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How We Learn

Commonly known as the "Learning Pyramid" or the "Cone of Learning." is a commonly used reference on how we learn. The origins of this pyramid and the specific percentages remain unclear, as various versions of it have been circulating for many years, often without a credible source but it's an interesting way to consider what tools are effective in helping us learn.

The Learning Pyramid is often used as a visual representation to emphasize the varying levels of learning retention associated with different learning activities. Here's a breakdown of each percentage and the corresponding learning activity:

  1. 10% - Reading: Passive reading without further engagement or reinforcement. As mentioned earlier, this percentage suggests that simply reading a text may result in relatively low retention.

  2. 20% - Hearing: Listening to information or lectures, which is slightly more effective than passive reading but still involves relatively low retention.

  3. 30% - Seeing: Observing visual aids, such as images, graphs, or diagrams, which can enhance learning compared to just reading or listening.

  4. 50% - Seeing and Hearing: Combining visual and auditory inputs, such as watching videos or attending multimedia presentations, can improve learning retention.

  5. 70% - Discussing: Actively engaging in discussions and conversations about the material. Discussing the topic with others can deepen understanding and retention.

  6. 80% - Experiencing: Engaging in hands-on learning, practical application, or experiential activities. Learning by doing is often more effective for retention.

  7. 95% - Teaching Others: Teaching the material to others. The act of teaching requires a deep understanding of the subject matter and can significantly enhance retention.

The underlying message highlights the importance of active learning and engagement in the learning process. Active learning methods, such as discussion, application, and teaching, have been shown to improve comprehension and retention compared to passive learning methods like reading or listening alone.

It's essential to recognize that people have different learning styles and preferences, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. The key is to find the methods that work best for each individual and combine different techniques to enhance understanding and retention.

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