Arguably the most natural and powerful form of learning
is through experience,
or more precisely through reflection on doing.
Also called experiential learning,
it’s what prima ballerinas do
after their performance at the national opera.
But it also happens to boys that are sad
because their father got angry
when they played football in the living room.
By the age of one,
we all had our own painful encounter with
when we tried to walk, failed,
再跌倒 哭泣 像婴儿一样地哭
fell and cried like, well a baby…
And even though this was an unpleasant and
discouraging exercise that lasted for months
in the end
we all made it.
How is that possible?
As soon as we fell and the first shock was over,
our brain unconsciously began to make sense
out of all of the information available
to identify how this embarrassment occurred.
It remembers that when we pushed ourselves up,
everything was fine:
our feet on the floor,
our arms in position and our head
and shoulders up right.
Ready to go!
When our upper leg muscles
pulled our left foot 12.3% to the front
at an angle of 23 degree,
our arms didn’t complement the movement
and the ventricles in the inner ear,
responsible for static balance,
got confused for a second.
When at the same moment the cat ran by,
our eyes sent an alarming signal to the hippocampus
and we completely lost it…
Unconsciously this is how our brain analyses
the relationship of events within our body
or in the environment.
It happens all the time as we learn to walk,
function in a fancy office
or dance the salsa.
Once we understand the connections between
what went wrong,
we know what we need to change
when we try the next time.
can also be used explicitly to learn a new skill
or to become better at what we already love doing.
Here is how it works:
First get yourself into a situation to experience.
After, reflect on what happened.
Then try to understand the relationships
to form an abstract concept
– if I do A,
I get B.
Last, decide what to do differently next time.
Then do it again.
Experiential learning is also believed to be responsible
for the fact that musicians
generally fare better at most tests,
regardless of what they measure.
People that practice an instrument
not only engage their brains in motor,
visual and auditory areas,
but they also learn by reflecting on what they’re doing
with a fast feedback loop
– a wrong tone on the violin sounds too terrible
to remain unnoticed.
While playing they therefore not only learn to make music,
but also that progress in general comes through practice,
You can use it with your friends
or colleagues when working on a project.
Silicon Valley start-ups do it
when they tell their developers to get out of the building!
After the interaction with real potential customers,
the team gets together,
analyses the feedback
and decides what to do next.
Tell us, what do you think?
Is learning through reflecting on doing
only good when acquiring new hands-on skills
or is it also suitable to study science,
or abstract art?