Being at school in the 80s and 90s, I didn’t pay much attention to how we learned new information. If we couldn’t remember our addition or multiplication tables by rote learning – parrot fashion, there weren’t many alternatives! Well at least not for those of us who went to ordinary public schools. It was only when I got to university, and got introduced to different learning styles, did I realise just how much I had to learn.
The great irony of youth – when we’re young and have all the time in the world to explore our options for our future lives, we don’t appreciate the value of that time. How could we? We only have an inkling of the responsibilities and decisions that need to be taken and we’re overcome by our raging hormones on top of trying to find our place in the world.
To exacerbate the problem, common culture paints the picture that learning ends when school or university ends. So many young people tend to view learning as a finite task that will end with their graduation ceremonies. But learning never ends and we only realise this as we get older. With the advent of modern technology, learning has evolved to accommodate more learning styles. Think about how useful mind-mapping tools and infographics have become to processing new information for those who learn visually.
Just take a look at the bite-sized chunks of learning delivered on online platforms here, designed to give us preferred knowledge in short spaces of time. Learning has been re-designed to fit into our busy, distracted lifestyles and has even been turned on its head by a few interesting individuals like this guy who un-schools his three kids while traveling the world.
But here’s one piece of research that I just can’t agree with – apparently working in a coffee shop boosts creativity – well I find it just too distracting, partly because of my sweet tooth (looking at cheesecake all day requires some serious willpower – which I clearly don’t have of late), but I’m also too used to the focus that the silence of my home office offers me. And besides the social me thinks that going out for coffee requires someone else to chat to – in my humble opinion!
But to each his own. And now I feel the call for a nice cup of tea with a biscuit and a good conversation!