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The Road to Becoming an Expert Learner

Thursday, February 11, 2010 @ 04:02 PM
Author: admin

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Feb. 11, 2010

The Journey to the Learning Pathway
Most of my seminars are exercise based, especially the Wiring Diagram Color-Coding class. Often, while performing the exercises, I noticed something interesting about those that are having difficulties with the diagrams. More often than not, the difficulties are not the result of a lack of knowledge about circuits and diagrams. Instead, it’s a lack of knowledge regarding the techniques of dealing with them. In other words, it's like seeing the diagram as a bag full of parts and not knowing how they fit together.

My job as the instructor was obvious. Show how to mentally put all the parts together. However, I realized that it is not just about putting together a bag of wiring diagram parts! It's really about all the parts that make up all of the systems that are part of the process of reaching the desired outcome. This includes the parts that make up “us”, learning, information, and…the technology of the system and test equipment. (Interesting fact: Every system is a part of a bigger system and “the system” will always include information, learning and you!)

So, how do you put all of these parts together? Learn about learning and then teach about learning. But what I found is that there are major road blocks that should first be removed. One of the most important is the tunnel vision and brain lock down we get as soon as we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. I find it unfortunately amazing how what we don't know and what we don't understand can do this.

When it does happen, it doesn't matter how much we understand about learning, or if we have a memory like a sponge, or have exceptional reading comprehension. These abilities become meaningless when our brain locks down! It is like getting trapped on a dead end road and not even realizing it.

So, how do we not get trapped? I found the answer in one word, awareness. We simply need to have a high enough awareness level to realize when we are on a dead end road and not allow ourselves to get trapped. In doing so, perhaps we could find the right road to be on.

Certainly, I started using this word in my seminar. It did not take long to realize the importance of it to the learning process. In fact, I now believe it is one of the most important words to learning and a key to getting on the right road, the road to becoming an expert learner. 

This realization led me to wonder what the other keys for reaching such a goal are. If a map existed for the road to becoming an expert learner, what would it consist of?

Yes, I set out to find the road and map it. It turns out that I had to look no further than my own experiences, just as you would have to look no further than your own experiences. You see, we are all learners and we are all going down the learning pathway. Some of us tend to wander more; others are more direct and are further along. Regardless, I now know that finding the learning pathway is just a matter of turning on the necessary awareness’s to realize it is there and putting in the effort to see it.

What did I find? I found and mapped my road to becoming an expert learner. Of course, I will most likely never reach the end but with each step I will get closer. And, the next time I get lost down a dead end road, I am not getting trapped. I know exactly where to go. I just check my map. 

Acknowledgement: Loren Maki. Thanks for your help!


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  1. The Mechanics of Learning

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