The Way We Learn - Uncover the Mystery of Knowledge
In information age, whether you're a CEO of a fortune 500
company, a small business owner, a talented independent
consultant, a top-notch computer programmer, a housewife or a
college student, the way to stay on the top of the game is
really about how you absorb new information or the way you learn.
Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge. Unfortunately,
there has been no consensus on what knowledge is for centuries.
To make things simple, knowledge about a subject is about what
it is and/or what it can do to the world. Learning or obtaining
new knowledge often changes the way we think and/or the way we
What to Learn - The Elements of Knowledge
Regardless the what you want to learn, there're a few things in
common for learning anything. The first step for effective
learning is to think about what to learn about a subject..
1) Learn about Facts - The statement "Christmas celebrates the
birth of Jesus Christ" is a fact. To learn a fact is to
remember. Effective learning about facts involves understand the
reasons behind the facts and relate the facts to what you've
2) Learn about Concept - A concept consists of two parts: (1) an
identity and (2) the meaning (description or definition)
associated with the identity which is often expressed by a group
of other concepts. With the correct or proper identification of
a situation, we are able to retrieve and apply other knowledge
related to that concept to solve problems or guide our actions.
The challenge of understanding a concept is that one concept may
look similar to other concepts from some aspects or
perspectives. A concept is the basic building block of more
complex knowledge structures. A frequently used learning aid for
acquiring concepts is multiple choice exercise to help learners
to distinguish one concept or definition from others.
3) Classification - A classification is a group of closely
related concepts in hierarchy. They are grouped together in
hierarchy because of the similarity, but the purpose of the
grouping is to show the differences. A frequently used learning
aid for classification is grouping exercise. In the exercise,
learners select a list of objects (lower level concepts in the
hierarchy) into a number of categories (higher level concepts).
4) Procedure and Steps - A procedure is a sequence of steps.
Procedural Knowledge allows people to performance actions step
by step. The focus of learning is to ensure that learners don't
think/act in wrong sequence. A common learning aid for
understanding procedure/steps is to allow learners to restore a
random set of steps to sequential order.
5) Principle or Rules - Principles are explanations or
predictions of why things happened in the world. Principles
involve relationships between concepts. A principle consists of
preconditions and consequences. If preconditions meet, then
Computer software, such as Computer Based Training or CBT
software, utilizes the taxonomy of knowledge to develop
learning aids for effective learning.
How to Learn - Relate what you don't know to what you know
Learning is a joyful experience for the things we love, and is a
frustrating experience for the subjects we are lack of
interesting. We'll enjoy learning if we can relate new topics to
the things we know well. We've learned something if we can
relate the things we don't know to the things we know.
How Much You Have Learned - Knowledge Levels
Knowledge levels measure the proficiency of applying knowledge.
Remember - Remembering is the ability to retrieve the structural
and behavioral representation of knowledge (definition of a
concept, or sequential steps of a procedure) for given
Use - Using or applying particular knowledge is the ability to
utilize knowledge to solve real world problems. Well-structured
knowledge can help the application of knowledge.
Creation - Creation refers to the ability to re-structure or to
generate new knowledge from what you have already known.
Copyright @2005, Bruce Zhang
You have permission to publish this article electronically free
of charge, as long as the bylines and links in the body of the
article and the bylines are included.