How we learn

I don’t think anyone will disagree if I make a rather sweeping statement … we all learn differently; different styles, different approaches, even different rates and speeds.  When teaching in the classroom the tutor can tailor the materials and approach to the particular students, tiem of day and week (no one is paying attention at 5PM on a Friday), etc.

It’s not quite as easy when you’re teaching online, especially if your intended audience is learning in their own time. Are they working at 6PM or 11PM? I work with mature (+25 years old) professionals who have a full-time job and often full-time family commitments to contend with before they can begin to think about their online learning. As an eTutor, we have to somehow consider this in our materials, our approach, and the desired outcome from our activities.

According to William Glasser, the way we learn can be easily expressed in terms of the amount of information we retain by the different methods or stimuli, namely …

  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what we hear
  • 30% of what we see
  • 50% of what we see and hear
  • 70% of what is discussed with others
  • 80% of what is experienced personally
  • 95% of what we teach to someone else

For these reasons people get frustrated when they are given loads to do before they get to what they consider to be the ‘learning’.