This post introduces a video on the topic of listening skills. The presenter argues that we are losing our listening skills and identifies ways to improve.
Listen to Julian Treasure discuss 5 ways to improve listening skills.
Take notes as you listen.
A call to action
How did you go?
Reflect on the suggestions the presenter made. How can you apply some of these to:
- your personal life
- your working life
- your learning?
Feel free to leave a comment below:
This post presents a model of learning that incorporates active involvement by the learner. It then asks you to reflect on both the workings of the model itself and your current awareness of the process.
Questions to First Consider
- Traditionally, there are 5 human senses. What are they?
- It is thought that individuals favour one or two senses above others when it comes to learning (for example, I’m a visual learner – I learn best through watching others). Which senses do you consider your strongest for learning?
A Model of Learning
We know that learning is an active and constructive (as opposed to a receptive) process that comes from experience and interaction with the environment and is built on previous knowledge. We also know that the action and construction necessary for learning to take place comes from the learner – not the teacher. One theory that encompasses these elements comes from David Kolb.
According to Kolb:
- The cycle of learning starts with the learner interacting or experiencing the environment through the senses.
- Information from this experience is then compared with existing knowledge stored in our memory
- New ideas, understandings or plans for action are created or learned from this reflective thought process, building on existing knowledge.
- The new ideas or new learning is then tested through doing (discussing, conducting an experiment, trying out the new idea or approach, and so on). The results or feedback from these actions are experienced through the senses and the cycle continues.
A simple diagram of this cycle
In this model, existing knowledge is questioned and corrected. In addition, the stronger the connection between existing and new knowledge, the more easily the new learning can be retrieved and applied.
An example of this model in action:
- A student attends a lecture and sits at the back of the theatre and listens
- Information is received through the senses by observing the lecturer’s body language and through active listening and is compared to what is already known. New information is identified
- Reflection on this new information creates new ideas and understandings
- These are tested after the lecture through discussions with peers or tutors
- Feedback is received on the validity and level of understanding of these new ideas from actively listening and being involved in the discussions with peers or tutors
- This feedback is compared to what is already known and the learning cycle continues.
- Reflect on the effect on learning if the student in the above example attends the lecture but is too sleepy to focus, or instead of listening chats to their neighbour?
- Reflect on the effect on learning if the student does not test their understanding through a discussion with their peers?
- Right at this moment you are reading and (probably) receiving new information. Begin to reflect on this new information now. Compare it to what you already know or feel about this topic.
Are you formulating any new ideas?
If you are, how will you test them?
Who will you communicate with in order to get the necessary feedback to validate these new ideas?
How will you apply this new knowledge?