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 act. 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 known already. 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 consequences occur. 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 situations. 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.