The concept of “learning by doing” is deceptively simple, and is often confused with the more simple process of knowledge transfer. And truth be told, many corporate trainers still utilize classroom, lecture-style programs as their primary training vehicle, hoping students learn and remember something, when in most cases the training program’s design provides topic information only – much like watching television.
The problem though isn’t in the teaching format or even in the teacher, though many PowerPoint lectures are devoid of any type of social interaction. Problems generally manifest because people confuse knowledge transfer activities, with the more specific process of learning.
With our new understanding of learning obtained via the fMRI brain imaging process, we’ve now discovered that the success of long-term “learning by doing” is brought on… because of the structural plasticity of the adult brain and our ongoing ability to actually create new synaptic connections.
In fact, “repetitive doing” creates even stronger connections, and is called… deliberate practice.
As an example, this blog post includes a photograph of Zion National Park, which is located just outside Springdale, Utah.
It does a great job of transferring the look (knowledge) of the canyon into your brain and hopefully into your memory.
Now take a moment and “do something” for me… think about Zion National Park – feel the burn of the hot desert breeze as it blows across your face, listen to the sound of the rushing Virgin River as it flows forcefully between the towering canyon walls, experience the terrifying feeling of vertigo, as you stand atop a crumbling rock precipice, 2100′ above the canyon floor.
Yes, the experience of doing – even thinking forcefully – can make all the difference.
By the way… if you ever have the chance, go ahead and visit Zion National Park. It’s the perfect place to learn the process of high-desert hiking.
Go hike a canyon. You know I will.
And when you get back, drop me a note with a picture or two.
(Click Pic To Zoom!)