Daily Prompt: Learning Style

The Daily Prompt asks about the learning style. This is an interesting topic anyhow. Different people have different and favorite learning methods.

I was always one of those people who can easily learn on a visual way. Theory is something that was always difficult to me. I can remember to many situations when I was younger, where a teacher couldn´t stop talking about a subject while I just thought “Hey mate, it would be great if we actually could see it in practice, to understand what you are talking about”.

So visual and practical learning is my prefered method. You know things like hearing, feeling, seeing it and practice it. I still do think that theory is a good addition to understand things. But 100% theory does not teach me anything.

One great example is playing guitar. I can remember that we had music lessons for a year in the school when I was young and I can remember that the teacher talked about things that I even could not speak out today. There was this project week or month where we started to learn guitar with the class. To be honest, there was so much theory and I just thought “Give me this freaking instruments in my hands, otherwise I will not understand what you are talking about!”. It is completely fine if the teacher draws six strings on the blackboard to tell us that they are called E, A, D, G, B from the thickest string down to the thinnest string. But he was focusing so much on theory that I soon began to think “Playing guitar must suck”. It did not awake my attention.

But I started to learn guitar when my grandpa who is a guitar player, did put me one of his guitars in my hands to tell me “Look… take those fingers here and there, and you play an A…”. It did not take me much time to learn it then. Today I play guitar and I think I do so since over two decades now. I prefered grandpa´s way to teach me stuff. And he only taught me some basic stuff but it was enough to learn everything else alone.

I am not an enemy of reading and theory. I just prefer a mix of practical learning and theory. Years ago when I got Photoshop, I just installed the graphics software and messed around with alle the buttons of the software before I started to read about it. Messing around is often exactly my way to learn.

“Learning by doing” is the best description of my learning style. I really like to hear, feel or see the subject I am learning about. Every teacher I have met did discourage me to learn, if he focused weeks on the theory without showing me the practicality of the subject. I know, for a guitar teacher it is the evidence of incapacity, if he won´t give you the guitar in the hand on the first day. That´s my opinion.

But also in other subjects. I never understood how a math teacher could talk about elements of mathematics without showing the students where the rules could apply in the everyday life or later in business and jobs. The funny fact is that I did understand some elements of mathematics for the first time when a friend started to teach me some Visual Basic programming. I was always bad in math but this was the first time I started to actually see why and how several mathematic rules apply.

Later I met a teacher in a business school, and he was just cool. He could explain nearly everything he taught us, and how it would affect us in daily life. Then he had this kind of humor that did add up to the mix and every student started to think that industrial economics is actually a fun subject. This is when I started to think that every topic can be interesting, but it depends how you get taught. There are some teachers who would never awake interest in a subject, while other teachers can transform the most boring subject to the most interesting subject.

But I must admit that I met people who could focus heavily on theory to understand the topic. It´s indeed from person to person different. But it is just bad if there are teachers who expect that everyone will just need 100% theory. Some people then will fall by the wayside. I often felt this way and I had a lot of headache to understand how several subjects apply in the daily routine. Fortunately, I still could sort things in on my own way. I think I learned many things but this would not have been possible if I only would have read it in books.

This applies to so many subjects. I felt the first boost in learning english, when I started to chat with english speaking people and that with my little vocabulary. But looking for words I needed situational, was so different from just having a list of vocabulary which I got from a teacher, to learn the words at home. The internet brought a new interactive way to learn a language. That was a boost. I am not sure but as a german, I do think my english is not too bad today.

I could go on with examples. But I bring it to the point now. If I would have only books, I would become desperate.

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