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What is the Learning Pyramid and How it Can Help You in Your Education?

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Let me ask you a question… have you heard of The Learning Pyramid before?

If you have that’s great and I would like you to think of how its has helped you when you’re, in a learning environment, whether that’s through formal education or not.

Now, for all of those who haven’t heard of the learning pyramid, I think it’s a very interesting thing indeed and I find it even more interested (and fascinating) that most of our schools and colleges use the passive teaching methods as showed in the learning pyramid.

All will make sense soon…

I first came across the learning pyramid back last year when I went through an online mentorship and coaching program where I was learning all about building an online business. This program was the (proper) start of my entrepreneurial and personal development journey.

As you can see from the picture on the right-hand side the learning pyramid is made up of different learning styles. You have lecture, reading, audio/visual, discussion and so on…

Now, I understand that we all have different learning styles and the retention rates might differ from person to person. Taking a personality test might help you understand what learning style you’re best suited too and help you to learn more about yourself. I recently took one and my personality type is an “Advocate” – click here to take yours.

Anyway, I digress…

Back to the main point which is although our preferred learning styles might differ, I find it amazing that most, let’s say 80% to 90% of our education system uses the passive teaching methods.

I remember back to my time at school and college that most of our lessons were sat listening to the teacher/tutor. There was the odd time where we would have a group discussion or get our hands dirty. Mostly it was sat listening to the teacher (or tutor), losing interest every passing minute that went by.

Now, maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, but could it be for all you parents out there that went you ask your children “What have you learnt today?” and every day they reply “nothing” that very well could be the case. I’m just putting it out there…?

I understand that most of our young people of today might just want to get home and go on the Xbox or go outside and play football. However, I’m sure that when I enjoyed my time at school or college (not very often) I went home and told my parents what I was doing.

It wasn’t always, as I was one of these kids who went straight back out again to play football, but I do believe no matter what age you are, if you enjoy something you’re doing you are much more likely to talk about it.

Now, I’ve never been to university nor ever plan to go to university, so I don’t know what the teaching methods they are like. Maybe, it’s more varied, maybe they use more participatory methods. If you’re reading this and are a Uni student or have ever been to Uni, get in touch and let me know.

From what I’ve seen and heard though, I’m going to assume not. And, this is where self-awareness comes into play.

Unless the education system changes, which I’m doubting it will (in the short-term as least), as we get older its then up to us to use the learning pyramid and develop the self-awareness to understand how best we obtain information and implement into our lives.

When we get to the higher years of secondary school, college and most definitely University I believe it’s very important we understand our best learning style and take things into our own hands when we aren’t in the classroom to continue to learn, grow and develop.

Let’s say your best learning style is group discussions but, in your lecture, it’s mostly the teach/tutor standing at the front of the room talking about well… “stuff”. Wouldn’t it be a clever move to get a bunch of your friends (or people you know) who also have a similar learning style and every 5 minutes that you have to have a group discussion??

Clever move, I think so.

Especially for those at University. And, I’m signalling them out because I bet you’re paying a fortunate to be at University, right? So, in my mind as you’re there why not get the most bang for your buck!

Again, I’m being naïve and hoping that students will develop the self-awareness to understand what learning style suits them best and then taking things into their own hands because as I said, is the education system going to change anytime soon… I doubt it. And, it’s up to us to take responsibly for our lives, our actions (or lack of action) and everything that we do.

You may have noticed the teaching others learning method. And, this is my favourite because you can learn something and retain it more by helping other people!! Once I came across this method it blew my mind, because I thought you needed to be an expert.

Guess what? You don’t.

Okay before teaching something to someone else it’s a clever idea to know what you’re on about I get that. But, often we think (and believe) we have to be an expert to help other people (especially for those who are aspiring entrepreneurs).

Let’s say during a practical (any subject – you choose) we learn something new and see that our friend is having a hard time during the practical, by sharing with them what we have learnt we are fine tuning our muscle memory (on the thing we have learnt) while helping someone else. AMAZING!!!

Of course, this wouldn’t be allowed in a classroom or whatever as an official way of teaching, but I think it’s one of the best ways to retain what you have learn and help others as well. It’s a shame not everyone will see it that way.

So, that’s the learning pyramid, use it as you wish. It’s helped me, and I hope it helps you too.

If you have any questions about anything in this article (or about anything in general) please do reach out, I don’t bite!

Until next time,

Luke Burrows

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