The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.
Mortimer Adler (20c philosopher)
Learning is so important that we are all born with a love for learning. You don’t need to nudge babies to learn, they just love it! However, this urge may be distorted in time, like our eating habits – we don’t always learn what is good for us, but learn junk instead. So let’s see how we can keep the flame of love for learning alight. Some tips for improving your memory will be suggested too, but let’s start with considering various learning styles.
There are four learning styles:
Theoretical learning is indirect mental learning. Indirect means that you learn from books and others. What distinguishes this mode from simple memorising is understanding. Understanding requires active engagement (questioning, clarifying, etc.), an enquiring mind and interest in the subject. This is easier if you relate the new to what you already know (make connections!).
Intuitive learning is direct physical learning – you learn by experience. Learning how to ride a bike is an example. Of course, others can help you and encourage you while you are doing so, but you have to figure out yourself how to keep your balance. This is why intuitive learning often involves trial and error (you may fall down a few times before you get the knack).
Practical learning is indirect, physical learning. You learn to do something from others or manuals (e.g. learning to drive). It is most useful when knowledge gained this way becomes mainly unconscious and instinctive. This is achieved through practising.