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

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 it has helped you when you’re in a learning environment whether that’s 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 interesting (and fascinating) that most of our schools and colleges use passive teaching methods as shown in the learning pyramid below.

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

As you can see from the diagram 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 to and help you to learn more about yourself. I recently took one and my personality type is an ‘advocate’.

You can take a personality test from sites like 16Personanilities which is one I recommend (ps. I’m not affiliated with 16Personanaillities and only recommending it because it’s a personality test that I have used and taken in the past.)

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 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 because it was exciting and I was engaged.

Admittedly that wasn’t always the case, as I was one of those kids who went straight back out again to play football. Although I hope you get my point that no matter what age we are if we are engaged in what we are doing then we are 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 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 at least), as we get older it’s up to us to take responsibility and use the learning pyramid and develop the self-awareness to understand how best we obtain information and implement it 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 teacher/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 engage in 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 fortune to be there, 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 taking responsibly for our lives, our actions and everything that we do is the number one way to live a happier and more fulfilled life.

Now, you may have noticed the teaching others learning method. This is my favourite because you can understand a concept or something picked up from reading a book, implement it into your own life and then retain it more by sharing and helping other people with the same thing that you have just learnt.

Once I came across this method it blew my mind, because we’re taught that we need to be experts. I thought you needed to be an expert to teach or help others.

Guess what? You don’t.

Sure, it’s a clever idea to know what you’re talking about and sharing. But, you just need to be one step ahead of someone else. This opens up more opportunity for collaborative working.

Let’s say during a practical (any subject – you choose) you learn a new theory and see that your friend is having a hard time. By sharing with them what you have learnt you are fine-tuning your muscle memory on the thing you have picked up while helping someone else.

How amazing is this?

I think it’s one of the best ways to retain what you have learnt and help others at the same time and I hope to see it in our education system more, rather than boring lecture or class after boring lecture or class.

So, that’s the learning pyramid, use it as you wish. It’s helped me, and I’m confident it can help you too!

Until next time.

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