8/9/10 “Learning”

Good day, team,

This week’s challenge is about learning and appreciating the variety

of ways people learn and understand things.

Last week, my husband sent me this paragraph from a great article he

read that touches on this subject. It’s by Pete Warden @typepad.com

from his article “Harness the Power of Being an Idiot”:

“I learn by trying to build something; there’s no other way I can

discover the devils-in-the-details. Unfortunately that’s an incredibly

inefficient way to gain knowledge. I basically wander around stepping on

every rake in the grass, while the A students memorize someone else’s

route and carefully pick their way across the lawn without incident. My

only saving graces are that every now and again I discover a better

path, and, faced with a completely new lawn, I have an instinct for where

the rakes are.”

I find that I learn in much the same way. I recall my high school algebra teacher,

Mr. Johnson, trying to explain the concept of A + B = C to me without success.

He finally sat me down at a desk with 3 different sized boxes and encouraged me

to move them around and assign different values to them. Only then did I begin

to understand the concept.

If Mr. Johnson hadn’t taken the time to try to discover how I learn, I might have

failed my course. And, more importantly, I might never have discovered

how I learn. It’s a real eye-opener to realize that not everyone learns in

the same way. I have had clients, for example, who have suffered from dyslexia

or some other learning disability, and because the way they learn is not readily

accepted, they struggle for many years in school. Making the discovery of

how they learn and adjusting the way they take in information is very liberating

for them.

There’s no doubt that the best computer applications are written by

software designers who take the time to understand how their users learn and

experience their products. Don’t we all want technology that easy to understand

and use?

Your challenge this week is to think about how you and others learn. Do you

take in information and easily find ways to apply it without a lot of show and

tell? Maybe you learn by participation like I do: I have to be

actively involved with the thing I’m learning or participating with

others in an active exchange of ideas to increase my understanding.

Some people memorize information easily and can immediately come up with

the right answers from their vast storehouse of facts and figures.

They learn by lots of input and can often recall all that information at

a moment’s notice. And then there are people who learn things through

their senses and experience the world through sight, sound and touch.

Take a master cooking class sometime, and you’ll discover what I mean.

Most master chefs don’t measure, and they don’t read recipes: They cook

by taste and feel.

If you’re trying to explain something to other people, don’t be afraid to ask

them if they understand you. And don’t be surprised if they take in the same

information in a completely different way. There are as many ways to learn

as there are ideas, and no one way is better than another. Assuming that

we all learn in a similar fashion is one of the unfortunate characteristics of

most educational systems, and when you find a teacher or manager who takes

the time to help you discover how you like to learn, a whole new world opens

up to you.

This week, try exploring how we learn. You might just learn something new!

Have a good week,


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights


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