What method of learning is most effective?

There are many reasons that we learn. It could be due to curiosity or an outright need to solve a problem that we have to deal with. So what method of learning is most effective? When it comes to your business and the courses you deliver, you need to know how to maximize the effectiveness of your teaching for your clients.

There a numerous ways that we experience and retain information, all the way from listening to it, through to teaching it. And it may seem overly simple, but if there is a more effective way of learning then why isn’t that method of teaching used all of the time?

Realistically it’s not that simple.

There isn’t a one ‘method to teach all’ approach out there, but instead we can look at something like a representation of the learning pyramid to help add some perspective on the issue.

Learning is usually achieved Visually, Audibly or through Doing

You see depending on how we experience information we retain different amounts of it after each exposure. We typically learn in one of three ways; Visually, Audibly and Kinesthetic (Doing & Practice).

These three types can be broken down further in how we experience information and subsequently how much information that we can retain after exposure.

A quick look at the learning pyramid shows that in order to learn most effectively we should be teaching others.

So do we run off and start teaching everyone who will give us their time and attention?

In practice this (thankfully) isn’t how it’s done . . . unless you’ve lost a bunch of weight and start calling yourself a fitness expert.

In my experience I had close to a decade of technical and practical experience in multiple trades before I was taught how to instruct others.

The Learning Pyramid - How much information we retain after being expose to new information
The Learning Pyramid

Why? Because before you’re allowed to instruct others, not only do you need to know what you’re teaching and all of the material therein, but you also have to prove to others (often more senior and experienced) that you satisfy the long list of criteria that is required to justify becoming eligible to be an instructor.

Otherwise you have the risk of people teaching others skills they don’t understand, and delivering it incorrectly and also badly.

Long story short, even once you become an instructor and you’re learning reaches the highest level of effectiveness; you come full circle and are left trying to figure out how to make teaching as effective as you can make it for your trainees and clients.

As an instructor—your learning is very high, but it’s not about you anymore . . . you’re trying to get the most for your students. The more effective your students are, the more effective you are!

So with Teaching off the table; What method of learning is most effective?

The answer will be revealed shortly, and will be evident soon.

Different subject matter will have different demands. Let’s say that you run a course on ‘How to renovate homes.’ Chances are this program will be quite detailed and will have many objective concrete skills that can be taught in practice, whether they be painting, or home staging etc.

However if your course is dealing with something far more subjective and interpersonal such as ‘How to build effective teams’ then teachable content is going to be delivered far differently.


“The more effective your students are, the more effective you are!”

When we put the above examples side by side the differences are easy to see. Different & differing skills are going to need individual and specific approaches. And these adaptive approaches are not only going to be needed for high level content but individual approaches are going to be needed for low level teaching objectives.

So, What method of learning is most effective?

In short . . . the method that achieves the highest level of take away competence is the method that you want to use.

In an earlier article I talked about training for abnormal & emergency situations. Preparing clients for these types of situations ideally is not something that you can simply talk through or show a power point on. It’s something where you want to look at exercise based scenario specific training and have clients actually practice what they need to learn and know.

On the other hand, when it comes to learning how to conduct demolition on parts of a house for renovation this is something where practice is not going to be available or is going to be very limited until it’s done for real, so a visual . . . video of something done earlier will have to do.

What method of learning is most effective?

The one that works for what you’re teaching!


Ready to take your lessons to the next level? Lesson Development & Delivery will teach you everything you need to know to get there.

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