I have a question for you. Did your school teach you how to learn?
If you are privileged enough to read this from a place in the world that offers a formal education, I would hope the general consensus to be yes. However, keeping in line with the initial proposition of this article – let me share with you something you already know:
Our education system is broken, or at the very least fragmented.
Following enrolment at school or college, myself and many of you would hope to learn something. To be taught in such a way, that not only meets my needs, but the needs of my peers.
If one thing is certain, we are all not the same.
So, the first thing to recognise is there are several different ways we learn as individuals. Not in groups or school classrooms.
This type of learning is predisposed to individuals that rely on sounds to be able to absorb information effectively.
This includes lectures, audio-books, podcasts, conversation and even music.
You can be talked at, and the translation into retaining that auditory information comes very naturally to you.
A substantial amount of people learn from visual cues. This may include the use of pictures and diagrams. The use of colour is also instrumental to absorbing important information because this stimulates the visual cortex in the brain.
You need to watch things, draw pictures and images in order to truly grasp new information.
The inclusion of motion in video format is also advantageous for these kinds of learners.
Physical learning or learning through feeling or sensation. If you are this type of learner, you will have a keen bodily awareness.
You describe yourself as a hands on individual who needs stimulus through action and touch.
You need to see how this new information pertains to a real life scenario, you need to act it how and experience the information working for you. Being talked at in theoretical context makes it hard for you to follow.
Needless to stay, these people are the most disruptive in a classroom setting, as there is limited representation of practical learning.
Create Learning Combinations
These methods of learning increase their effectiveness in combinations. This is partly why music has such a powerful influence over our learning and retention ability. Let’s break it down:
Naturally, music starts by engaging our auditory senses through beat, rhythm and vocals; if you know the song well, you might catch yourself singing along to the track – another auditory stimulus.
Next, understand that music is a wave of vibrations in the air. This vibration has a physical impact on the body. You might even be familiar with the phrase “feeling the music, beat or rhythm”. It’s not just a sound – rather a sensation.
Music pairs and marries auditory and kinaesthetic learning together. It is interesting to watch find yourself physically engaging with music through motion cues such as the classic head bop or foot tap, which is an anticipatory response from the musical experience.
The trifecta happens when both auditory and kinaesthetic elements collaborate with a visual sensation.
These are present in music concerts and shows of your favourite bands and artists. Yelling out the lyrics at the top of you lungs. You can feel the vibration of the music in your body as you jump to the beat. Eyes are dazzled by a spectacular light show crescendo, in perfect synchronicity of the musical experience.
These collective of sensory experiences are so powerful, some of you will even learn to associate a song, album or artist with a particular moment or memory in your life.
So, what kind of learner are you? What helps you retain information?