Own How You Learn

I was getting the details of my LGBT Month winner so I could dispatch their prize. "Can I have the paperback edition?" Julian asked. "I find PDFs distracting." He's not alone. I recently switched back to paper books for a similar reason, and that got me thinking.

There's a learning theory that suggests we acquire informatino and skills in one of 3 main areas: Visual ("I see"), Audio("I hear/speak"), and Kinaesthetic("I do"). (You can see a diagram of how these intersect here.)

"Great", you might think, "but how does that relate to digital vs paper books?" I'm getting there.

I switched to digital for obvious reasons-portability, space saving, more evironmentally friendly (allegedly), and so on. In addition, the speed of web development is such is that a book on any topic is likely to be out of date in six months.

However, these positives were quickly becoming outweighed. Whereas 500-page tomes are easily noticeable on a deskt, I could have 3, 4 or 5 PDFs open at once. I didn't really give much thought about how a book on a topic would be more beneficial than one I already had, and I quickly just ended up collecting digital books-sometimes the same book with an updated version.

The biggest change I noticed was how I was proccessing the informaito. I could see more information at once, certainly, but I wasn't absorbing-I was scanning, meaning I would have to come back multiple times. Digital books were useful with exactly one learning style-visually. I needed something else to embed what I had seen. I could've read it out to myself, but a) I would feel stupid, and b) returning to paperback would be a much quicker way of engaging kinaesthetic learning. This isn't to see I'm done with digital, but I'm definitely more aware of where it's helpful to me.

Expanding out this a little more, we find ourselves inundated with new, yet old ways to learn. Due to the pandemic, many teachers, including myself have been forces to continue teaching online. And in some ways that's been great-you're able to reach people and communities that normally wouldn't be possible. As a student, however,it can be overwhelming with the number of course options you have available. From a 1-day tester to a 3-month 'bootcamp style course', how do choose one that works best with you?

How Do You Learn?

The first step is go get an idea of what's the easiet way you take in information. Do a quick scan of your room and take stock of what's there the most-is it books? Music players? Things you've made or crafted? Certificates of skill? Those will give you an indication on how best you like to learn something new. For me, I'm surrounded by books and music, so I know that they way I pick up things is reading and listening.

Next, think about 3 things-something you know well, something you are familiar with, and something you'd like to know more about. With each of these, where's the first place you'd go to find out more. You might be surprised that where you go to learn something new is different if you just want to top-up knowledge, and that's okay to have a different learning style for a different part of the journey.

With these to hand, you can now start looking at your learning options through these filters. For example, I wanted to learn a yoga style a couple of years ago. There's plenty of yoga courses and videos online, but I know that hearing and conversing with the teacher helps lock in things more for me.

Most importantly, own how you learn. Feel free to try out new styles and new methods, but appreciate, love and honour how your brain absorbs information. If you know you work better 1-1 with a teacher and you need to see what they do, don't sign up to an group class! You'll be frustrated and less likely to keep learning. Take charge of your learning, and you'll be well rewarded.

What do you surround yourself with? Does that reflect your learning style? Drop me and email and let me know.

P.S. If you're one of those that is struggling to learn to code solo, help is on the way. I'm launching an online coding club to help people like you build confidence in programming with weekly exercises and a small group of students to share your achievements with. Drop me a line if this sounds like you.