create an attitude. These points of perceptual preference involve differing ways of processing information as well as learning style.

Particularly I stumbled on this idea when I noticed how people who were auditory tend to process information in sequences similar to language. I noticed that this particular person tended to regard any verbal reminders as nagging but would tolerate reading reminders and act on them without protest. I found that really curious - and wondered how I could use that observation for myself.

My friend Jacques was the person who gave me the idea that most people tend to go only part way through a process of learning and stop. Only some people who are very interested become motivated to go into all the possible means of mastering a particular subject, the rest are satisfied with "well enough."

I noticed my own learning generally went in predictable sequential stages.

When I first encountered an interesting subject or skill I would seem to want to absorb it indiscriminately - as if I were a multi-perceptual sponge. Sometimes beforehand I would go to the trouble of carefully determining and selecting the "best" examples possible because I knew how I tended to indiscriminately open myself.

If it would be a physical skill, I would let the physical circumstances be my guide; I would get very curious about how I could open myself to all of the necessary factors at once without consciously knowing much about what those factors actually were. I found myself pretending I already knew how to do it and acting as if I could already do it well.

The results were surprisingly successful, in a sort of "beginner's luck" way. Of course, there was no expectation of what success meant; so I was free to experiment completely and to not apply judgment. As soon as judgment or expectation came in, I had to go back to square one and learn as anyone might after a tantalizing "flash" of brilliant integration.

Then I tend to want to communicate something in order to form a general structure; putting the crucial factors into words that can be communicated would give it a voice for my own thoughts to have some organization. Of course, it's best to be feeding back the structure to someone who knows more about the subject so they might offer constructive suggestions and important factors that I will inevitably leave out from inexperience. A good listener who knows what I'm trying to do and can help with that can be difficult to find. The physical world is sometimes easier to use for this purpose.

Once I have a structure to hang everything on that I might have created by talking about it, then all the specific information can come in without regard for time of arrival and I'll hopefully be able to retain it. I use the structure to sort the information to put "like" with "like" in a very general way.

Ideally, the information will reorganize itself into its own intrinsic structure that is suggested by its own nature...and suddenly - sometimes I'll have an "epiphany" and get it all of a sudden if my structure matched the topic, but that only happens luckily. If that is so, I'll go back into the 'beginner's mind' state of the first absorbing stage and sort of repeat my process to gain more and more information.

Sometimes I'll go back to the "beginner's luck" stage and try out my "better" ideas to see how they work in a series of experiments in a safe "practice" situation. I do this to observe and use what I've gathered. At that point it helps me to remember that I'm still a novice and none of this "counts." Expectation is what works against me at this stage and experimentation helps me to improve.

So more generally my stages of learning were to first absorb; then create a framework; once I had the frame work I'd gather conscious, purposeful information of defining the crucial factors; then I'd put the factors into steps with the recognition of appropriate context and practice them with regard to timing, etc.

I think the sometimes the subjects by their nature do not naturally "fit" the preferred learning style the person has worked out for themselves. This mismatch would tend to determine which sorts of topics a person would find easy; other less suitable subjects that would be best learned in different sequences or learning steps would be experienced as being difficult to learn.

For this reason I'm interested in learning other processes that people use. One thing that I've noticed is that learning is done in many, many different ways.

Any comments about the way that you've noticed that you learn best?
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