Some Rules Of Learning and Training

Some Rules of Learning and Training

by Lauren Bashem, Operations Aviation Safety Inspector

Rule 1: The Law of Readiness
When a person feels ready to act or learn, the student acts or learns more effectively. A trainee that is ready to learn feels a need or desire to master the lesson and feels annoyed if prevented from doing so. In a state of readiness a trainee is not easily distracted by other stimuli. This mind-set may weaken to the point where continuing to act in the same direction will become annoying. Just before this point the instructor should take steps to regenerate readiness.

Rule 2: The Law of Effect
Here is another familiar one. It means, simply, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. People learn better in pleasant surroundings. Conversely, an attitude of fear, gruffness, unpleasantness, all interfere with learning. This is not speculative; it has been proved in established psychological experiments.

Rule 3: The Law of Exercise (Repetition)
The more often activity is repeated, the more likely it is to be learned. The more often a set of facts is repeated, the more likely they are to be learned. There are many exceptions to this law, but it is usually true. The drill should be as much like the activity which will be used as is possible.

THE MORAL: Do not assume, because you have stated some facts to the trainees, that they are automatically learned and remembered. Instead, restate them, summarize them. Here is a good training precept to follow:
     Tell 'em what you are gonna tell 'em
     Tell 'em
     Tell 'em what you told 'em

Also, do not assume that because your students can successfully demonstrate a skill or ability once, they have mastered it. Require them to repeat it--to "overlearn" it--before you can really assume that they have learned it.

Rule 4: The Law of Recency
The fresh and more recent a subject, the more we remember about it. We tend to come away from a good class session with a sizable recollection of what we heard and saw. As time goes by, our memory grows dimmer and dimmer. Finally, we remember only a small portion of what we thought we had learned.

Rule 5: The Law of Intensity (Vividness)
The more vividly a subject is presented, the better it will be learned. Think back upon your old school days--the dramatic chemistry experiments, with their change of colors, igniting of gasses and explosions, etc., are incidents you can still recall.

Rule 6: The Law of "Learning by Doing"
This is the most important law of all. The great teacher and philosopher, John Dewey, was the exponent of this law of learning. Want to thoroughly learn to do something? Then do it. Do it repeatedly. Do it under the supervision of someone who can instruct and help you.

This kind of learning--learning by doing--will provide by far, faster, more effective results for you, than would the most brilliant lecture, or even a good discussion with the other trainees on how something should be done.

Rule 7: The Law of Sensory Appeals
This is a familiar one. People learn better when you appeal to all the senses. One estimate holds that trainees remember:
10% of what they hear
20% of what they read
30% of what they see
70% of what they do

THE MORAL: This does not hold true for all people and all situations. The example listed is probably exaggerated. However, the thing to remember is never conduct a class session without using as many visual aids as possible. At the very least, have a blackboard or easel and use it, to illustrate the points you make orally.
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