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.

When are you no longer the Apprentice?

This is a question that came up just recently & also something that I’d come across years ago when someone asked “When are they no longer the noob?”

At the time the answer someone gave was “When you don’t have to ask that question!” Being relatively new to the field at the time, it wasn’t me that gave the answer and being fair I didn’t have one, even if I was the one who was asked.

When are you no longer the apprentice?

But at some point we look back on our journeys whether they’re personal or professional and only when we reflect do we realize how far we’ve come. These journeys are slow & arduous and the progress can be so incremental that we don’t realize that we actually make progress.

So whatever your field is; When are you no longer the apprentice? When can you call yourself the master?

When thinking about this there is no single point where the change takes place, but your Google search history is a far better gauge of where you’re at. It might seem abstract but keep reading.

It’s what you’re looking for.

My conclusion is that there are four key factors that determine whether you’re an apprentice or a master.

1. When your questions change or when you ask different types of questions.

Let’s use the health and fitness industry as an example. There are literally millions of people who have asked; “How to lose weight.”

We have to accept that this is a very generic question for the fitness industry, and an easy question that everyone at some point has asked. Most likely this is the ‘first’ question that anyone asks when they want to ‘get into shape’ whereas someone with more experience may start to ask “How to lose fat?” or “How to build Muscle” or even better “How to boost your metabolism?” In the fitness industry, trainers and instructors typically want clients who ask these questions because they are already more mature than clients who just want to ‘Get into shape.’

2. When you start to research your own answers, and having the confidence to know your research is correct.

Let keep running the fitness industry for consistency. Whether you’re a client wanting to strip fat or boost your metabolic rate eventually you’ll start to do your own research rather than perhaps simply taking what your trainer gives you as gospel.

This is where you’re going to start having the ability to sift through all of the noise such as banana diets, lemon diets, soup diets, and start looking for higher quality information which will be more suited to your needs.

When you finally start to find consistent information from independent sources you’ll have the confidence to determine that what you have found is something that you can work with and learn from.

3. When you start helping others—you know where they’ve come from.

Give it enough time and research and you’re going to start getting results. Nothing is going to attract attention like progress, and once you start to make progress people around you will likely want to know how ‘you got into shape’

At this point in your experience, you’ll have the ability to help & educate others but also to know what question to ask when you start to provide guidance.

The biggest take away to know about here is that the advice and guidance you’re going to give is already going to be more advanced than what you would have searched for when you started ‘your‘ journey.

This means that you are more advanced and skilled than what people are typically looking for.

4. When the questions you ask, haven’t been asked. You can’t find your answers any longer, and you are doing new things.

The final step in knowing that you’re no longer the apprentice is when you begin to look for answers that are not readily available or when you start doing your own research & experiments.

Remember you started your journey with ‘How to lose weight’ and you may have found information about cutting calories.

As an advanced self-taught fitness expert you’re going to be looking for information in the fields of ‘Insulin Manipulation’ or ‘Cortisol reduction’ . . . the list of advanced key word searches is endless which will likely see you looking through research papers on page 2 of Google or beyond rather than Instagram posts.

So when are you no longer the apprentice?

From experience (regardless of the industry) I can say that it comes down to these four areas which all relate to the questions that you ask, and what you look for in your field, and not just about how long you have been doing something for.


After all you can cut calories for years but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert!

10 Tips to being an Awesome Instructor

There are few roles in a community or an organization that come with the responsibilities of a being a teacher. After all teachers and educators are the one who have the responsibility of communicating correct information to others. On top of that and everything that goes with it, an instructor’s aim is to achieve independence in the person being taught.

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