The Pyramid of Learning

In Education, Short Thoughts

I just came across this concept while reading a book called ‘Learn Like Einstein’ while sitting in Bangkok Airport waiting for a flight to Moscat, which is my connecting destination to where I want to end up, Cairo.

Seeing as I’m heading to see the real pyramids, it’s worth spending the time exploring this concept further.

In a nutshell there are three main categories of learning:

  1. Input learning
  2. Demonstrators learning
  3. Participatory learning
  • you retain 5% of what you hear in a lecture.
  • 10% when you read.
  • 20% from audio processing.
  • 30% from demonstrating
  • 50% from group discussions
  • 75% from practice by doing
  • 90% by teaching others.

Depending on the type of skill, either all or some of the above will be applicable. Obviously you won’t get so far learning judo when all you do is read, you definitely need practice by doing.

The is why I like to take complex issues and subjects and write about them, because it becomes a way to teach others as well as myself, and normally before I write an essay I will already have discussed the subject to death with various people and gathered opinion points.

The best learning is when the pyramid is not seen as an binary choice, but as a process that knowledge goes through, and then you gain a deeper understanding.

Of course, this is really only applicable to knowledge that is both useful and applicable in your life, as the above can be very time consuming to do, and it is probably only worth doing for a certain number of subjects at a time.

By definition, learning deeply means concentrating on a subject at the expense of other things.

This fact needs to be understood and accepted, and if you keep a long-term view, you will see that if you build a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding, you can then move onto other subjects which interest you but perhaps are not so related to what you’ve studied before, and you will be able to grasp core concepts quite easily.

This is because learning, in itself, needs to be learnt. This is perhaps the foundation that everything else is built upon.

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