How Do You Like to Learn? Discuss Your Preference
Disrupting the Hierarchy

How Do You Like to Learn? Discuss Your Preference

January 31, 2017

Mind Tools

Please join us!

What: #MTtalk

Where: Twitter

When: Friday, Feb 3 @1pm EST (6pm GMT)

Topic: How Do You Like to Learn?

Host: @Mind_Tools

About this week’s chat

“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” – Brian Herbert

Allow me to tell you why I like having an angel sculpture next to me in the morning when I drink my coffee. First, because I made it. Second, because it reminds me of the long learning process I needed to undertake in order to be able to create it.

When I started doing pottery I found a studio close to home, along with a very skillful pottery teacher, Dee. She taught me all the basic principles and techniques of making clay objects by hand.

After I learned how to prepare different types of clay I spent months learning all kinds of techniques. I learned how to shape, decorate, glaze and raku (a method of quickly heating materials) many different clay objects, big and small.

However, learning pottery isn’t all fun and games. I also felt the disappointment of pots that cracked in the kiln. Sometimes what was supposed to be red glazing came out a sickly green. Other times, an object would be too ugly to use and ended up on grandma’s back porch as a planter.

Only after I had learned the basics of pottery and came to understand the nature of clay, its limitations and possibilities, did I start sculpting. In the process of experimenting with different materials, it took quite a few flops, mistakes and tears before the angel on my patio eventually emerged.

Unsuitable Teaching Styles Affect Learning

After we relocated to another city, I had to find a new pottery studio. Up to that point I had only done work by hand, and I wanted to learn how to work on a pottery wheel. Unfortunately, my new teacher was one who looked over my shoulder all the time to try and correct everything I did.

By the end of lesson one, I felt stupid. By the end of lesson two, I was frustrated and irritated. By the end of lesson three, I told her to take the money I had already paid for lesson four and buy a book about teaching adults!

After that experience, I realized what a great privilege it was to be taught by Dee. She was an exceptional teacher, who understood that each student in her class had different needs.

The majority of students liked her to explain a process in detail a few times before they even began a new technique. A few others wanted to hear the basics then read instructions and try it themselves.

I simply wanted to watch her, ask questions and be given time and space to figure out how I could successfully master a technique. Were it not for Dee and how she taught me, the angel on my patio may never have existed.

We Don’t All Learn in the Same Way

In today’s workplace we have more learning options than ever before. We can choose between formal training, self-directed learning, online courses, retreats and mastermind groups. We can also listen to podcasts, watch videos, read articles online and engage with social media.

In our recent Twitter poll 33 percent of people said they preferred learning by trial and error while 28 percent liked learning by observing other people. Only 21 percent of people liked learning in a formal setup.

In our #MTtalk Twitter chat this week we’re asking “How Do You Like to Learn?” We’d like to hear more about how and when you prefer learning and also which learning platforms you choose. The following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for the chat:

  • How do you find time for learning?
  • What is your preferred method of learning?
  • Why do you like or dislike formal training?
  • Do you like learning online? If not, why?
  • Which criteria do you use to evaluate online courses?
  • Does social media play a role in your learning?


To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse.

Learning Styles

Reading Strategies

Learning Styles Video

VAK Learning Styles

Gagne’s Nine Levels of Learning

Take Your Team’s Learning to the Top Level

Instructor-Led Training

At Mind Tools we like hearing from people all over the globe. We’d like to learn from your thoughts and experiences and we invite you to participate in the #MTtalk chat this Friday at 1pm EST (6pm GMT). Remember, we feature great participant responses right here on our blog every week!

How to join

Follow us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hash tag #MTtalk in your responses.

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