Thursday, September 19, 2013

Information and How We Learn

I've mentioned, mostly in passing, that along with my freelance writing and editing and fantasy work, I tutor and write memorization guides.

The tutoring was kind of an accident. I was the kid who did well enough in school that friends asked me for help…and when others spotted that I was helping a friend, they'd open their own books and join in. A few schools I went to required students to tutor each other, and a few times, I even ended up teaching classes. Several students I helped regularly had various learning disabilities.

I also was one of those Bible verse memorizers in the Awana program. I was fast enough that the church I did it through refused to let me advance to the next level and kept finding me extra things to memorize, instead, and I ended up helping others in the group.

Add in that many of my family and friends have ADD, ADHD, and/or other learning disabilities…and I kinda started off helping the disadvantaged rather than the "normal" people.

So I have no formal education degree or any such thing. What I know, I learned from experience and practice.

But something I've noticed is that most people can learn better or more than they think they can. Either they don't know how they learn, or they fail to take advantage of their learning style. Sometimes they might even think their learning style can't apply to a particular situation.

Now, I realize that there's some debate about if learning styles even exist, but in my experience, they do. However, it is possible to train yourself to use a different learning style than your natural primary (unless you have some disability that keeps you from using a method). Due to that ability to retrain yourself, I believe learning styles are often more indicative of how we're used to processing information rather than how we must process information.

For example, I'm a visual learner from monochromatic typed words. I don't think that it's a coincidence that I also read a good 100 books per year, when I've kept track. I've therefore read a few thousand books—and I watch very few movies or TV shows, so my primary method of picking up information is from typed words. I rarely listen to things or look at pictures, so of course I'm not going to be the greatest with them…but I can memorize things I see in pictures, in color, or hear. It just takes a bit more effort—and the more I practice it, the easier it gets.

So, though you probably have a primary learning style, as well as a method that does you little good, your style can change over time.

This brings me to my tutoring. I was a good student, and I was efficient with my schoolwork. (Kinda had to be—but that's another story altogether. Short version: High school turned out to have more homework than college did.) When friends or people I chat with lament about having to do some type of homework, I often find myself giving tips…and then those people who I see again report that their grades improved. And tell me I need to write the darn tips down to share.

So the current memorization guides are my start to that. They just break down Jude and Psalms 1–6 into chunks that include review so a person can memorize them in a timely manner, including two articles that help the reader apply them properly. I want to do more, and to add further articles on things like "Memorization for the Visual Learner".

But it also occurs to me that, well, you might be interested or might have specific articles or memorization guides you'd like to see. So…

Do you have specific articles on learning or certain memorization guides you'd like? What do you think of learning styles? What do you think your primary learning style is?


P.S. Pollen count's lower, so I'm feeling a ton better. ^_^

E-mail lists require an address on the e-mails, so I've avoided running them. However, I just got a P.O. Box—which can legally be used instead—and am therefore getting started with e-mail lists!

The below list is for memorization guides.

I do plan to set up other ones, but I'm getting started one at a time, here, so I don't overbook myself. If the memorization guides interest you, feel free to sign up—but if they don't, don't. You can make suggestions without signing up. ^_^

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