How to learn

An ordinary knot becomes an all-star when it takes care of an important need and is easy to tie and untie.  An excellent example is the knot for tying your shoes.  It does a great job, and when you learned how to tie it, you took your second early step toward total independence.  The first was learning how to use toilet paper.

As we learned more complex things that were important for our comfort, safety and success, it became essential to do them quickly and correctly.  Think about learning to drive and initially struggling to stay in your lane. 

So how do we learn something so well that we can do it almost automatically and do it right every time?  You’ve probably seen the expression:

  • Tell me, and I will forget
  • Show me, and I will remember

Well I think that knowing how to do something really well goes beyond just remembering.  For example, think about your ability to play your favorite sport, or express yourself artistically.  So, I expanded the thought as follows:

  • Tell me, and I will forget
  • Show me, and I will remember
  • Involve me, and I will understand
  • Give me practice and feedback, and I will know how
  • Let me do it and teach it, and I will excel

If we’re learning or teaching something that’s really important to our personal lives or our organizations, we have to take it all the way through the steps needed to get full value.  You can tie a string around your finger to remind you of something, but “yeah, I remember that” doesn’t count unless you can actually do it well.

George M. Pomonik
Pomonik Consulting, Inc.
“Chaos Removal Services”SM

Copyright © George M. Pomonik, 2012. All rights reserved.

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